Asia and the Pacific

Australia: Vote “no” in ballot on Coles Smeaton Grange sell-out!

Oscar Grenfell, 26 February 2021

A continued rejection of the sell-out must be linked to the fight for a broader movement of the working class, outside the straitjacket of the unions.

Former Australian treasurer warns of market “clean out”

By Nick Beams, 26 February 2021

Peter Costello, now head of Australia’s $135 billion Future Fund, said that rock-bottom interest rates and bond-buying programs by central banks had left both economies and markets vulnerable to a shock.

Thirty-five years since the “People Power” ouster of Marcos in the Philippines

26 February 2021

The excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the ouster of the tyrant Marcos was rapidly disappointed. “People power” was betrayed. The basic problems confronting the Filipino masses remain unresolved and have in fact worsened.

Facebook reaches deal with Australian government

By Nick Beams, 25 February 2021

The deal involved an amendment to government legislation, backed by the opposition Labor party, that requires Facebook to pay news outlets for content under a bargaining code

Workers across Myanmar stage general strike against military dictatorship

By Owen Howell, 25 February 2021

The turnout at Monday’s protests and strikes throughout Myanmar was the largest since the February 1 coup, despite threats from the military that a general strike would lead to further “loss of life.”

Sri Lankan government proposes tiny wage rise to deflect plantation workers’ unrest

By M. Thevarajah and W.A. Sunil, 25 February 2021

The government, in collaboration with the unions, is desperately attempting to dissipate the rising anger of plantation workers over wages and company productivity demands.

Australia: Coles gloats over mid-year profits as Smeaton Grange lockout continues

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 February 2021

Coles is only able to reap massive profits and to proceed with a sweeping restructure, as a result of the perfidy of the United Workers Union.

Right-wing defection intensifies Australian government instability

By Mike Head, 24 February 2021

Kelly’s move will be used to further foment a far-right movement and push the unstable government to suppress popular opposition to the lifting of pandemic safety restrictions.

Australian government intent on scrapping JobKeeper and slashing JobSeeker despite mass unemployment

By Martin Scott, 24 February 2021

The government insists that both the wage subsidy and the JobSeeker supplement must end next month to stop “adverse incentives.”

Communist Party of the Philippines embraces Catholicism

By John Malvar, 23 February 2021

Julieta de Lima, longtime leader of the CPP, delivered a speech to archbishops and religious leaders celebrating “500 years of Christianity in the Philippines,” and embracing the medieval barbarism of the church.

Protests continue as no-confidence vote against Thai prime minister fails

By Ben McGrath, 23 February 2021

The no-confidence vote in parliament was an attempt by the opposition parties to falsely posture as defenders of democratic rights.

Workers and youth speak out against Facebook’s Australian news ban and corporate media cash grab

By Our reporters, 23 February 2021

“The creation and distribution of news is controlled by a few corporations, ruthless in promoting their class interests.”

Coles staff and Australia Post rank-and-file committee issue call

The working class must come to the aid of the locked-out Smeaton Grange workers!

23 February 2021

The working class everywhere must come to the defence of the locked-out Smeaton Grange workers and begin preparing concrete actions to strengthen their fight and break the isolation being imposed by the union.

How to fight for democracy in Myanmar

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2021

The only social force capable of carrying out a consistent struggle for democratic rights is the working class, as part of the broader struggle to refashion society to meet the pressing needs of the majority—that is, along socialist lines.

Eight Sri Lankan plantation workers arrested in company-police attack

By M. Thevarajah, 23 February 2021

The Ceylon Workers Congress, Sri Lanka’s main plantation union, is actively supporting company and state attacks on striking Alton tea estate workers.

Ten years after New Zealand earthquake, no justice for victims of building collapse

By Tom Peters, 21 February 2021

No one has been held accountable for the extremely poor construction of the CTV building, which collapsed in seconds in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, killing 115 people.

