Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand


Bangladesh Railway running staff strike over allowances

Bangladesh Railway running staff, which includes loco-masters, assistant loco-masters, guards and ticket-checkers, called a snap eight-hour strike on Wednesday over wages and a cut in benefits. All rail traffic came to a halt leaving passengers stranded at rail stations.

The workers have been campaigning for over five months to demand restoration of mileage and pension allowances management cancelled in November. The running staff were paid a mileage allowance, based on their basic salary, if they worked more than eight hours. They were also paid a 75 percent allowance on top of their basic pension.

The strike was sparked after the government refused a request from Bangladesh Rail to restore the allowances. The running staff returned to work after the government agreed to withdraw the cancellation order.

Bangladeshi garment workers demand wages and festival allowance

Garment workers from various factories in and around Dhaka rallied at the National Press Club in Dhaka on April 8 to demand wages and Eid festival allowances. Organised by the Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (GWTUC), the workers held a protest march along the Topkhana Road.

The garment workers, who are mainly from remote villages, find it difficult to travel back to their home villages for the religious holiday without these payments. Their minimum basic wage is a meagre 8,000 taka ($US93) per month. Prior to the latest demonstration, the GWTUC has been holding gate meetings, rallies and processions at garment factory areas across the country.

India: Bus building workers in third week of strike in Karnataka

Wage protests by Tata Marcopolo bus building factory workers in Dharward, Karnataka state, entered their third week with various demands including wage revision. The 1,200 workers at the plant claim they have not had a pay increase for two years.

Many workers have been at the factory for over 14 years. Their average wages range between 18,000 rupees ($US236.5) and 23,000 rupees per month. They said that their wages were not being revised even though the salaries of all white-collar employees were revised regularly.

They also demanded reinstatement of eight dismissed workers as per a court order, the pay of incentives, health insurance for parents of employees and an upgrade of the canteen.

Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation workers protest with multiple demands

Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation (JKRTC) workers staged a territory-wide protest on April 9 over long outstanding demands. These include release of four months outstanding wages, job permanency for employees who have completed eight years’ service and the release of a pending 57 percent dearness allowance. They also want confirmation of Departmental Promotion Committee 2021 orders and formal fixation of HSD/Fuel scale for BS6 trucks as per a committee survey report.

The J&K Road Transport Corporation Workers Union members have said that they will intensify the protest across the territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh if the authorities continue ignoring their demands.

Sacked Haryana contract health workers demand reinstatement

Sacked contract health workers recruited by the Haryana state government during the COVID-19 pandemic held a march and demonstrated at the National Health Mission office in Panchkula on April 7 to demand reinstatement. The protest, which was joined by workers from across the state was called Sarv Karamchari Sangh.

Protesters said that 2,212 contracted health workers hired during the pandemic emergency were terminated on March 31. The sacked staff are demonstrating in different districts and submitting their demand to various state politicians.

Tamil Nadu social health workers demand pay rise

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) from across Tamil Nadu gathered in the state’s capital Chennai on April 8 and held a demonstration with various demands. These were permanency of service and a monthly consolidated pay of 18,000-rupees ($US236.5). They also demanded the payment of COVID-19 assistance of 15,000 rupees and a pending incentive.