Friday, March 24, 2006

Welcome to Dubai, twinned with Gdansk

After workers downed tools at Dubai International Airport in solidarity with workers on the Burj Dubai, the authorities are taking measures to browbeat them into giving up the main activists amongst them, while mollifying them with token gestures.
Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Bakhit told Khaleej Times:
 "In my opinion, the workers do not know what exactly they want. The company has increased their salaries with ratio active affect, from the month of February; even this was not one of their demands."
Isn't that sweet. What is the quantum of the change? Will it improve their working conditions? Will it restore their passports?
Before moving on to standard divide-and-rule tactics:
"We have intervened immediately and asked workers who are willing to continue working with the company to sit a certain place and those who does not want or have demands. Unexpectedly, all of the workers and not even a single one revealed intention of not working," he said adding, "What could be the cause behind this protest and making up a mess except that there was some who are motivating these workers to do that."
Yes, those dastardly trouble-makers. Obviously they're to blame.
At the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, workers were outraged and the sacking of Anna Walentynowicz, a popular crane operator and well-known activist, became a spark that pushed them into action[3].

On 14 August, the shipyard workers began their strike, organized by the Free Trade Unions of the Coast (Wolne Związki Zawodowe Wybrzeża). The workers were led by electrician Lech Wałęsa, a former shipyard worker who had been dismissed in 1976 for stirring up trouble and demanding higher pay, and who arrived at the shipyard on 1100 of the 14th August. The strike committee demanded rehiring of Anna Walentynowicz and Lech Wałęsa, raising a monument to the casualties of 1970, respecting of worker's rights and additional social demands.

Although government censorship spoke little about sporadic disturbances in work in Gdańsk, the transmissions of Radio Free Europe penetrating the Iron Curtain and spreading grapevine gossip ensured that the ideas of the Solidarity movement spread very quickly throughout Poland.

Though the authorities in Dubai have been bright and not allowed the workers back onto the sites, thus preventing them from occupying them. And of course, were Lech Walesa a young Keralan working in Dubai today, he would have been put on a flight home long ago...


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