Sri Lanka health workers discuss need for action committees at public meeting

Our correspondents, 21 February 2021

Over 60 people, including doctors, nurses and other health staff, the participated in the Health Workers’ Action Committee at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital public meeting earlier this month.

Myanmar military fires on protesting shipyard workers, killing two

By Owen Howell, 21 February 2021

The bloody crackdown in Mandalay is part of intensifying repression as the protest movement against the February 1 coup shows no sign of abating.

Australian union holds another “indicative” vote pushing sell-out at Coles Smeaton Grange

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 February 2021

The union insists that workers have no choice but to accept the sell-out, while Coles signals it will end the protracted lockout only if there is complete capitulation to its demands.

Burmese police attack striking railway workers; West Bengal contract teachers demand equal pay; Australia: NSW ambulance paramedics to protest casualisation

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

20 February 2021

Burmese police attack striking railway workers; West Bengal contract teachers demand equal pay; Australia: NSW ambulance paramedics to protest casualisation

Rape allegations throw doubt over future of Australian prime minister

By Mike Head, 20 February 2021

If the prime minister is found to have lied to parliament, he could be forced to resign.

Risk of COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand after government ends three-day Auckland lockdown

By Tom Peters, 19 February 2021

The source for six new cases of COVID-19 in Auckland has not been identified, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern nevertheless lifted a partial lockdown of the city after just three days.

Australian educators support locked out Coles workers

By Our reporters, 19 February 2021

Teachers have spoken out in support of the locked out workers at the Smeaton Grange warehouse in Sydney, and have condemned the United Workers Union’s attempts to impose a sell-out deal.

Facebook blocks all news content in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 February 2021

Facebook has responded to a conflict with the Australian authorities and media corporations over advertising revenue, with what could be described as a declaration of online martial law.

Australian government overturns university research grants as part of anti-China campaign

By Mike Head, 18 February 2021

Funding vetoes and a witch-hunting inquiry by the Australian parliament are bound up with the US-instigated confrontation with China, now being intensified by the Biden administration.

An explosion at an Indian fireworks factory kills 20 workers

By Shibu Vavara and Saman Gunadasa, 18 February 2021

The human carnage in the fireworks industry is a result of the criminal indifference of successive governments for the lives of one of the most oppressed sections of the Indian working class.

Australia: Peters Ice Cream workers reject wage-cutting drive

By Steve Streitberg, 18 February 2021

Workers have rejected a management proposal to slash the wages of casual workers by nearly 30 percent, and are enforcing an indefinite overtime ban.

Protests and work stoppages continue in Myanmar against military coup

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2021

If the military has not simply turned its guns on protesters, as it has in the past, it is because it fears an explosion of opposition in the working class.

Australia’s Telstra imposes 1,400 more sackings as restructure resumes

By Terry Cook, 17 February 2021

With the direct assistance of the trade unions, the telecommunications company is slashing 8,000 jobs under a restructuring plan launched in 2018.

Join the IYSSE and take up the fight for international socialism!

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia), 17 February 2021

The developments of the past 12 months have proven that students and youth face a future of misery and dictatorship under capitalism. The only alternative is the fight for revolutionary socialism.

Behind the warehouse lockout in Australia: Coles and the corporate restructuring offensive

By Mike Head, 16 February 2021

With a market capitalisation of $24 billion, the Coles Group is the 18th largest company listed on the leading Australian share index, the ASX200, and is determined to satisfy the dictates of the global financial markets, for higher returns and share prices.

As infections surge, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 confirmed in Sri Lanka

By Naveen Dewage, 16 February 2021

Doctors and medical experts have warned that the country could face a health catastrophe due to inadequate health facilities and an acceleration of the pandemic’s spread.

As farmers expand their agitation, Indian government intensifies repression

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 16 February 2021

The Delhi police, which are directly controlled by Modi’s chief henchman and Home Minister, Amit Shah, have filed First Information Reports against hundreds of farmers and more than 40 farmer leaders.

