World news briefs

Telecom unions under attack in Pakistan

Following a strike at Pakistan Telecommunication (PTCL) that was brutally suppressed by the government, a wholesale witch-hunt of union activists is taking place. More than 250 workers have been suspended from their jobs and another 280 terminated. Thirty-five union leaders have been charged under anti-terrorism laws — all this for demanding a wage increase according to the agreements signed at the time of PTCL’s privatisation in 2005 and in violation of the PTCL Re-Organisation Act 1996, Clauses (35) and (36).

Unite secretary stands in NZ by-election

Unite is a successful union formed in New Zealand four years ago to organise the thousands of young workers who toil in poorly paid and mostly part-time jobs in service industries. Bypassing existing unions that found the task too difficult, Unite has now unionised many workers in Auckland’s fast food industry, the casino and call centres, and has 5000 members.

Matt McCarten, the national secretary of Unite, is standing as an independent in the November 20 by-election for the seat of Mana in Auckland.

Malaysian socialist MP sues government

Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, a central committee member of the Malaysian Socialist Party and a member of parliament for Sungai Siput, has sued the ruling Barisan Nasional government for denying him and his constituency financial allocations as provided by the constitution. On October 29 Dr. Kumar briefed a packed media conference that he had filed a leave application to seek permission from the High Court for judicial review against the decision made by the Perak state Development Office, which on three occasions had rejected the allocation request made for the development and welfare of the Sungai Siput people. Normally 1 million ringgit (A$330,000) is allocated to each parliament constituency through the Prime Minister’s Department as development allocations.

AISA wins university election in Garhwal, India

The All India Students’ Association candidate, Verghese Bamola, has won the post of university representative in HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand. Many of the leaders of AISA are members of the Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (Liberation).The election, held on October 23, was won by AISA by a huge margin. Verghese Bamola secured 1349 votes; his nearest rival received only 686. The post of university representative has been hotly contested by all student groups recently because a candidate can contest most posts only once. However, a student can contest twice for the post of UR and therefore student leaders who see student elections only as a launching pad for their political careers are concentrating on this post.

Pakistan floods appeal

Several nationally known television and theatre artists from Norway have collected 1.48 million rupees (A$17,400) to help the flood victims in Pakistan. The amount was sent to the Labour Education Foundation, one of the eight organisations that are part of the Labour Relief Campaign, an umbrella relief organisation of several trade unions and social and political organisations of Pakistan.