Greece: a new wave of fightback
January 24 2012
Socialist Worker (UK)
Workers in Greece’s Attica region, which includes Athens, are fighting austerity. Their strike last week was in solidarity with people losing their jobs and facing unpaid and cut wages.
Rank and file workers addressed strike rallies. Their speeches were broadcast by workers occupying the Alter TV station.
Workers at Intracom, a large telecommunications and defence company, also began a rolling strike last Tuesday which is continuing.
And steel workers continue to strike.
There are increasing numbers of workers with confidence to take action.
It is politically significant.
The Greek government is in negotiations with banks over organising a “haircut” (partial write-off) on its bonds.
They say this will cut Greek debt. But it’s designed to save the banks, again.
There is now a push from below for a general strike in the first week of February.
The trade union leaders are holding back because they are negotiating with bosses over collective bargaining rights.
But the way it is developing we’ll have more strikes and a united response to the attacks.
Panos Garganas is editor of Workers Solidarity
Monday, January 30, 2012
Greece: a new wave of fightback
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
China Labor Bulletin
16 January 2012
A three day strike by several thousand workers at an automotive plant in the south-eastern province of Jiangxi has reportedly forced the provincial government to intervene and suspend plans to restructure the company.
China’s fourth largest automotive company, the Chang’an Group, based in Chongqing, had planned to transfer the vehicle production license of its subsidiary Chang He Auto in the Jiangxi city of Jingdezhen to a new joint-venture with Japanese car maker Mazda. However, the plan was not discussed with either the local government in Jingdezhen or the workers’ congress at the plant, and as such it provoked a massive worker protest when it became public knowledge.
Workers feared that the cancellation of the production license at the factory (currently joint-owned by another Japanese company, Suzuki) would lead to job losses and poorer pay and conditions.
After negotiations between Chang’an, Chang He, the provincial and municipal governments, it was agreed that there would be no major changes at Chang He at present. The company would continue to consult with the government and employees, and any major changes would have to be approved by the workers’ congress. The company stressed that if the workers had any other issues, they could communicate them through formal channels.
Some reports claimed the concessions were sufficient to end the protest, while other reports claimed many employees were still on strike.
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Monday, January 16, 2012
STATEMENT dated 2.12.2011
CENTRAL TRADE UNIONS DECIDE FOR COUNTRYWIDE GENERAL STRIKE ON 28.02.2012
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (Indian Workers' Union), Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha (Workers Assembly of India), Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre, All India Central Council of Trade Unions, United Trade Union Congress, Trade Union Coordination Committee, Labour Progressive Federation, Self-Employed Women's Association of India
The Central Trade Unions, in a meeting congratulated the mass at the working people for their massive response to the programme of countrywide Jail Bharo (Satyagraha) of 8* November 2011 jointly organized by Central and other Trade Unions of India.
The Central Trade Unions also convey their appreciation to the- independent All India Federations of the employees and workers for their active wholehearted Support to the call of countrywide Satyagraha/Jail Bharo.
The Central Trade Unions noted with serious concern that despite several rounds of united protests by the entire trade union movement of the country, the Govt has remained totally unresponsive to major concerns of the working people Rather anti-people moves are being taken to further aggravate the rise in prices through frequent hike in power tariff, urea etc., besides complete decontrol of petrol prices. Existing labour rights including right to form union are sought to be curbed and social security and pension are under attack through various legislative and administrative moves. Mass scale contractorisation of the regular work Is continuing in all the workplaces inducing in PSUs and Govt. establishments, Contract workers are not being paid in most of the places even the statutory minimum wages Disinvestment of shares of Public Sector Units Is being actively pushed through by the Govt. to facilitate phased privatization of the highly profit-making PSUs .
The Central Trade Unions also expressed serious concern over the flaring up of the rampant corruption all around and huge black-money-generation in the economy resulting In widespread popular discontent and disgust over the Issue of corruption. The CTUOs demand concrete legislative and administrative measures and change in the economic policy regime to eradicate and prevent corruption and bring back the black money stashed abroad.
The Central Trade Unions reiterate the most pressing demands of the workers highlighted by the Jail Bharo/Stayagraha agitation on 8th November 2011:
While reiterating the five point demands formulated jointly by the Central Trade Unions and Federations for
1) concrete measures to contain price rise
2) concrete measures for linkage of employment protection with the concession/incentive package offered to the entrepreneurs,
3) Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
4) universal social security cover for the unorganized sector workers without any restriction and
5)Creation of a National Social Security Fund with adequate resources in line with the recommendation, of NCEUS and Parliamentary Standing Committees on Labour, Stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State PSUs,
The Central Trade Unions also demand immediate action by the Govt. of India to ensure:-
1) No Contractorisatlon of work of permanent/perennial nature and payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the Industry/establishment
2) Amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedules and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs 10,000/-,
3) Remove the ceilings on payment and eligibility of Bonus, Provident Fund; Increase the quantum of gratuity.
4) Assured Pension for all.
5) Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of ILO conventions 67 and 96.
To press for the above demands, the Central Trade Unions decided to observe countrywide genera! strike on 28th February, 2012
The Central Trade Unions also urge upon their state committees and all the trade unions irrespective of affiliations to hold state wise and Industry wise conventions and launch immediately other forms of joint campaigns to make the countrywide general strike on 28th February, 2012 a total success.
The Centraf Trade Unions call upon rnass of toiling people end their organizations irrespective of affiliations to join the call for general strike enmasse throughout the country.
Monday, January 2, 2012
30 November 2011
The French Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) backed the public sector strikers in Britain and called for coordinated resistance across Europe. The NPA participated in organising the Coalition of Resistance‘s Europe Against Austerity Conference last month, which was addressed by Olivier Besancenot on behalf of the NPA.
“The NPA stands in solidarity with striking public sector workers in Britain.
Trade unions have called for strike action today, November 30th. They are opposed to the pension plans of Cameron’s government.
These changes to public sector pensions are part of the destruction of social justice and austerity measures implemented by governments all over Europe.
The changes would see retirement age pushed up to 66 in 2020 and to 68 after that; they would considerably increase pension contributions from 6 to 9%, and would see pension incomes lowered by basing them on average instead of final salary.
The government’s attack on pensions is added to the job and budget cuts which are already hitting the public sector. Thousands of protests are planned and this strike will no doubt be the most significant since 1979, hence why head teachers are on strike for the first time in 114 years.
The NPA is in complete solidarity with British public sector workers.
The politics of mass destruction of welfare and social rights is implemented across the European Union, whatever the type of government in charge; across pensions, incomes, health care and the entirety of fundamental rights.
At the beck and call of the financial markets, governments are endlessly repeating the same old line: working people have to pay for the crisis and make sacrifices.
The countries most affected by the crisis, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, have already seen plenty of strikes and protests.
It is vital that the fightback is coordinated so we can act together at the same time across Europe.
This is a matter of absolute urgency.”