‘Noted’, weekly round up of news

Racism essential to migrant worker exploitation

The Age has published an excellent first hand account of one persons experience working on an orchard outside of Melbourne; ‘Why I lasted just five weeks working in the apple industry’.

The pseudonymous author was employed as a “supervisor” at an apple orchard. The appalling work conditions the author describes are familiar to many. What is particularly interesting about this account is that the author was employed as a supervisor and describes the management practices he was instructed to implement.

“Don’t make friends with them,” I was told by my foreman (referring to the South-east Asians). “Don’t talk to them”, “Don’t be nice to them”. He spread schoolyard myths about Thais eating dog food and leaving cat carcasses in their bins. Threats and intimidation were also the norm. One foreman referred to employees as “retards” while another threatened a group that he would “kill someone today”.

‘James McGee’ in The Age.

Amazon under pressure in Dandenong South

Global retail giant Amazon is facing criticism about work conditions at its Dandenong South warehouse. Recent articles by both the SMH and ABC highlight crushing work rates and insecure positions. The ABC have released a “news game about what it’s like to work in an Amazon warehouse”, you can play it here. Low pay, insecure work and crushing work rates are at the core of Amazon’s business model around the world.

“I feel like they resent the fact that I’m not a robot and that I’m made of flesh and bone.”

Amazon worker interviewed by the ABC

Elsewhere in warehouse land, workers at three ‘Chemist Warehouse’ warehouses are preparing for industrial action. The issues are strikingly similar; insecure work, outsourcing, casualisation, low pay, harassment and safety issues.

School students demanding action on climate change

The summer of 2018-2019 is just over, and no surprises, it’s now the hottest Australian summer on record.

School students are taking to the streets on March 15 to demand action on climate change. In Melbourne school strikers are holding a demonstration from midday, outside the Treasury Building on Spring Street. Their published demands are “Stop the Adani coal mine”, “No new coal or gas” and “100% renewable energy by 2030”.

Meanwhile, activists targeting Adani’s Abbott Point coal terminal have disrupted coal exports for almost seventy hours this week with a series of lock-ons.

Mural by Van T Rudd, up in Hosier Lane earlier this week.

Where is Mugilan?

Mugilan, an activist with the Tamil Nadu Environment Protection Movement, has been missing since February 16. He is presumed kidnapped, possibly murdered.

Mugilan disappeared hours after holding a press conference at which he released footage that exposed the involvement of senior Tamil Nadu police in the shooting deaths of fourteen demonstrators last May. The killed demonstrators were protesting against a Sterlite Copper smelter. Sterlite is a subsidiary of the internationally traded Vedanta Ltd.

About Noted

‘Noted’ is a weekly list of some of the news that didn’t dominate the headlines, published Mondays (assuming I get around to it). If you’ve got something that should be Noted please don’t hesitate to inbox Red and Black Notes.

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