India: boss shoots at striking workers
A ‘manager’ at the Combo Allied Nippon Company in Sahibabad, India, shot at striking workers before they overpowered him. Nine workers have now been arrested for his murder.
Around 400 workers had been striking over the issues of contracts, bonuses and a pay rise. Company officials went to confront strikers and opened fire with 4-5 shots, wounding a worker. Workers then fought with officials leaving several injured on both sides and the shooter dead.
Sources close to the workers claim that many of the so-called ‘management’ are in fact company goons hired to break the union, and that beatings of workers have become commonplace. Reportedly it was also “quite common for them to roam inside the factory openly carrying the guns in order to terrorise the workers.”
Warsaw rent strike
Several hundred households in the Polish capital Warsaw began a rent strike in October. The strike was called by the radical ZSP union whose members have been active in the tenants’ movement and the struggle for good public housing, in the face of increased privatisation and gentrification.
The strike represents an escalation of the struggle which has been developing since spring 2009 when rents were raised from 200-300% in public housing in the city. But the ZSP says increased rents are just the tip of the iceberg. They cite a litany of complaints including punitive policies, illegal charges and neglectful maintenence of the public housing on which many of the city’s residents rely.
36 seconds to clean a toilet?
Contract cleaners at the prestigious University Hospital of Lund in Sweden are on strike over excessive workloads. Workers have just 36 seconds to clean a bathroom, which their union says puts both them and patients at risk through intense physical workloads and compromised hygiene standards.
The cleaners are employed by the private company ISS, who have been involved in a number of cases of poor working conditions, including the victimisation of migrant workers at SOAS university in London in 2009. Their union, the SAC is calling for international statements of solidarity and for letters of protest to be sent to the employer.