Three workers at PT Tainan Enterprise, a garment factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, were fired in August 2021, allegedly for joining a branch of the Federasi Serikat Buruh Garment Tekstil (FSB Garteks or Federation of Textile and Garment Workers Union). In May 2022, PT Tainan fired Rahmawati, the next president of the union. Tainan agreed to rehire Rahmawati in November 2022, after government mediators intervened as well as international buyers and IndustriALL Global Union.
Feonirici LLC, a Dubai based investment company, hired Stelix Civils, a construction company in Zimbabwe, to build a 5.4 kilometre long motor racing circuit in Hwange, close to the border of Botswana and Zambia, that they hoped would become the first ever Formula One track in Africa. The company evicted over 100 villagers from the proposed site who then sued to stop the project. The Bulawayo High Court ruled in favor of the villagers in September 2022.
For almost 30 years, oil and gas giant Santos has sponsored the annual multicultural arts festival in Darwin, Northern Territory. After a group of artists, First Nations representatives and philanthropists offered A$200,000 for the festival to cancel the sponsorship in 2023, the company agreed to withdraw.
On April 14, 2022, the UK government signed a £20 million deal with the Rwandan government to accept asylum seekers deported from the UK. Such deportations are typically conducted under contract with charter airlines. Under pressure from human rights groups, many airlines refused to take the contract.
In 2008, Radiant Lagoon Sdn Bhd was granted two palm oil concessions covering an area of 4,400 hectares (10,900 acres) adjacent to Gunung Mulu National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. In 2018, the company began logging the area without obtaining required permits.
Aqua America, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, made an unsolicited $1.1 billion bid in 2020 to buy the sewage system of Bucks County in Pennsylvania. The deal would have been the largest sewage privatization deal in U.S. history. Residents of the county stopped the deal from happening, with the help of grassroots organizations and local county officials.
Shell was given a permit to explore for oil off the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa in 2014. The permit was extended in 2021 by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Affairs. In September 2022, the High Court in the city of Makhanda in the Eastern Cape ruled that the exploration permit was illegal.
Formosa Plastics, based in Taiwan, has proposed to build one of the world’s biggest plastics factory - a massive new $9.4 billion complex in St. James, Louisiana. The plans for the plant are projected to double air pollution in an area with some of the worst air quality in the U.S.
New Zealand’s Supreme Court rejected a giant seabed mining proposal in the South Taranaki Bight, proposed by Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR), in September 2021, following a seven-year-long legal fight by Māori tribes, fisheries and environmental groups. The South Taranaki Bight is home to a recently discovered pygmy blue whale population, critically endangered Māui dolphins and the world’s smallest penguin, the Kororā.
Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto that studies digital threats to civil society, discovered that at least 65 people linked to the Catalan pro-independence movement were targeted or infected with Pegasus spyware made by the NSO Group between 2017-2020. This scandal has led to the firing of Paz Esteban, Spain’s spy chief.
In May 2022, Boeing announced it would be moving its headquarters out of Chicago after a city investigation and a successful direct-action campaign organized by “Boeing Arms Genocide,” a Black-led, youth activist group. Just weeks prior, the organizers also succeeded in blocking the company from getting a $2 million tax break from the city.
55% of Boeing’s revenue comes from weapons sales.
The Court of Appeal, the second highest in the UK, has ruled that it will hear a lawsuit, filed on behalf of 200,000 victims, against Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) for the collapse of the Fundão tailings dam in Mariana city, Minas Gerais state in southeastern Brazil.
Fast food chain McDonald’s has more outlets in France than any other country in Europe. In 2013, there were 1,300 McDonald’s in France that generated €4.4 billion in revenue for the company. After McDonald’s was caught evading taxes between 2009 and 2020, the company agreed to pay the government of France €1.25 billion to avoid prosecution.
Caught red handed
Employees of an Apple sales outlet in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, voted to unionize in June 2022 to become the Big Tech company’s first unionized store in the U.S. This is part of a larger movement across the country, with workers at many companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s expressing their interest in joining a union.
Clover Group’s Brilliant Alliance Thai factory in Samut Prakan province used to manufacture lingerie for brands like Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Victoria’s Secret. Over a third of the workers were women aged 45 and older and many had worked at the factory for over a decade. The owners abruptly shut down the factory in March 2021 and fired 1,250 workers. After a successful campaign, Victoria’s Secret agreed to lend the owners U.S. $8.3 million to pay severance to the workers.
In October 2004, an oil leak from a Shell pipeline caused long-lasting damage and contamination in the village of Goi in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In 2008, a group of affected Nigerians filed a lawsuit against Shell and SPDC, its Nigerian subsidiary, in the Netherlands, with the help of Friends of Earth Nigeria and Milieudefensie. In January 2021, the court ruled in their favor.
In December 2021, residents of the Westside mobile home park in Durango, Colorado, received a notice that their park was up for sale. Although the park residents owned their own homes, they did not own the land on which their homes stood.
Knowing that when mobile home parks are sold, residents often face either eviction or significant rent increases, the residents decided to raise the money to purchase the park themselves.
Tendele Coal opened the Somkhele coal mine in 2007 in the uMkhanyakude district of the South African province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The mine activities have contributed to water scarcity, water contamination, destruction of the local landscape and noise pollution. In addition the company has failed to properly relocate local people despite promises to do so.
Ever since London-based Brazil Iron acquired mining rights in Chapada Diamantina, Piatã, Bahia, in 2011, two Quilombola communities home to 150 families, have been dealing with explosions, water contamination and damage to their crops. Quilombolas are descendents of escaped enslaved Afro-Brazilians that live in Quilombo settlements. Now the company wants to expand operations from 600,000 tons of ore per year to 10 million tons a year.