Bangkok, Thailand. On 23 January Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was sentenced to 11 years in jail under Article 112.
Article 112 is a law that provides for long prison sentences for “defaming the Thai royal family”.
In actual fact Article 112 is simply used to repress political opposition in Thailand.
Article 112 is an effective way to deny freedom of speech and the right to organise. There are hundreds of political prisoners in Thailand. Somyot is the best know because he is a labour activist who has been in jail since April 2011 and he is supported internationally. Somyot and other political prisoners have been jailed in an attmpt by the Thai government to frighten workers and stop them from speaking out for their rights and against injustice.
AAWL joins the genuine labour movement everywhere in condemning the sentence handed down against Somyot. We demand his immediate release. We demand the immediate abolition of Article 112. We will support protests and campaigns against the Thai government until Somyot and the other political prisoners are free.
Free Somyot - Free all political prisoners in Thailand - Abolish Article 112
Union activist Bob Carnegie faces court in Brisbane, Australia, on February 11. Bob faces charges from a strike and picket last year at the Queensland Children’s Hospital construction site. Workers struck for nine weeks against low wages being paid to some subcontracted plastering workers. The workers won, but now the construction company Abigroup is suing Bob personally. Bob faces 54 charges of contempt of court, one of the most significant legal attacks on an individual unionist in Australia in recent years. The defence campaign welcomes messages of support, and has called a rally for February 11.
Over the last several years, hundreds of Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU) and the Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers’ Unions (KPTU) members have been unfairly dismissed from their jobs in retaliation for legitimate union activities. Over 300 of these workers have yet to be reinstated. The President of the KGEU, Kim Jungnam, has been on a hunger strike outside the offices of the Presidential transition committee since mid January. A petition can be signed in support of these workers. For more information, and emailing petition, click here.
Australia Day on January 26 marks the day Europeans began their occupation of Aboriginal land. The process of occupation and colonisation has been a devastating one for the Indigenous people of Australia.
Marches, remembrance events and music festivals were held throughout Australia by Aboriginal people and their supporters to commemorate this day and to keep fighting for land rights and recognition of sovereignty.
In December 2012, the first ever co-ordinated leafleting campaign was executed, with simultaneous actions at Philippines Airlines check-in counters at airports in Hong Kong, Manila, Melbourne, Sydney, San Francisco and Toronto. Philippines Airlines Employees Association workers are still fighting for reinstatement after their dismissal in September 2011.
On 16 January a flying squad of airline workers from two airports in Toronto briefly occupied the Canadian Headquarters and Sales Office of Turkish Airlines in Toronto, in support and solidarity with the 305 terminated workers, represented by the trade union Hava-Is. A video showing this meeting can be seen here.
Workers across the airlines industry continue to stand in solidarity with one another the globe over, fighting for wages and conditions.
Workers Change The World.
Just two months after the disastrous fire at the Tazreen factory where 112 garment workers died when their factory caught fire, another 7 workers were killed when the Smart factory caught fire on Saturday the 26 of January. Early investigations into this tragedy have revealed a total lack of fire safety and procedures inside the factory. Once again, this tragedy shows the consequences behind the global ‘race to the bottom’ and the fundamental importance of workers organising in their workplace.
The giant conglomerate of Samsung has a terrible safety record at its South Korean plants with many workers becoming sick and dying. On the 28th of January,
Mr. Park became the latest worker to be killed at Samsung, with four others hospitalised due to an escape of hydrofluoric acid gas. Samsung did not report this gas escape for almost a day even though the factory is surrounded by houses.
The campaign to bring justice to dead and injured Samsung workers, and improve OH&S, continues.
Last week around 55 workers fainted at the King First garment factory. Many needed hospitalisation. Initial investigations point to a release of toxic fumes from a newly laid floor. In 2012, there were over 2,000 recorded cases of workers fainting in garment factories in Cambodia.
The reasons behind these are the presence of toxic fumes, unsafe working conditions and the work rate that workers have to endure. Cambodian unions are organising to improve working conditions.