Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(WWW) When workers walk!

When workers walk (www) is a weekly round-up of some of the actions workers around the world are taking or proposing to take to defend themselves. It is drawn heavily from LabourStart and various left wing and socialist magazines such as Socialist Alternative in Australia or Socialist Worker in the UK. There was some very useful information too on the World Socialist Web Site.
If you know of any workers’ struggles going on anywhere in the world let me know and I’ll post it if possible on my next weekly round-up. I also welcome corrections and clarifications from readers.
One message comes out of these struggles for me. We can fight back and we can win.

French works will go on a general strike on 19 March against the economic policies of President Sarkozy. The last one, in late January, had 68 percent support from the French people.
Sony workers at Pontonx-sur-l’Adour in the Landes region of southwest France bossnapped their head of human resources for 24 hours, demanding better redundancy arrangements.
As a consequence, the company and State are in negotiations with the workers and their union, the Confederation Generale des Travailleurs.
Bossnapping is becoming popular in France.
The most popular opposition figure in France is Olivier Besancenot from le Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (The New Anti-Capitalist Party.) He is a trotskyist with politics similar to mine.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions had asked its member unions to ballot for a general strike from 30 March over increasing unemployment and wage cuts and the Government’s failure to consider the ICTU’s ten point social inclusion plan, including taxing the rich more.

The private sector peak union body GSEE has called a 24-hour nationwide strike for 2 April.

Teachers in Suriname, after months of strikes and other activities, have won backdated major pay increases - up to 45 per cent.

Workers at a drinks factory called Nushab have been on strike since 2 March over not being paid for five months and to force the employer to pay their yearly bonus.
After a seeming settlement and agreement to pay the back wages and bonuses over time, the boss tried to renege. The workers are on strike again.

Last Monday workers at three ports went on strike over pay and conditions , including a 35 percent increase int eh minimum wage which has remained static for thirty years.

Oil workers have threatened to strike if the Government does not improve security for them within the next 2 weeks.

Trinidad and Tobago
Laid off workers from the Tobago House of Assembly blockaded roads and set fire to tyres and rubbish to protest against their sackings and the Chief Minister’s promise before January elections that no one would be sacked.

Thousands of workers protested on Saturday in Tokyo against job losses and for real wage increases.

In Kathmandu about 500 women unionists demonstrated on International Women’s’ Day for equal rights and equal pay.

In Cebu, workers at the Keppel Shipyard in Lapu-Lapu City called off their planned strike after management deferred sackings for talks.

Sri Lanka
Ceylon Electricity Board workers are threatening to shut down all electricity supplies in the country to stop the Government’s attempts to privatise the organisation.

Road transport workers in Turkey are battling to belong to a trade union. In one case a 3 month picket is in place to win back the jobs of sacked unionists. International support has helped win recognition in other companies and, given their determination, the workers are confident they will win in this case too.

There have been a number of garment worker demonstrations (Azam Knitting, Gem Garments) recently over wages. The demonstrators have received assurances they would be paid and their wage levels looked into.

Teachers in Punjab have protested against forced transfer. If the State does not stop forced transfers the teachers say they will organise further protests.

Sacked Pacific Bonds factory workers have been striking and demonstrating across Australia over the threat of losing their jobs in the next 18 months as the company moves all production offshore.
Workers at the Azko Nobel metal coating factory have been on strike for over a week for a pay increase. They have had no pay increase for almost 2 years and management is arguing the current economic crisis makes it impossible to offer them an increase.
Teachers in NSW who missed out on a pay increase awarded recently held a stop work last week. They plan further action if their claim for pay increases is not met.

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