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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #36 -- International Left and Labour News

The thirty-sixth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Cuba, India, the USA, the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties and elsewhere.

Bank workers strike against bank privatization in India, December 16 -- Image via Twitter

December 12:

A Vietnamese delegation led by Nguyen Thi Hoang Van, Vice Chairwoman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, attended an extraordinary teleconference of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) held on December 10-11.

The Cuban statement to the Extraordinary Teleconference of the International Meeting of the Communist and Workers Parties.

A look at the statements and action pledges of the extraordinary teleconference International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held this past weekend. "The revolutionary overcoming of capitalism and the construction of a new society, freed from exploitation, are a demand for today and for tomorrow."

December 13:

Offshore Alliance members on the Northern Endeavour FPSO vessel have overcome fierce employer resistance to win the right to collectively bargain.

The Offshore Alliance is a formal partnership between The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Offshore Alliance members work for UPS, the principal contractor on the Northern Endeavour, which is located in the Timor Sea about 550km northwest of Darwin, in water ranging from 350m to 410m deep.

Demanding an increase in minimum wage, thousands of Anganwadi workers participated in a massive rally in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The agitated workers sought a minimum salary of Rs 21,000 per month and Rs 10,500 for Anganwadi workers and complained about the state government's alleged apathetic attitude towards their various demands.

Energized by the unionization vote win in Buffalo, N.Y., workers at two Starbucks cafes in Boston filed on Dec. 13 for union representation elections. And even as the Buffalo ballots were mailed in November, Starbucks workers in Mesa, Ariz., filed, too.

Workers United, the Service Employees sector that won recognition in Buffalo, filed all three union recognition election petitions, the National Labor Relations Board reported.

Staff at Big Cartel, an e-commerce platform for creative businesses, are the latest tech workers who have chosen to be represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Tech Workers Union Local 1010.

Today, Big Cartel's co-founders voluntarily recognized Big Cartel Workers Union through a card-check process. Contract negotiations between management and Big Cartel Workers Union will begin in January 2022.

December 14:

The US Department of Labor has launched a whistleblower investigation into Apple, in the latest sign of tensions between the famously secretive company and its current and former employees spilling over into public view.

Commuters have been warned of major delays on Sydney Trains again on Tuesday as rail workers strike amid a dispute with the New South Wales government over foreign-made vehicles.

The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said workers decided to take the further protected industrial action over the state government’s “continued refusal to come to deliver on key safety, hygiene and privatisation asks as part of the current Sydney and NSW Trains enterprise agreement negotiations”.

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) workers, members of the Unison union, were back on strike at Portway and Oldbury Leisure centres on 14 December.

This was the fourth one-day strike since March 2021, when SLT 'fired and rehired' all 280 staff in in order to remove them from national pay, terms and conditions.

December 15:

Food delivery couriers working for Stuart Delivery (a subsidiary of DPD Group and a subcontractor of JustEat) are into their second week of indefinite strike action in Sheffield.

Picket lines of striking drivers (members of the IWGB union) and supporters have blocked six McDonald's, one of Just Eat's biggest clients, from 5pm to 10pm every night. Dozens of drivers are refusing to take orders, Just Eat services have been shut down several times, and drivers in nearby Chesterfield have now joined the strike. The IWGB say this is the biggest continuous food delivery app strike in UK history.

The drivers are striking because their pay has been slashed by up to 24% just weeks before Christmas as fuel prices and inflation are rising.

Workers at Beast Breaker developer Vodeo Games have unionized, creating the first certified video game studio union in North America. Vodeo management voluntarily recognized the union, which includes both full-time employees and contracted workers.

CUPE 1004 peer workers employed by the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) have successfully concluded negotiations that will give them the same rights and privileges as all workers covered by the provincial collective agreement for the Community Health subsector throughout B.C.

The ground-breaking agreement features a significant wage lift along with benefits including extended health, municipal pension plan coverage, protected seniority rights, and provisions for occupational health and safety, vacation, sick leave, and many more.

December 16:

Labor unions led by the Greek Communist Party staged a protest during a parliamentary budget debate Thursday to demand a return of wage and pension levels that were axed during three successive international bailouts.

Maharashtra will see a major hit in banking services on Thursday and Friday as close to 60,000 bank employees from various Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have started a two-day nationwide strike. The bank strike is against the government's decision to privatize two more state-run banks. Approximately 5,000 bank employees will demonstrate at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Thursday.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of its 105 million workers from 133 countries of the 5 continents expresses its internationalist solidarity with the two-day national strike in banks on December 16-17, 2021 against the government’s bill on the privatization of two public sector banks.

Indian Government’s intransigent policy leads to the selling off of public wealth for the benefit of big capital. The Banking Privatization Bill proposed by the Modi’s Government constitutes one more attack against the people’s interests and is taking place in the framework of the unacceptable National Monetization Pipeline plan. Public sector banks are running with people’s money and the Bank Sector workers will never accept this catastrophic, anti-people, and destabilizing policy.

