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Asia Pacific Currents

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Stories and issues from the Asia Pacific region with a labour and grassroots perspective. Regular interviews with activists from countries in the Asia Pacific region. Produced by Australia-Asia Worker Links.

Stories and issues from the Asia Pacific region with a labour and grassroots perspective. Regular interviews with activists from countries in the Asia Pacific region. Produced by Australia-Asia Worker Links.
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South Carlton, VIC


Stories and issues from the Asia Pacific region with a labour and grassroots perspective. Regular interviews with activists from countries in the Asia Pacific region. Produced by Australia-Asia Worker Links.






PO Box 45 South Carlton, VIC 3053 Australia +61 3 9663 7277


South Korean metro workers taking action against global company

Workers in South Korea have managed to overcome the offensives against them in the last few years from governments and companies.Nevertheless, even after ousting the former President Park, they face many hurdles in improving their wages and conditions.This week we talk to Wolsan Liem, Director of International and Korean Peninsula Affairs of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU), about the strike by Seoul metro workers and the issues that they are facing.Asia Pacific...

Duration: 00:27:56

Gas workers in south eastern Australia still fighting after five months

The large gas and oil sectors in Australia are dominated by global companies. In the last few years, they have launched an offensive against workers in Australia to slash wages and conditions.Longford in the south eastern Australian state of Victoria is the latest flashpoint of this battle. Esso is trying to force its maintenance workers to be employed by a shelf company which would pay them up to 40% less in wages and introduce brutal shifts that would see workers working up to 4 weeks...

Duration: 00:28:33

South Korean workers fighting for their rights

The labour movement in South Korea is one of the strongest in the Asia Pacific region with its roots in the anti dictatorship protests of the 1960's and 1970's.In the last few years it has come under sustained attack from successive Government administrations. Its Secretary, Han Sang-gyun is still currently in jail for the crime of organising demonstrations.We talk to Mikyung Ryu, the International Relation Director of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), about the latest worker...

Duration: 00:28:37

Fighting against trade union repression

Workers all around the world face pressures and repression as capitalists try to increase their profits by spending less on workers welfare and making them work faster, longer and harder for less pay.The Global Day to stop the repression against unionists was initiated in 2014 as a joint project by a number of labour organisations in the Asia Pacific region. This Day is to support workers rights, to call for the end of repression against our brothers and sisters, and to stand together united...

Duration: 00:27:50

Demonetisation, economic reforms and workers protests in India

The current BJP Government in India, headed by Prime Minister Modi, has been in power for over three years.His government has been one of the most pro business governments in Indian history. Modi has set our to free up the hand of capitalists in India while at the same time undermining the power of workers to organise. The demonetisation program that was unveiled last year has only worsened conditions for many workers.We talk to Vusudevan Nambiath, labour leader with the New Trade Union...

Duration: 00:27:38

Fight against Australia's inhumane refugee policies continue

Since 1989, the Australian Government's policies and actions against asylum seekers and refugees have increasingly become xenophobic, nationalist and repressive.On top of turning back boats in acts of piracy on the high seas, deporting refugees back to dangers in countries they escaped from, Australia has created a series of concentration camps for refugees both onshore and offshore.Currently, the camp at Manus Island is closing, leaving hundreds of refugees in a desperate situation. We talk...

Duration: 00:28:03

Setbacks and advances for the Kurdish struggle in West Asia

While the wars in Iraq and Syria have offered a historical opportunity for Kurdish forces to advance their right to autonomy and independence, there are also major dangers.The recent advances by Kurdish forces in northern Syria in taking Raqqa and their capitulation and losses in northern Iraq examplify the difficulties and uneven situation that Kurdish groups face in West Asia.We talk to Mahmut Kahraman, spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria, Australia, on...

Duration: 00:29:48

Will Palestine unity help the struggle?

Last week, the two biggest Palestinian political factions, announced that they signed an initial unity agreement. This deal was announced by both sides as a ‘a declaration of the end to division and a return to national Palestinian unity’.While this is a positive steps, there are many big issues to resolve between the two organisations, including the ongoing occupation, a crackdown on independent Palestinian media and the repression and jailing of Palestinian activists by Israel.We...

Streets ice cream workers battle global giant

Around 150 workers in the Australian city of Sydney have been in a brutal struggle from last August against their employer, Streets Ice Cream, a subsidiary of the global giant Unilever, over a new enterprise agreement. The company wants to reduce workers’ wages by over 40%, as well as cuts to overtime and redundancy payments.Matt Kunkel from 3CR Radio's Stick Together program interviews Steve Murphy, the NSW Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) State Secretary, on the workers...

