France: Court orders government to compensate former miners for causing “anxiety”
29 January 2021: The Labour Court in Douai has ordered the government to pay 727 miners a payment of 10,000 Euros (a total 7.3 million euros or $8.9 million) as compensation for causing anxiety to them by a career of exposure to toxic substances. The case was lodged by the miners 8 years back in 2013. “Anxiety” damages have been granted in the past for those exposed to asbestos, it allows compensation for people who are not sick but who could become sick because of past exposure.
Bosnia: Health workers hold flash strike, demand better working conditions and higher wages
25 January: Health workers have been on a strike in Bosnia since December last year demanding that the government sign a collective bargaining agreement with them raising the wages and ensuring safer working conditions for frontline workers. On 25 January 2020 health workers held a flash strike in front of the regional government building in Mostar demanding that government return to negotiation table or workers would launch a hunger strike.
Pakistan: Textile & garment workers protest against violation of labour laws and workers’ rights
24 January: Textile and Garments factory workers of Karachi producing for leading global apparel brands protested against violations of national and international labour laws and workers’ rights in global supply chain. Workers have been demanding that the brands adhere to global framework agreements and uphold human rights in their supply chain. Workers deplored the the active support of the government, labour courts and local law enforcement agencies in favour of erring manufacturers and announced that they would organise a sit-in in front of the Sindh Assembly if the worsening conditions at their workplaces are not improved immediately.
Namibia: Striking workers to move court in contempt case against Shoprite Namibia over violation of court judgement
18 January: Shoprite workers on strike since 23 December 2020 demanding increases in pay, housing and transport allowance, and a permanent status of employment for temporary workers have decided to approach the court against the management hiring temporary workers in their place. In an earlier order the labour court had ordered Shoprite not to hire replacement workers. Agitating workers have decided to lodge a contempt of court petition against the management while being firm on continuing the strike.
USA: Gig workers challenge Prop. 22 in California court, pick up battle against Uber, Lyft
12 January: California app-based drivers and labour unions filed a lawsuit against Proposition 22 in the California Supreme Court. Proposition 22 passed on 3 November 2020 defines gig workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This definition goes against Assembly Bill 5 and a California Supreme Court ruling which limited businesses from classifying certain workers as independent contractors. The definitionof independent contractors has resulted in a major set-back for gig workers excluding them from overtime pay, weekly off, sick leave and other social security benefits. Employers such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Postmates had got together to lobby for Proposition 22 and spent a total of $200 million in propaganda campaign which made it the most expensive ballot proposition in the history of USA.
USA: Tech workers unionise against Google in a Silicon Valley first
04 January: More than 400 Google workers have unionised under the banner of Alphabet Workers Union after years of growing activism demanding an end to Google’s exploitative and anti-worker policies including pay discrimination, sexual harassment and issues of unethical use of technology. The union is affiliated to Communications Workers of America, a federation of unions which represents workers in telecommunications and media industry in USA and Canada.
Italy: Court rules against ‘discriminatory’ Deliveroo rider-ranking algorithm
04 January: The Bologna court ruled against the discriminatory algorithm used by on-demand food delivery platform Deliveroo and ordered it to pay 50,000 Euros to the appellants along with the legal costs and publish the ruling on its website. Three unoins had approached the court against the app’s algorithm which discriminated against delivery workers by not distinguishing between those missing work because of an illness or because of a strike, and/or other reasons for being absent.