Philippines: Workers demanding regularisation brutally attacked by police
19 August 2019: Workers of chemical factory of Peerless Producers Manufacturing Corp. (Pepmaco) in Calamba were brutally attacked by the police on the 15th day of their protest demanding regularisation of work and revision of wages. Over 20 workers suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised following police action to stifle the protest.
Mexico: Mining workers’ struggle yields victory, Grupo Mexico pays $19 million as profit share
18 August 2019: Mining workers have emerged victorious in their 12-year long struggle between the mining company Gropo Mexico and worker’s union Los Mineros. Profit sharing is a constitutional right in Mexico, where workers are owed a percentage of the profits made by a company. Los Mineros had filed a case against the company in 2007 for not sharing profits with the workers employed in Cananea Copper Mine in Sonora. After an 8-year long legal battle, the Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration had ordered that the company pay $19 million as profit share to workers in 2015. Finally, Grupo Mexico paid workers their due share of the profits for the year 2007 on 02 August 2019 where each worker received around $6,000 to $12,000 based on pay scale and seniority.
Lesotho: Sexual harassment rampant in global garment supply chain, workers forced into sex by supervisors for wages and holidays
15 August 2019: Workers in the global supply chain of garment brands like Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Lee have reported rampant sexual harassment and coercion at workplaces in Lesotho. Workers are fired, wages are deducted and promotions stalled for refusing sex with managers and supervisors. The abuses violated workers’ rights under Lesotho’s labour laws, international standards and the codes of conduct of the brands sourcing from these factories.
France: Healthcare workers strike work to oppose Health Bill 2022
15 August 2019: French hospital workers went on strike against President Macron’s healthcare legislation, which came into force in March. Of the 478 emergency services in the country, 216 participated in the strike against cost-cutting measures, shortage of doctors and temporarily closing services. Health Minister Agnès Buzyn announced 70 million euros in additional funding to quell the strike. However, workers stuck to their demand of creating 10,000 additional jobs, a wage increase of 300 euros net per month, and an end to all closures of hospital facilities.
Qatar: Migrant workers defy Kafala system, strike work against delay in wages at FIFA 2020 World Cup site
08 August 2019: Defying the ‘Kafala’ system which prohibits migrant workers from organising into unions and undertaking any industrial action, over 5,000 workers went on strike against delays in payment of wages and inhuman working conditions at FIFA 2020 World Cup project sites in Qatar. Workers did so risking arrest, cancellation of work permits and deportation. Over 30,000 migrant workers from South-Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are working in Qatar in infrastructure projects linked to the FIFA 2020 world cup.
According to the Nepalese government 1,426 of its people have died in Qatar since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010. Some died in accidents, while others died from fatal heat-related illness after working in temperatures exceeding 45 degrees.
Kenya: Workers protest against meagre wages and overtime work at African Development Bank funded dam project
06 August 2019: Over 1,000 construction workers employed by the Thwake Multi-purpose Water Development Program, a project funded by the African Development Bank went on strike against low pay, arbitrary dismissals, lack of toilets, drinking water and personal protective equipment, job grading, denial of off-days, abusive language and sexual harassment by the supervisors. The project is contracted by China Gezouba Group with a $90 million funding from ADB.
US: Apple concedes to employing children for manufacturing iPhones
20 August 2019: AppleCo. has conceded to employing child labour, misclassifying workers as trainees and apprentices and making them work overtime without pay at Foxconn, the Chinese company it contracts out production of iPhones and Macbook laptops after documents confirming employment of 16 year old school children surfaced in the media.
In the past Foxconn has been infamous for its exploitative work conditions leading to worker suicides due to work induced stress and anxiety. However, it remains a major supplier to all major technological brands including Amazon and IBM.