School Success Model spearheads deeper offensive against Australian public schools

By Erika Zimmer, 16 February 2021

The new blueprint features a further narrowing of the school curriculum, and the imposition of mandatory teaching methods, learning materials, classroom content and practice.

999 South Pacific forum

15 February 2021

Australian COVID-19 vaccine roll-out still uncertain

By Martin Scott, 14 February 2021

As distribution problems mount around the world, Australia is still weeks away from receiving its first doses.

Australian students call for support for locked-out Coles warehouse workers

By our correspondents, 14 February 2021

The company’s video last week “exposed that the union is working hand-in-glove with Coles management against the interests of the workers.”

Pro-democracy demonstrations return to Thailand despite increased repression

By Ben McGrath, 14 February 2021

The military-backed government of Prayuth Chan-ocha is cracking down on participants of last year’s protest movement in an effort to silence political opposition.

Management presses to impose “discipline” as strike by Indian Toyota workers enters fourth month

By Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara, 13 February 2021

As the strike by Toyota Kirloskar Motor workers enters the fourth month, the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is conspiring with management against the striking workers.

Australian Labor Party leader proposes new union-employer Accord

By Mike Head, 13 February 2021

In essence, the presentation was a bid for the return of another Labor government to police the intensified corporate refashioning of workplace relations.

New Zealand towns’ drinking water contaminated with lead

By Tom Peters, 13 February 2021

Residents of Waikouaiti and Karitāne are demanding answers after dangerous levels of lead were detected in their drinking water.

Mass protests against the military coup in Myanmar continue to grow

By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2021

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Friday, a national holiday, in cities and towns throughout Myanmar in the largest demonstrations yet against the military junta.

Korea: Renault Samsung workers to strike for better pay; Migrant construction workers protest in China; Dock workers to strike in Melbourne, Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

13 February 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australia: Union escalates sell-out campaign after Coles Smeaton Grange lockout extended

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 February 2021

The UWU is using a playbook employed by the unions to shut down workers’ opposition and enforce a defeat in one dispute after another over decades.

Australian state government institutes five-day lockdown due to spread of new COVID-19 variant

By Cheryl Crisp, 13 February 2021

This outbreak exposes the fact that the failures of the system of quarantine hotels and contact tracing during the outbreak in mid-2020, when some 800 people died in Victoria, have not been addressed.

Australian pseudo-left group Solidarity running cover for union sell-out at Coles Smeaton Grange

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 February 2021

Solidarity bemoans the union’s attacks on workers as a “tragedy,” as though a misunderstanding is involved, but insists that they remain trapped within the framework of the UWU as it seeks to enforce a sell-out.

Air New Zealand admits to working for Saudi Arabian navy

By Tom Peters, 12 February 2021

The Labour-Greens coalition government has feigned shock over revelations that the state-owned airline has assisted the Saudi Arabian military, which is engaged in a genocidal war against Yemen.

Australia: Coles extends Smeaton Grange lockout, denounces workers and “extremist anti-union socialists”

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 February 2021

Coles praised the union for seeking to impose the company’s demands, castigated workers for their repeated rejection of the sell-out and denounced “socialists,” i.e., the SEP and the WSWS, for disrupting the company-UWU operation.

Historian Joseph Scalice to deliver public lecture on 50th anniversary of Plaza Miranda bombing

11 February 2021

The bombing marked a critical step toward the imposition of martial law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 and remains one of the most controversial events in the country’s history.

Philippines Airlines (PAL) to destroy 2,700 jobs in March

By Robert Campion, 11 February 2021

The PALEA trade union and the allied Partido Manggagawa, a party that postures as socialist, both function as adjuncts of the airline and the government in suppressing any genuine fight by workers to defend their jobs, wages and conditions.

