Zimbabwe: Notification curbing health worker’s Right to Strike
26 July, 2021: The Zimbabwe government has issued notifications demanding that doctors and nurses issue a 48-hour notice prior to striking work and barring them from striking for more than 72 hours in any 14-day period. Further, doctors and nurses posted in intensive care units (ICU) are to be considered essential service providers and barred from going on strike. The government has unilaterally gazetted these provisions in the Health Services Act to crush the voices of doctors who have been complaining of poor pay and inhumane working conditions amid the raging pandemic.
USA: Labour Department fines food company $1million for killing 6 workers
24 July, 2021: The US Department of Labour and its Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) has fined Foundation Food Group, owner of the Gainesville food packaging plant where six workers died and several other fell sick due to a nitrogen gas leak on 28 January, 2021, along with two associated companies: Messer LLC — the nitrogen gas company — and FS Group Inc — a food processing equipment maker — for violating health and safety norms. The OSHA found that the deaths could have been prevented if the workers were given proper training and equipment to handle nitrogen and if the company implemented the needed safety protocols.
USA: Gaming giant Activision Blizzard sued for discriminating against women workers and their harassment
22 July, 2021: The California state has sued gaming company giant Activision Blizzard — the seller of popular games like Call of Duty and Minecraft — for rampant sexual harassment of women and discrimination in pay and promotions of women workers. A two-year long investigation by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has found that the company breeds a ‘pervasive frat boy culture’ where harassment and subordination of women employees is the norm; human resources policies are used to reprimand those who raise voice against discrimination and harassment. Women workers were found to be paid less for performing the same duties.
Nigeria: Court stops inquiry panel for punishing workers who participated in 5-day strike
17 July, 2021: Nigeria’s National Industrial Court has issued restraining orders to a judicial commission of inquiry that the Governor of Kaduna state had set up to probe and prescribe punishment against those who participated in a five -day warning strike held by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). They demanded that the administration immediately stop all arbitrary and illegal declaration of redundancies and premature compulsory retirement of all officers. NLC and the Kaduna administration have been embroiled in a protracted labour dispute.
Malawi: Controversial labour law sent back to Parliament for review after massive protests
15 July, 2021: Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has refused assent to the controversial Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and sent it back to Parliament for review, following strong protests from workers across the country. The newly passed legislation allowed employers to deduct wages if a worker participated in a strike for more than three days. Workers and their unions have been opposing the ‘no-work, no-pay’ provision as it is aimed at stifling workers’ Right to Strike and demanding a fair discussion on the bill since it was introduced in Parliament.
South Korea: Workers’ rally yields a 5.1% hike in minimum wages
15 July, 2021: More than 8,000 workers took to the streets, demanding better working conditions and revision of wages in Jangon district, down-town Seoul on 3 July, 2021. Trying to stifle their demands government first denied permission for the rally and then intimidated union leaders with arrests and interrogation by the police. However, it had to yield to workers’ demand and raise the hourly minimum wage from existing 8,720 won per hour to 9,160 won. The 5.1% raise will be applicable from 1 January, 2022. The raise will benefit over 4.36 million South Korean workers.
Italy: Data Protection Authority fines Foodinho €2.6 million for discriminatory rider rating system
06 July, 2021: The Data Protection Authority of Italy has found food delivery company Foodinho Ltd in violation of several provisions of European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and fined the company €2.6 million. It was found to be in violation of GDPR principles of transparency, notification, lawfulness of processing, security, privacy by design, as well as a risk of discrimination against gig workers based on how Foodinho’s booking and assignments algorithms function using ratings and reputational mechanisms as further levers of worker’s control. The authority has ordered the company to rectify its system within three months.