Citing low pay, management intimidation and poor safety, metal construction workers at the Coles Myer distribution centre in Somerton resigned their casual employment with labour hire contractor Busicom Solutions on April 11 and set up a 24-hour protest outside the centre.
On April 13, the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) reported that Yuan Hui Min had been taken from Villawood detention centre to hospital. She is one of ten detainees on hunger strike in protest at the “unjust situation of detention”. The hunger strikers are calling for an end to forcible deportations, a maximum detention period of six months and for the immediate release of two detainees being held incommunicado.
Indonesian police have named two new suspects in the murder of human rights activist Munir, who died of arsenic poisoning on a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004.
MELBOURNE — Chanting ‘No nukes! No war! This is what we’re fighting for!’, more than 3000 people, including representatives of 80 different organisations, took part in the Palm Sunday peace parade on April 1. Dubbed Nuclear Fools Day, it was a protest against the expansion of uranium mining and proposals for nuclear energy. It also sent a strong message to the ALP, which looks set to scrap its ‘no new mines’ policy at its national conference later this month. Speakers included Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth, Bill Williams from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Democrat Senator Lyn Allison and Greens Senator Bob Brown.
More than 300 people attended the launch of UNITE’s Boost Our Pay campaign on March 30 on Swanston Street outside the main strip of fast food restaurants. UNITE is campaigning for an end to youth wages, a $16 minimum wage, no individual contracts (AWAs), and for secure work hours.
Prensa Latina reported on April 11 that more than 100,000 Bolivians have already learned to read and write through the Cuban “Yes, I Can” literacy program since it began early last year. According to education minister Victor Caceres, in La Paz, more than 40,000 of the 286,280 people in the program have already graduated. The national program aims to teach more than 1.2 million illiterate people how to read and write so that the country can be free from illiteracy in 2008. President Evo Morales has already declared Tocata municipality, in Cochabamba, the first locality to be illiteracy-free.
“The PST has increased its vote slightly on its results in 2000", Avelino Coelho da Silva, secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Timor, told Green Left Weekly by telephone from Dili. Coelho was the PST’s candidate in the country’s April 9 presidential election, the final results of which will be officially announced by the National Election Commission (CNE) on April 16.
In early April, Independent Liquor worker and member of the Unite Union Steve Tipene took his own life, just eight days after he was sacked from his job. Unite had filed a challenge against the dismissal at the Employment Relations Authority shortly before hearing of his death. Unite reported on April 13 that Tipene’s family believed the sacking was a major factor in his death and according to the union, the company has a long history of anti-union practices and workplace bullying. Unite organiser John Minto described 46-year-old Tipene as a strong unionist who understood the importance of workers sticking together. “Steve took part in the strikes last year which gained the first collective agreement at Independent Liquor for 20 years. He has helped make it a bit easy for the employees who follow him at Independent. He was a good man.”
At this year’s national ALP conference, to be held in Sydney from April 27, delegates will determine whether or not to ditch Labor’s current policy of not supporting any new uranium mines (adopted in 1998). The current policy will almost certainly be overturned.
I once was a greenie but that's in the past As an ALP pollie I've made it at last Once I bellowed and blustered in front of the Oils Now I sit on the front bench — my eye on the spoils CHORUS I once was a greenie but that's in the past As
On April 6, notorious Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was granted freedom on bail in the El Paso Federal Court, which will allow him to return home to his family in Miami after the payment of US$250,000. Posada, a former CIA operative, was the mastermind of the deadly bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, and has been involved in other terrorist acts and violent campaigns against popular movements in Latin America. Washington has denied requests to extradite him to Venezuela, where he had been imprisoned until he escaped in 1985.
Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values
By Sharon Beder
Earthscan, 2006
260 pages, $56