Attacking workers occupying factories hurts us all.
Strikes are about more than train delays. As two on-going factory occupations show, they can be courageous acts pointing the way towards a better society. They deserve our support, and their fundamental human rights.In Korea, 800 workers have occupied the Ssangyong Motor factory since 22 May, after management sacked a third of the workforce. Some 4000 riot police, hired goons and private security forces have ensured that these workers are getting tear gas instead of food, batons instead of water and taser guns instead of medical treatment. Instead of abusing the rights of its citizens, the Korean government urgently needs to bring management to the negotiating table, and have a recovery plan that re-inflates the economy with workers? wages, instead of one that just re-inflates executive pay packets.Similarly, workers have been occupying Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight for the last two weeks to save some 600 green jobs ? exactly the sort of jobs that must thrive if we are to survive on warming planet. For Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband, now is the time to walk the walk on green jobs.Both sets of striking workers must have their rights respected. Not just because such rights are fundamental, but also because these rights enable their crucial voices to be heard: voices demanding a society that puts people first, on its way towards a low carbon future.Ben Moxham
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