Australian university workers support locked-out Coles workers

By our correspondent, 11 February 2021

The statements by educators are important indications of the support for the building of new genuine working class organisations of struggle, and for a broader political movement of the working class.

Biden declares US in “extreme competition” with China

By Mike Head, 11 February 2021

Biden’s catch-cry—“America is back”—has the same belligerent content as Trump’s “America First.”

Australian union trying to force through sell-out at Coles Smeaton Grange after workers vote no

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 February 2021

The United Workers Union is once again seeking to ride roughshod over workers' opposition and to impose a sell-out that would result in the closure of Smeaton Grange and the destruction of most, or all, of the 350 jobs there.

Philippine Stalinists try to cover their tracks after promoting Navalny

By Peter Symonds, 10 February 2021

The Communist Party of the Philippines again displayed its opportunist politics with a revealing “amended version” of a statement on the pro-Navalny protests in Russia.

Tamil National People’s Front collaborates with allies of Sri Lankan regime

By S. Jayanth, 10 February 2021

By joining with the EPDP militia, a faction of the Tamil National People’s Front is strengthening the Gotabhaya Rajapakse government against the working class.

Calls for a general strike against military junta in Myanmar

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2021

Demonstrations over the weekend, estimated in the tens of thousands, continued on Monday despite police attacks and threats of military violence.

Dam disaster in India: Over 200 construction workers and villagers trapped or dead

By Saman Gunadasa, 9 February 2021

This latest tragedy is another indictment of the capitalist profit system and its disregard for working class lives and the planet’s ecological problems.

SEP meeting in Australia discusses political issues facing locked-out Coles workers and the need for independent rank-and-file organisations

By our reporter, 9 February 2021

Speakers explained the vital stand taken by the Smeaton Grange warehouse workers and outlined the political perspective needed to defeat the escalating assault on jobs and conditions.

What are the real lessons of the Diliman Commune?

By Joseph Scalice, 9 February 2021

The lessons of this key event in 1971 for students and workers in the Philippines today can only be drawn through a critical examination of the political forces involved, particularly the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines.

Australian parliament condemns “far-right and far-left extremism”

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 February 2021

The government motion was drawn straight from the playbook of Donald Trump, downplaying the threat of right-wing extremism, and baselessly warning against “far-left” violence.

Why has Australia’s United Workers Union refused strike pay to locked-out Coles workers?

By Mike Head, 8 February 2021

Falsely touted as a radical new “super” union, the UWU is another wealthy and ruthless apparatus for suppressing mounting workers’ struggles.

Sri Lanka: Hundreds of thousands of estate workers strike for a wage rise

By Our correspondents, 8 February 2021

The Ceylon Workers Congress called the strike in order to dissipate workers’ anger over the continual refusal of plantation companies to grant the long-running demand for a 1,000-rupee daily wage.

Coalition government in New Caledonia collapses

By John Braddock, 8 February 2021

The fragile political arrangements between the pro-and anti-independence factions in the French Pacific territory have shattered amid a deepening economic crisis and rising anger in the working class.

Sri Lankan educators' safety committee salutes Chicago teachers

Teacher-Student-Parent Rank and File Safety Committee statement (Sri Lanka), 8 February 2021

“We will campaign among teachers and students in support of the Chicago teachers’ struggle, explaining this important experience. The Chicago struggle is our fight.”

Indian power workers, government employers and insurance employers oppose privatisation; Australia: Melbourne dock workers vote to strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

6 February 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian unions suppress news of Coles workers’ vote to reject UWU sell-out

By Mike Head, 6 February 2021

The United Workers Union is still trying to black out all news of the decisive stand taken by the locked-out warehouse workers at Smeaton Grange in Sydney, against the destruction of jobs and conditions across their industry.

Australia: Coles workers speak out against company-union job-cutting drive

By Our reporters, 5 February 2021

“A lot of people are keen to leave the union altogether. All they do is take $12 out of our paychecks each week.”

