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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Castillo wins: Red Review #9 -- International Left and Labour News

The ninth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Mexico, Greece, Canada, Cuba and elsewhere. There is also a special section devoted to news from Peru where leftist Pedro Castillo won the presidential election.

June 5:

The leadership body of the Los Angeles teachers union is expected to vote in September on a resolution that would urge the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel — a move that has sparked internal debate, drawn praise and scorn from the outside, and diverted some of the union’s focus from post-pandemic education issues.

In June 2020, Yachiyoda Alloy Wheel Co. Ltd dismissed 32 union members affiliated to Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT), because the unionists refused to follow the company's instruction to apply for the 62% remedy fund when the company's operation was suspended for 4 weeks in May and June 2020. In September 2020, the company terminated the employment of 5 union leaders including Pichetsak Kansorn, Sakchai Sritanai and Sarawut Sunornkum, accusing the union of instructing its members to contaminate wheel products in a furnace. The union refuted the unfounded allegation. The company insisted it didn’t want a union.

June 6:

The preliminary count (PREP) conducted by Mexico’s electoral authority gave President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party MORENA, together with its coalition parties, control of the lower house of Congress but fell short of securing a supermajority.

The estimate by the National Electoral Institute (INE) gave the coalition of MORENA, