Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
This the fourth in an occasional blog series highlighting how workers and unions around the world are analyzing the global economic crisis and fighting for economic justice.
Workers at Cameroon's third largest employer, the sugar maker SOSUCAM, kidnapped a factory manager and shut down a factory on Thursday to protest massive firings, poor working conditions and low wages. The workers were joined in their protest by local community members who are angry that they have not received fair compensation for their land that was leased to the company by the government. The recent action builds on earlier protests and sit-ins workers organized due to the company's plans to restructure their operations and fire 300 workers. The company claims the measures are necessary due to the global financial climate and rises in food and fuel costs, but the workers see it as an excuse to treat them unfairly.
The Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS) recently released their fifth report analyzing the impact of the economic crisis on Egyptian workers. The report monitors ongoing layoffs and ways the crisis is spreading to new sectors at the expense of workers. There is also a table in the report that shows all of the recent major layoffs and how workers have responded including organizing protests and sit-ins.
The New York Times published an excellent article about how companies in South Korea use contract labor to reduce labor costs and how temporary workers are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis. The acceleration of these kinds of employment schemes are a huge problem for workers around the world and you can find out more about how contract labor affects worker rights on ILRF's website. Several weeks ago, we also discussed the protest of Ssanyong Motors workers in South Korea on this blog.
The Public Services International (PSI) blog on the Financial Crisis has a great post about how the economic crisis is especially hurting young workers in Asia (and around the world). The post reports that child labor is increasing and that young workers of legal age are often the least protected in the workplace and are often unaware of their rights. The post goes on to talk about the role of unions in protecting young workers. PSI also put out this statement on August 12, International Youth Day, focusing on how to protect the rights of young workers.
The International Transport Workers' Federation has a new article by General Secretary David Cockcroft discussing how the economic crisis is impacting the transportation sector and how affiliates are fighting back. The ITF also set up this webpage calling for reports on how the crisis is affecting transport workers.
The International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF) has a new report examining how the global economic crisis "threatens to greatly intensify and accelerate previously existing restructuring pressures" in the automotive and metalworking industries. The IMF is also gearing up for a global week of action from October 3 through 10 calling for permanent jobs and decent work instead of precarious employment in light of the economic crisis.