Australian Labor Party and unions pretend to oppose corporate offensive on workers’ jobs, pay and conditions

By Mike Head, 5 February 2021

After propping up the Morrison government for more than a year, the Labor and union leaders are attempting to distance themselves from it.

Bangladesh government begins to forcibly remove Rohingya refugees

By Wimal Perera, 4 February 2021

The government is moving some 100,000 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, a cyclone-prone island, while planning to send others back to Myanmar, from where they fled.

Australian central bank expands quantitative easing program

By Nick Beams, 4 February 2021

Forecasts by the RBA make clear that any “recovery” in the Australian economy will be appropriated as profit while the wages share of national income continues to decline.

Infectious UK coronavirus variant spreads from quarantine hotel in Western Australia

By Clare Bruderlin, 3 February 2021

The crisis in Perth is another demonstration of the failure of the hotel quarantine system and other inadequate government safety measures.

New Zealand government bans foreign cruise ship workers

By Tom Peters, 3 February 2021

The cruise ship Le Lapérouse was forced to turn around after the Labour Party-led government, backed by the trade unions, denied visas to 61 of its crew members.

Australia: Smeaton Grange Coles workers reject union sell-out agreement

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 February 2021

The Socialist Equality Party is holding an online meeting this Saturday, 5pm (AEDT) entitled “After Smeaton Grange workers reject union sell-out: The way forward for Coles and Woolworths workers.”

Indian government presents budget amid economic crisis, swelling social opposition

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 2 February 2021

The budget represents a further escalation in the Modi government’s class war assault on India’s workers and toilers.

Military seizes power in Myanmar

By Peter Symonds, 2 February 2021

The military’s move is no doubt conditioned by the turn to authoritarian forms of rule internationally amid the deepening crisis of capitalism triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic—not least in the US.

Chinese fishing vessels seized in the Pacific

By John Braddock, 2 February 2021

Pacific island states are being drawn into fierce geo-strategic rivalries as Washington seizes on claims of illegal fishing to boost its military presence.

Australian government sets course to impose pandemic debt crisis on working class

By Mike Head, 2 February 2021

“We are not running a blank-cheque budget,” Prime Minister Morrison insisted, after a year of handing the corporate elite virtual blank cheques.

Union-Coles attack on Smeaton Grange workers in Sydney: A blueprint for closures and mass sackings

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 February 2021

The United Workers Union is seeking to establish a precedent for “orderly closures” that will be used against workers in at least eight other warehouses operated by Coles and its chief rival Woolworths.

Brisbane Coles workers, along with other Coles workers, express bitterness at union agreement with warehouse closure

By our reporters, 31 January 2021

The Smeaton Grange closure is part of a wider program by Coles nationally to replace its existing warehouses with larger and more automated facilities, destroying thousands of jobs in the process.

Coles Eastern Creek warehouse worker denounces union betrayal of locked-out workers

By our reporters, 31 January 2021

“The union can dig up all the excuses it likes but the only reason there’s no strike fund is because the union is trying to wear down the Smeaton Grange workers and force them to accept the company offer.”

UN human rights commissioner calls for probe into Sri Lanka’s war crimes

By K. Ratnayake, 31 January 2021

Bachelet’s report comes amid US moves to present a new human rights resolution on Sri Lanka in order to pressure the Rajapakse regime in Colombo remain within Washington’s geostrategic orbit.

Nearly 40,000 Australians still stranded overseas because of government indifference

By John Harris, 31 January 2021

“We feel abandoned. It feels like we aren’t wealthy or rich enough to get home.”

Australia Post rank-and-file committee calls on Coles workers to reject union sell-out

By Our reporter, 31 January 2021

“We pledge our support to you in this critical struggle and will do everything in our power to unite postal workers with our brothers and sisters at Smeaton Grange.”

