working conditions

Anatomy of a strike victory

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The current spate of local disputes provides a glimpse of the potential for a fightback. Donny Gluckstein reports on the successful strike at Edinburgh College.

The strike of further education lecturers at Edinburgh College has been described as "a classic example of how to conduct a strike" by the executive of the EIS, the Scottish education union. The bare outlines of what happened make impressive reading.

Losing control of work

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An examination of the contemporary British workplace reveals that all is not well. Workers tell a story of increasing pressure to meet targets, longer working hours and constant surveillance. Performance targets set by managers are becoming ever less attainable, with bullying and harassment becoming the norm. A recent survey by Unison found that one third of employees have been bullied at work, double the figure in 2001.

China's migrant women

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Breakneck industrial expansion has transformed women's lives in China over the last generation. They live very different lives to their mothers and grandmothers but face enormous hardship in China's huge factories

If you are reading this article online the chances are that some part of the technology you are using will have been produced at one of the Foxconn factories in China.

This company made the international news last year due to a number of suicides among its workers. One of the largest Foxconn factories is in the city of Shenzhen in South East China. Between 300,000 and 450,000 workers are employed in this massive industrial park - a walled campus within Shenzhen dubbed "Foxconn city".

Tesco: Every Little Hurts

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The supermarket giant Tesco announced record profits last month of £2 billion. Yet a report by ActionAid reveals the appalling conditions of thousands of women workers in South Africa who grow fruit that ends up on Tesco's shelves.

Tesco is Britain's biggest buyer of South African fruit. Despite the company's so called commitment to corporate social responsibility, and the existence of laws in South Africa designed to protect agricultural workers, ActionAid found unacceptable conditions among the temporary labourers interviewed on Tesco-accredited farms.

Women and Work: Balancing Act

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Sally Campbell investigates claims that 'time is the new money' for women workers.

The wildcat strike by British Airways (BA) check-in staff at Heathrow Terminal One in July was a fantastic example of workers refusing to accept that we have no power over the multinationals. The unofficial action sparked media frenzy. There was a general agreement that this dispute was new and different from the strikes of yore because it was about time and life issues rather than money.

The Forgotten People

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Review of 'Nickel and Dimed', Barbara Ehrenreich, Granta £8.99

Anti-war activists are frequently accused of anti-American bias, of blaming all Americans for their government's actions. This is very far from the truth. Anti-capitalists have long been aware of the extent to which the US, like the rest of the world, is divided between a tiny minority who benefit from global capitalism and the overwhelming mass of people who produce the wealth but, in the race for the bottom, are denied even a living wage.

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