India: 13,000 teachers in Delhi strike over unpaid wages; Government doctors protest in Pakistan; LNG offshore maintenance workers to walk out in Western Australia
Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia
3 October 2020
India: Delhi municipal teachers strike for overdue wages
About 9,000 teachers from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and 4,200 from East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) went on strike on Monday to demand unpaid wages. NDMC teachers were last paid in May and EDMC teachers in June.
A group of teachers have been holding sit-down protests for two hours daily for more than three weeks at the NDMC headquarters. Teachers said that they were working every day, despite not being paid, to ensure that students do not suffer. They have threatened indefinite strike action if the outstanding wages are not paid soon.
Workers from Delhi University colleges strike
Workers from 14 colleges attached to Delhi University struck work on Monday in protest over delays in the release of funds to 59 colleges funded by the Delhi state government. The strikers also complained that current funding levels were inadequate.
Delhi University teachers held a three-day strike on September 16 over the non-payment of salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff in the colleges. The strike was organised by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association.
Haryana industrial training workers protest over low pay
About 150 outsourced contract Class IV workers from the Industrial Training Institute in Faridabad, Haryana state, marched in the city on September 27 against low wages and job insecurity. They submitted a memorandum to the minister of technical education.
The All Haryana ITI Outsourcing Employees Association claims there is corruption in the appointment of outsourced Class IV employees to the training institutes. The organisation says these Industrial Training Institute workers are forced to pay 40 percent of their wages to their contractor or lose their job. It also claims that wages are not paid on time and their employers barely comply with provident fund and employee state insurance contribution requirements.
Karnataka municipal contract workers demand permanent jobs
Contract workers from the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) in Karnataka state protested outside the MCC building on Tuesday to demand regular jobs and equal pay and conditions with permanent employees. They said outsourced workers, including vehicle drivers and cleaners, were paid far lower than permanent employees doing the same job.
Organised by the Mysuru Nagara Palike Khayam hagu Guttige Pourakarmikara Maha Sangha, the protesters presented a memorandum of their demands to the MCC deputy commissioner.
Domestic workers in Kerala demand inclusion in labour reforms
Domestic workers in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala demonstrated on September 26 against the central Indian government for not including them in recently passed labour reforms. The reforms included provisions for social security, occupational safety, health insurance and improved working conditions.
The Self-Employed Women’s Union said domestic workers are not properly defined in the labour code. The union demanded implementation of an urban employee guarantee scheme and compensation for the lost days of work due to COVID-19.
Mumbai COVID-19 treatment centre workers strike for overdue wages
Housekeeping and canteen workers at the NESCO-COVID-19 treatment facility of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation went on strike on September 24 and 25 over outstanding wages. NESCO management claimed that a senior official was ill and could not sign the required documents for release of the outstanding pay. While the workers, who were concerned about the worsening COVID-19 pandemic and the need of their service, returned to work, they have threatened further action if they are not paid.
Bangladeshi private school teachers to strike on October 5
The Bangladesh Teachers Association has appealed to teachers from across the country to join a rally on October 5 to demand the inclusion of all private school teachers in the government’s Monthly Pay Order (MPO) scheme. The call was issued at a press conference in Dhaka last Sunday. Many non-MPO teachers and educators have not been paid since the government closed down all educational institutions on March 17 in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
Bangladeshi bidi workers protest again over tax increase
For the fourth time in four months, bidi (hand-rolled cigarette) workers and factory owners protested this week to demand that the Bangladeshi government reverse its decision to impose a 28.2 percent tax on the bidi industry in the 2020–21 budget.
On Sunday, bidi workers and trade union leaders from the Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation demonstrated at the Tangail Press Club, in Mymensingh district. The action followed a protest in August and two in June.
Union leaders have accused the government of attempting to “kill” the bidi industry, pointing out that the proposed tax increase on other cigarettes is only 5.14 percent. Factory owners claimed that the new tax has increased the cost of a bidi packet, making their cigarettes uncompetitive. The industry employs over 400,000 people.
Pakistan: Government doctors protest in Karachi
Doctors from government hospitals in Sindh province demonstrated outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday over a range of issues, including the continued use of contract employment, failure to pay allowances and the non-payment of salaries for health workers who contracted COVID-19.
The Sindh Doctors Ittehad, an umbrella union, demanded compensation payments for COVID infected workers, timely promotions and job permanency for contract workers. The union has threatened more protests, including outside the chief minister’s residence, if the doctors’ demands are not granted.
LNG offshore maintenance workers to strike in Western Australia
The Offshore Alliance (a combination of the Australian Workers Union and the Maritime Union of Australia) and the Electrical Trades Union have told offshore maintenance contractor Monadelphous (Monos) that their workers on the Shell Prelude floating LNG platform, off northern Western Australia, will impose rolling stoppages and work bans on October 9.
The unions are in dispute with the company over its proposed enterprise agreement (EA). The Offshore Alliance claims that Monos wants to impose a below industry standard EA. The company is contracted by Shell to provide construction, maintenance and industrial services on the Prelude platform.
Around 130 Monos construction workers at the INPEX LNG facility north of Broome, Western Australia struck for 48 hours on September 21 last year against the company’s proposed EA.