Duration: 00:28:16

Documenting the unfolding disaster of the Rohingya people

While the Rohingya people in Western Burma have suffered discrimination in the past, the current disaster is of unprecedented proportions.We talk to Mahi Ramakrishnan, a blogger and documentary film maker from Malaysia, who has made three documentaries about the Rohingya people about the current campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar Government.Mahi also talks about some of the possible ways forward to resolve this humanitarian and political crisis.Asia Pacific Currents provides...

Duration: 00:29:08

The fight against militarism in the Asia Pacific region

With tensions rising in the Asia Pacific region, there are many organisations and groups that have campaigned for a long time against the hegemony of the USA military in the region.New Zealand has been one of the leading countries that have tried to create a less militarised region.We play a recording of the speech of Murray Horton, spokesperson for the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (New Zealand), at the recent Australian conference of The Independent and Peaceful Australia...

Duration: 00:29:19

Opposition to war in the Korean Peninsula grows

The escalating war of words between the USA President Trump and the North Korean Chairman Kim, is dangerously increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.Given the destruction that the USA military caused in North Korea during the war in the early 1950’s, and its use of nuclear weapons on Japan in 1945, there is widespread fear among working class communities that another devastating war could break out.We talk to Wolsan Liem, Director of International and Korean Peninsula Affairs of the...

Duration: 00:27:46

Pacific workers facing issues on many fronts

Workers from the Pacific Islands have been used, and exploited, by the Australian state and companies, since the late 1800's.This relationship has not changed in the 21st century with Pacific workers being exploited via new work programs that seek to take advantage of the widespread poverty present in many Pacific Islands.We talk to Nic Maclellan, a human rights activist and independent journalist, on some of the ways that Pacific workers are trying to protect themselves while working in...

Duration: 00:29:16

Philippines airline workers still fighting after six years

Philippines Airlines (PAL) tried to outsource its workforce in 2011 by terminating 2,600 workers. The workers, organised by the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) fought back and organised an indefinite picket line.We talk to Alnem Pretencio, spokeperson from PALEA, about how they had thought they had won their incredibly struggle in 2013, but PAL has used every trick at its disposal to delay the reinstatement of the workers in an attempt to break their commitment and the...

Duration: 00:27:24

Human rights still not guaranteed in Indonesia

Since the overthrow of the dictator Soeharto in the late 1990's, Indonesia has been a formal democracy with a number of elections being successfully held.Nevertheless for working class communities, both in the rural and urban areas, gaining justice and having their human rights respected is not just about the law.We talk to Herlambang Wiratraman, Director at the Centre of Human Rights Law Studies (HRLS), Faculty of Law, Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia, at the systematic and...

Duration: 00:30:30

Fresh arrests hit human right activists in Hong Kong

This week sixteen human right activists were sentenced to up to 18 months in jail for taking part in protests during the 'yellow umbrella' protest movement in 2014.Thirteen activists were jailed for protesting in the Legislative Council against a proposed multi millior dollar development in the New Territories, while in a separate case, three leaders of the umbrella movement were jailed for participating in an unlawful assembly.We talk to Shek Pui Yin, a student leader and activist in the...

Duration: 00:27:43

Death squads terrorising working class communities in the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte's 'War on Drugs' is now almost a year old. His death squads have murdered almost 10,000 people.We interview Ellecer 'Budit' Carlos, spokeperson for In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), on the normalisation of extra judicial killings, the impunity of death squads, the vilification of human rights defenders, and the effects this has had on urban, working class communities in the Philippines.Budit also comments on the reasons why Duterte still...

Duration: 00:29:28

Anganwadi women health workers fighting for their rights in India

There are hundreds of thousands of rural health workers in India, called Anganwadi, that monitor and support the health and welfare of mothers and their children.While they are implementing government programs, they are not employed directly by the government, but are treated as volunteers and given an honorarium instead of wages.Tens of thousands of Anganwadi women have being on strike for over 45 days, demonstrating in New Delhi, demanding that they be employed as regular workers and...

Duration: 00:28:33

Health and safety still an issue for Bangladeshi garment workers

The garment sector in Bangladesh competes in the world via a brutal 'Race to the Bottom' where wages and OHS are depressed as much as possible.In conjunction with the widespread repression of labour activists and trade unionists, many workers are killed at work in cases of industrial homicides.Saydia Gulrukh, labour rights activists and researcher from Bangladesh, talks about the latest fatal boiler explosion in a garment factory and discusses some of the improvements that have happened...

Duration: 00:25:27

Organising workers internationally - The Global Picket Line

In our globally interconnected world, companies are now structured at a global level where they integrate their production, storage, transport and retail arms over many different countries in a never ending quest for the highest profits.Workers have had difficulty in countering this strategy by companies and also organising at a global level. The Global Picket Line is a new concept that aims to overcome this weakness.We interviewed Manrico Moro, vice-president of AAWL and a campaign...

Duration: 00:28:52

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