The International class-oriented trade union movement stands on the side of the Bank Sector workers and their just struggle which is fully aligned with the interests of popular strata and the people of India. We join our voice with the strikers, stating that the bill should not be introduced in the ongoing winter session and we demand the recovering of huge bad loans of corporate companies and the termination of all privatization plans. The Indian working class has proved several times its determination and decisiveness opposing the anti-people policies. We reiterate our undivided support and solidarity. Hope lies in our struggles.

December 17:

Sawant had faced a recall effort. King County Elections on Friday officially certified the Dec. 7 recall election, showing Sawant narrowly prevailing with 50.4% voting “no” on the recall question and 49.6% people casting “yes” ballots.

Sawant, a 48-year-old economics professor, is the longest-tenured council member in Seattle.

More than 250 waste collection workers employed by Republic Services in the San Diego area have gone on strike after bargaining sessions over a new contract bogged down.

The sanitation workers are members of Teamsters Local 542 and collect refuse at various locations across San Diego County. The union members authorized the strike on Wednesday and walked off the job Friday, forming picket lines.

The union that won a landmark vote at a Starbucks Corp. location in Buffalo, N.Y, last week is trying to overturn an unsuccessful vote at another area store.

The labor group, Workers United, urged the National Labor Relations Board in a filing late Thursday to reject the results of the failed union vote, saying that Starbucks waged a “shock and awe” campaign to intimidate workers. It filed an identical complaint for a store where the election results are still in question.

450 sanitation workers at Republic Services’ waste hauling yards in Anaheim and Huntington Beach, Calif. – members of Teamsters Local 396 – ratified new collective bargaining agreements today after striking for seven days to protest Republic’s violations of federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights. The company’s illegal behavior included making unilateral changes without bargaining and threatening to retaliate against employees who participated in union activity.

The two contracts will cover workers through 2025 and include significant wage increases, among other improvements.

The Sudanese Communist Party considered that the presentation of the draft political declaration proposed by the Forces of Freedom and Change for the remainder of the transitional period is an attempt to gain time to complete the passage of the “soft landing”* project.

The political secretary of the party, Muhammad Mukhtar al-Khatib, described putting forward initiatives and pacts ahead of the “millions” marches as an attempt to destabilize the rising popular protest movements, which had clearly raised the slogan “no negotiation, no bargaining, no partnership, and no legitimacy.”

The Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) is analyzing a proposal to rescue the sugar industry, once the main source of income for the country, with years of contraction nowadays. The 3rd PCC Plenary Session, which is taking place for the second day on Friday at Havana's Convention Center, is debating a program of 93 measures to relaunch the industry, its by-products and the generation of electricity by sugar mills.

Over 20,000 employees and engineers of the Power Development Department (PDD) have decided to go on an indefinite strike across Jammu and Kashmir opposing the alleged “privatisation” of grid stations.

December 18:

Sen. Bernie Sanders praised striking Kellogg's workers for their "incredible courage to take on corporate greed" during a rally on Friday near the company's headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan.

"During this pandemic, you were the people who helped feed America," Sanders said. "You're looking at people who work 50 days in a row, 60 days in a row. I talked to somebody who worked 120 days in a row and those, as I understand it, weren't even eight-hour days. 12-hours days, 16-hour days. That is insane!"

Even as the Kellogg Co. and the union representing its cereal plant workers jointly announced a tentative agreement to put an end to the months-long strike at the company’s four U.S.-based cereal plants, workers at a rally in Michigan criticized the deal in a hint that the strike could continue even longer.

“It’s a Trojan horse that’s been given to us that’s going to allow us to basically harm ourselves down the road,” said Trevor Bidelman, a mechanical technician at the Battle Creek plant and the president of the local union, at the rally.

Union members will vote over the next few days. Results are expected Tuesday.

A large number of women workers of a company near here, which assembles and manufactures smart phone spares, resorted to a flash protest, blocking the busy Chennai-Bengaluru highway that led to traffic snarl on Saturday.

The protest, which also spilled over to two other locations, affecting traffic on the Chennai-Tirupati route as well for sometime, was called off after the intervention of authorities.

The background to the workers’ protest that lasted for about 11 hours since late Friday night is a fallout of food poisoning, that affected workers staying in a company provided accommodation at suburban Vellavedu in Tiruvallur District.

Some trade unions, including the Trade Union Congress and International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network Nigeria, have teamed up to stop unfair labour practices against app-based drivers in Nigeria.

The trade unions, which also included Solidarity Center and National union of Professional App-Based Transport Workers, announced this in a statement on Friday in Lagos after a strategic meeting aimed to addressing problems faced by app-based drivers.

Jacqueline Wamai, ILAW Regional Coordinator, said that the collaboration between the bodies became necessary to protect and defend the welfare and rights of Uber and Bolt app-based drivers in Nigeria.

December 19:

The Basque neighborhood of Bilbao La Vieja was on Sunday the scene of the third edition of "Kuba Eguna", Cuba Day in Euskal Herria, to express solidarity with the Caribbean island and condemn the blockade of the United States.

Forty-four employees of a Valenzuela firm who were arrested on Wednesday night for going on strike were released from jail after 36 hours, their lawyer said yesterday.

Luke Espiritu, who represents the workers, said his clients were charged with illegal assembly, disobedience to a person in authority and alarm and scandal.

The city inquest prosecutor previously ordered the city police to release them pending further investigation.



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