Nepalese health workers demand COVID-19 risk allowances; Pakistani power workers expand anti-privatisation protests; New Zealand home care workers face lockout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 January 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

New Zealand: COVID-19 cases highlight risk of new outbreak

By Tom Peters, 30 January 2021

Three cases of the highly-contagious South African variant of COVID-19 point to serious shortcomings in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine system for returned travellers.

Shadow ministry reshuffle underscores Australian Labor Party crisis

By Mike Head, 30 January 2021

The moves against Albanese reveal concerns in ruling circles that Labor has failed to recover any ground since its May 2019 federal election debacle.

Neo-Nazis gather on Australia Day weekend for cross-burning

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 January 2021

Fascist networks are increasingly emboldened amid a deepening social and economic crisis and the promotion of far-right forces by sections of the political establishment.

Philippine Stalinists line up behind right-wing Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny

By Peter Symonds, 30 January 2021

The CPP supports Navalny because it is backing sections of the ruling class most closely aligned with US imperialism, represented by Vice-President Leni Robredo and her Liberal Party.

Modi launches mass repression against two-month-long farmer agitation

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 30 January 2021

India’s BJP government has seized upon the “violence” and “anarchy” that erupted in Delhi during last Tuesday’s protest against its pro-agri-business laws to launch a long-prepared campaign to suppress the farmers’ agitation through state intimidation and violence.

Striking Indian Toyota worker speaks on slave labour conditions at Toyota Kirloskar Motor factory outside Bangalore

By Arun Kumar, 30 January 2021

A striking Toyota worker in India speaks out on the slave labor conditions they have been subjected to working for the company.

Sri Lanka online public meeting: Build workers’ action committees to win health workers’ rights!

By Health Workers Action Committee of Peradeniya Teaching Hospital, 29 January 2021

All health workers are invited to participate in this vital online meeting on February 7 to discuss how to protect ourselves and other workers from the danger of COVID-19 infections and to defend our rights.

Australian university cuts to jobs and courses to intensify in 2021

By Mike Head, 29 January 2021

While facing huge revenue losses, university managements are also exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to bring forward restructuring plans.

Fiji wins presidency of UN Human Rights Council

By John Braddock, 29 January 2021

The diplomatic maneuvering around Fiji’s appointment underscores the tensions produced by the escalating US-led offensive against China, which is set to deepen under the Biden administration.

As pandemic continues in China, lack of resources provokes social media protests

By Jerry Zhang, 28 January 2021

The government’s COVID-19 prevention and control system is facing tremendous pressure and fuelling popular discontent.

New Zealand protest calls for action on climate change

By Tom Peters, 28 January 2021

There is considerable frustration among young people over inaction on climate change, but the protest organisers continued to promote illusions that the Labour-Greens government, which has protected corporate polluters, will respond.

Australian governments lift safety restrictions despite COVID-19 dangers and vaccine doubts

By Martin Scott, 28 January 2021

The back-to-workplaces drive is being escalated, even though vaccine roll-outs have not begun.

Global and domestic tensions fuel moves to oust Australian Labor Party leader

By Mike Head, 27 January 2021

Plans to dump Albanese are intensifying as the worldwide COVID-19 catastrophe worsens, fuelling working class unrest internationally, and the incoming Biden administration steps up the US confrontation with China.

Increased flooding in Indonesia linked to deforestation

By Robert Campion, 26 January 2021

Environmental scientists and advocates have pointed to the devastating effects of deforestation from palm oil and mining operations that have contributed to flooding and landslides.

Biden administration warns China over Taiwan, as US carrier enters South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 26 January 2021

Just a week after his inauguration, Biden’s administration is already signalling that it will escalate Trump’s confrontation with Beijing.

Indian farmers’ agitation against Modi government’s pro-agribusiness laws enters third month

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 26 January 2021

The farmers’ agitation has compounded the enormous social and political crisis facing the Modi regime and India’s ruling elite as a whole.