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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Castillo victorious: Red Review #15 -- International Left and Labour News

The fifteenth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Peru, Cuba, Ukraine, Canada, the UK and elsewhere.

Pedro Castillo officially declared the winner of Peru's presidential election July 19 -- image via Twitter

July 17:

Hundreds of readymade garment workers once again blocked the busy Dhaka-Gazipur Road on Saturday, demanding the immediate release of their salaries and other dues.

The workers of "Style Craft Garment" took to the streets in the morning, disrupting traffic on the busy route. The road soon witnessed a long tailback, causing inconvenience to hundreds of commuters.

The protesters claimed the factory management has not paid them salaries for the past seven months. The factory has some 700 employees and 5,000 workers.

Drivers at XPO Logistics in Trenton, New Jersey made history of their own on Saturday, July 17 by ratifying their first contract, one week after their co-workers in Miami did the same, and the two groups now have their rights and protections in a legally binding contract for the first time.

"For the second time in one week, XPO workers ratified their first contract at XPO despite XPO management saying workers would never ratify a contract," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "These two groups' positive contract votes give other XPO workers the hope that they too can fight and win a more secure future as Teamsters."

July 18:

”Fox News’ editors blurred out the signs at what they claimed were ‘anti-government’ demonstrations in Cuba because they said things like ‘Long live the Cuban Revolution’ and ‘The streets belong to the Revolutionaries,'” MacLeod wrote on his Twitter account. Adding, “taking fake news to a whole new level.”

With this mobilization, the KNE sent the message that “Cuba is not alone” and that “imperialist provocations shall not pass”.

GERMANY’S left-wing Die Linke party came under fire today for voting in favour of banning the German Communist Party (DKP) from standing in the country’s federal elections.

July 19:

Far-right candidate in Peru’s presidential election, Keiko Fujimori, has conceded defeat to Pedro Castillo, after more than a month of making baseless claims of ‘electoral fraud’.

POVERTY alleviation and eradication remain Zanu PF's top priority with the party already having set in motion Government programmes that will ensure Zimbabwe meets the sustainable development goals improving the lives of citizens, the party's Secretary for Indigenisation and Economic Affairs Dr Mike Bimha has said.

Speaking during a virtual interactive discussion between Zanu PF and the Communist Party of China, Dr Bimha said Zanu PF was working towards the attainment of sustainable development goals.

The meeting was organised by the Communist Party of China.

“End the blockade, let Cuba breathe” was the message sent by the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) outside the US Embassy in Athens and the US Consulate in Thessaloniki on Friday 17 July. Members of the Organization wore banners reading the above-mentioned slogan and also lit flares.

With this mobilization, the KNE sent the message that “Cuba is not alone” and that “imperialist provocations shall not pass”.

The members and friends of the KNE gathered at the Eleftheria Park, where Nikos Zacharopoulos, member of the Bureau of the Central Council of KNE, delivered a speech. Shortly afterwards, they marched to the US Embassy in Athens.

After a breakdown in negotiations left Local 174 Safeway drivers, dispatchers, and recycle center workers on the brink of a strike, a late-night recommended agreement was reached and ratified by the members on Saturday morning. The historic three-year agreement addresses nearly every issue identified prior to negotiations, and includes record-setting wage and pension increases, vacation pay, holidays, and many other improvements. The offer passed by all but one in attendance.

After more than a year spent working longer hours and in worse conditions than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Safeway workers entered these negotiations with a long list of critical issues they wanted their new contract to address. They also demanded their new contract reward them for their hard work and for exposing themselves and their families to COVID-19 while Safeway continued making record profits over the past year.

A group of workers at National Rubber Technologies Corp. have threatened to step up protest action until the company provides an acceptable wage and benefits package.

July 20:

Spain’s Socialist government has put forward a bill that will prohibit the glorification of the 1936 military uprising that overthrew the Second Spanish Republic and kickstarted the Civil War and Francisco Franco’s decades-long dictatorship.

The approved draft law for Democratic Memory, which will now move on to Parliament, sets out to protect the victims of the 1939-1975 Franco dictatorship, thousands of which are still unaccounted for.

Western North Carolina workers voiced their demands for a $15 an hour minimum wage Tuesday at the Hardee’s on N.C. 226 South in Marion.

A strike and worker-led rally to demand that Congress pass a $15 federal minimum wage was held in Marion by NC Raise Up, which represents underpaid workers across the South who are fighting for $15 an hour and union rights. North Carolina working people held similar rallies in Charlotte and Durham.

