Archive for the ‘Workplace injuries and deaths’ Category

by Socialist Democracy

The announcement by an Irish government minister that “significant quantities” of human remains had been discovered at the site of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway has brought official confirmation to claims about the disposal of the bodies of babies and very young children who had died there during the almost forty year period it was in operation. Even to a public who have become accustomed to revelations of abuses perpetuated in Church run institutions the treatment of the women and children in the Tuam home were truly shocking.

These mother and baby homes were places where unmarried pregnant women were sent to give birth. After birth their babies were then taken from them and raised in a separate part of the home by nuns. These children were later given up for adoption, often without the consent of their mothers. The women remained in the home for a year, working unpaid hours to reimburse the nuns for their “services”. This was the standard practice – not just at Tuam – but across all ten of these type of institutions that existed within the state. It is estimated that 35,000 unmarried pregnant women passed through these homes.

Informed by a warped religious dogma that deemed the sexual activity of females outside of marriage to be a sin, these homes were designed as places of punishment rather than care. This punishment came not only upon the women but also their children who were seen as the products of sin and therefore less than human. While forced separation and adoption is shocking even more shocking is the very high death rate of children born into these homes that meant that most never left alive.

At least 6,000 children died in mother and baby homes throughout Ireland. For many the end was an unmarked burial plot within the grounds – their remains disposed of with those of numerous others in what can rightly be described as mass graves. For others even death didn’t end the exploitation with hundreds of bodies being sent from the homes to Irish medical colleges. These deaths cannot be accounted for solely by the poverty of that time but rather by the conscious neglect and cruelty that women and their children were subjected to.

Investigations

It was claims about the nature of the disposal of the remains of almost 800 children at Tuam – that they were dumped in part of the sewage works – that (more…)

Regina Elsea and her fiance

by The Spark

Regina Elsea was killed last year when the robot she was trying to repair suddenly moved and crushed her. She was working for Ajin USA, a car parts company, earning $8.50 an hour.

Chambers County, where the company was located, offered tax breaks and other financial aid to companies to locate there. Encouraged by such free taxpayer-backed money, car companies, with their high-tech robots and technologies, started to move to the region. People were hired, but most of the wages remained very low. In addition, much of the work was supplied through staffing agencies and was temporary.

Elsea was not an Ajin employee. She was employed through a (more…)

unnamedby Don Franks

(dedicated with respect to Pike River miners and their families)

On Mayday, get your old flag out
unwrap each dusty fold
pour the cold beer, find some young ear
to hear your stories told
how we used to put a blue on
downloadhow we boxed the place up tight
saw the scabs off, held the picket line
stood tall through all the shite
just remember while you party on
until the (more…)

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

by Susanne Kemp

Auckland firefighters have blacked an entire fleet of Fraser-MAN fire trucks.  The union ban on the trucks follows months of disquiet over the trucks.

Back in August last year, for instance, the union began trying to resolve issues related to these trucks.  Auckland firefighters were forced to black an appliance due to safety concerns.  The Auckland City fire truck carrying the life-saving “jaws of life” rescue equipment was found to be faulty and had to be taken off the road.

In October a AGM of Auckland firefighters expressed frustration and anger over the pumping and  pump-rescue appliances on these trucks.  At the time, the Auckland local of the union produced a comprehensive account of the problems with the trucks and rebuttal of the stalling and arse-covering antics of fleet management at national headquarters.

The Auckland local noted, among other things, “A proper trial involving a few prototypes would likely have avoided the current situation, a situation where $20 million of levy payers’ money has been wasted on a fleet of lemons with irretrievably bad DNA. A situation where vehicles less than six months old are literally coming apart at the seams (Christchurch). Where vehicles have had their wiring interfered with to the point where they won’t start when called upon to respond. Where pumps will not (more…)

Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse still fighting for justice; photo: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ

Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse still fighting for justice; photo: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ

by Susanne Kemp

On Saturday morning, members and supporters of the families of a number of the Pike River workers who lost their lives in the November 2010 explosions at the mine began a picket outside the mine.  Led by Sonja Rockhouse, who lost a son, and Anna Osborne, who lost a husband, the group have been protesting the decision of the mine company, state-owned Solid Energy, to permanently seal off the mine, leaving the remains of the 29 dead workers in the mine forever.

The company’s decision has been made despite the fact that there is (more…)

pb57793-300x459Our latest meeting took place at the weekend and we were privileged to be joined by John Smith, author of Imperialism in the 21st Century, one of the three books we’re studying.  We were also joined by his associate Andy Higginbottom.

John gave a presentation on several key themes of the book, which led into a discussion on the size, scale and weight of the working class in the Third World compared to the First World, where this leaves the working class (and the anti-capitalist left) in the First World, the issue of monopoly and how it does or does not relate to imperialist super-profits and much more.

Indeed, the meeting went on over several hours.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will get John’s introduction to the study meeting up on Redline, along with some articles that summarise the chapters of his book.

Our next meeting will be taking place in late November.

The interview below is with Paul Embery, working firefighter and regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in the London region.  He was also national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU in the lead-up to the recent Brexit referendum.

This interview is from 2014 about a particular strike over specific issues at that time – in particular the attempts of the Cameron government to change firefighters’ conditions around pension/retirement especially.

The interview is relevant to firefighters in New Zealand: