Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Workers of the world a snapshot

Workers of the world: a snapshot

UK unemployment has risen above two million for the first time since 1997, official figures have shown.

During the three months to January, the number of people unemployed totalled 2.03 million, up by 165,000, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference, 2004: “No longer the boom-bust economy”.

Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference, 2005: “Why has it been that at every point since 1997 faced with the Asian crisis, the IT collapse, a stock exchange crash, an American recession, last year a house price bubble, this year rising world oil prices, why has it been that at every point since 1997 Britain uniquely has continued to grow? In any other decade, a house price bubble would have pushed Britain from boom to bust.” So if that would have happened “in any other decade”, Brown was again making the point that it wasn’t only “Tory boom and bust”.
Read article >


Ali Nejati, Feridoun Nikoufard, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Ghorban Alipour and Jalil Ahmadi are leaders of the trade union of workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush, an affiliate of the IUF.

The 5,000 workers at Haft Tapeh have had to resort to repeated strike action over the past two years over failure to pay wages and in support of basic workplace rights. They have been ceaselessly harassed and victimized, with suspected militants subject to frequent arrests and public whippings.

On 20 December last year, the five leaders were charged with "acting against national security" as a result of their trade union activity. They face potentially lengthy prison sentences.

France :

Mr Foucher, Sony’s head of human resources, and two local plant officials were held in a meeting room in a videotape factory at Pontonx-sur-l’Adour, in the Landes region of southwest France.

The plant’s 311 employees were notified in December that they would lose their jobs when the factory closes on April 17th. Mr Foucher dropped by to say a last farewell on Thursday afternoon, and was detained by workers objecting to the severance package they’d been offered. They blocked access to the plant with branches and tree trunks, and 20 gendarmes surrounded the site.

Patrick Hachaguer, the local representative of the CGT trade union, said the atmosphere inside the plant was “good-natured”, though the Sony executives may have thought differently.

“He won’t listen to us. We had no other solution,” Mr Hachaguer added.

This latest incident of “bossknapping” ended at 10.30am when the Sony executives walked out of the plant, accompanied by trade union representatives.

Employees lined both sides of the pathway, and watched the men leave in silence. The executives got into a minivan and were driven to the sous-préfecture in nearby Dax, where negotiations continued yesterday afternoon.Read >


High Tech Misery in ChinaThe Dehumanization of Young Workers Producing Our Computer Keyboard.

Two thousand workers, mostly young women, produce computer equipment including keyboards and printer cases for Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM.
Management instructs the workers to “love the company like your home,” “continuously strive for perfection” and to spy on and “actively monitor each other.”
Workers are prohibited from talking, listening to music, raising their heads, putting their hands in their pockets. Workers are fined for being one minute late, for not trimming their fingernails—which could impede the work, and for stepping on the grass. Workers are searched on the way in and out of the factory. Workers who hand out flyers or discuss factory conditions with outsiders are fired.
The young workers sit on hard wooden stools twelve hours a day, seven days a week as 500 computer keyboards an hour move down the assembly line or one every 7.2 seconds. Workers are allowed just 1.1 seconds to snap each key into place, repeating the same operation 3,250 times an hour, 35,750 times a day, 250,250 times a week and over one million times a month.
The workers are paid 1/50th of a cent for each operation. Read Report (PDF)


No workers paradise

Leftist fantasies exposed. The scene is typical: the dog-end of a trade union branch meeting; members are tired after discussing complex pay and discipline issues; tired from listening to the hyper-activists glorying in the sound of their own voices; desperate to escape. Item 9 on the agenda of the hour-long meeting is expenses for a delegate to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign meeting. Exhausted hands fly up to approve the monies, without debate, voting as much for escape as for sanction. Cuba has become a cause celebre amongst many on the left. Read >

Trade Unions Pamphlet Read (PDF)

Don't recycle capitalism yet again, consider how you may get rid of it.Read >

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