Newsroom employees at the National Post have ratified their first collective agreement six months after voting overwhelmingly to form a union at one of Canada's largest daily newspapers. The deal means newsroom salaries will increase an average of 8.25 per cent over the two-year agreement after years of a prolonged wage freeze. Some employees will see double-digit percentage raises.

National Post journalists can now claim cash overtime, file grievances for binding arbitration, pursue editorial integrity issues, exercise seniority rights, and receive enhanced termination pay and severance in the case of layoffs, among a long list of improvements. Employees with 20 years or more service will have a sixth week of vacation restored.

And, in a first for Canadian unionized newspapers, BIPOC/Diversity job candidates will receive priority in cases of relatively equal candidate interviews and in intern hiring.

Just days before a potential strike, the Region of Waterloo’s top bureaucrat is encouraging workers to cross the picket line, a move the union says amounts to “union busting.”

July 21:

On top of each mattress, there is a sign with each person’s job: woodworker, electrical mechanic, computer technician, nurse, hairdresser. They come from all over — the Maghreb, Pakistan and Brazil — but have lived and worked in Belgium for years. Without official papers, the migrants face social exclusion and lack of access to labor rights and social security. In Belgium, they’re known as “sans-papiers.”

In addition to formal residency, the strikers want clear and permanent criteria for all residency applications, and an independent body to oversee each request.

The strikers are also urging the government to process applications in a timely fashion. Some residency requests spend years making their way through the immigration office before getting rejected, leaving applicants in a prolonged state of legal limbo.

One of the UK's leading unions Unite -- which has over 1.3 million members -- has "declared its belief that recent disturbances in Cuba have at their root cause the inhumane blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba and which adversely effects many countries that wish to trade with Cuba."

LABOUR’S left was in uproar today after the party outlawed four so-called “toxic” grassroots groups – leaving up to 3,000 members at risk of immediate expulsion.

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbot warned that the move “does nothing to help ordinary people, and nothing to fight the Tories,” as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s war on socialists intensifies.

On Tuesday evening, Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) voted to proscribe membership of Resist, Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal, meaning any members or those involved with the groups are likely to be expelled from the party.

July 22:

The strike began at midnight on Wednesday with workers in California, Boston, Las Vegas, Denver and Austin refusing to take orders. Rallies took place across several cities.

Hundreds of workers rallied outside of Los Angeles international airport and at Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco, where drivers blocked the street with cars emblazoned with slogans such as “strike for dignity” and “Uber and Lyft are driving us into poverty”.

The publicly-owned Eastern Mining and Processing Plant, SkhidGZK, has been in crisis for some time and recently halted operations, putting at serious risk the jobs of 8,000 workers as well as the safety of the mines, with potentially devastating environmental consequences.

On 7 July, Atomprofspilka, the Nuclear Power and Industry Workers Union of Ukraine, picketed the ministry of energy in Kiev, demanding immediate solutions to ensure the sustainable operation, maintenance and development of the plant and to preserve the jobs of its 8,000 workers.

Unifor reached a tentative deal with Bell Craft after an eight-month bargaining process involving local unions spread across Quebec and Ontario.

"I give the members and the bargaining committee my congratulations for leading the path on this critical round of telecommunications negotiations, and for securing a deal," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "This past year, people across Canada realized the importance of our telecommunications sector, and the workers who make it run. The strength of our telecom industry is thanks to passionate, skilled, and unionized workers like Unifor's members in Bell Craft units."

July 23:

July 24:

Iraqi Communist Party announced on Saturday its withdrawal from the competition in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 10.

"The atmosphere is not suitable for holding the elections, and there are many confusions in the political process," Raed Fahmi, secretary of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, said in a press conference in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Fahmi noted that financial irregularities and uncontrolled weapons still affect the elections, saying the political parties are "not serious" in achieving the demands of popular protests that broke out in October 2019, and "the upcoming elections are nothing but a change of faces."

The Communist Party linked his disqualification to the prospect of opposition parties securing strong results in September against the ruling United Russia party, which has seen its support drop in polls.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov vowed to appeal the election commission's decision and said Grudinin would remain third on the party's candidate list.

FRED M’membe says the people of Western Province have been humiliated and debased by successive governments.

Western Province is Zambia’s poorest province, with damning poverty levels standing at 82.2 per cent, according to official government statistics.

On the other hand, Lusaka is the most developed province with poverty levels of 20.2 per cent.


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