Spotlight News 4/5/2016

French Dockworkers Announce 24-Hour Strike to Coincide With National Protest Today

Dockworkers joined a national protest against a proposed labor reform bill in France today, halting all cargo ferry transportation from the ports of Cherbourg, Le Havre, and Ouistreham. The strike is expected to last 24 hours, with normal port operations resuming on Wednesday. The protest in France caused minor disruptions to ground transportation in Paris, but attendance in the most recent event appears to have been lower than in previous national strikes. However, another nation-wide protest is planned for Saturday, April 9, and both dockworkers and air traffic controllers may launch complimentary strikes. 

Parliament in Cambodia Votes to Approve New Labor Law, Union Protest Becomes Violent

Cambodia’s lower house of parliament voted to approve a new labor law that many union representatives claim will threaten their members’ rights. All 67 members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in the house voted in favor of the law, while 31 opposition members voted against it and claimed there was not sufficient time to adequately review all of the law’s provisions. The full text of the law, which the Cambodian government developed over eight years, has not been widely released, and it remains unclear when officials will actually begin implementing the law’s provisions. Following the vote, a major international human rights advocacy group stated the law’s provisions are contrary to international standards.

The parliament’s vote to approve the law came shortly after a protest by dozens of union members outside the parliament building became violent. Small clashes reportedly occurred when authorities moved to disband the protesters. The union and NGO concerns over the recently passed law underscore the Severe threat to human rights in Cambodia. The violent protest seen over the vote furthermore highlights the Elevated threat of man-made disruptions in the country. The number of strikes in Cambodia has risen significantly in recent years as workers launch more labor stoppages over grievances including their pay and working conditions.

Air Traffic Controllers and Dockworkers Plan Strikes in Greece on Thursday and Friday

Air traffic controllers in Greece announced a 24-hour strike set to begin Thursday, April 7 in protest of pension cuts and other austerity measures implemented by Greece under a bailout program. All domestic flights, including both passenger and cargo flights, are expected to be cancelled. Additionally, a dockworker union is calling a strike for Friday over similar issues, including pension cuts and the planned privatization of national seaports. The dockworker strike appears to include all seaports within the country, with severe disruptions expected at the port of Piraeus in particular.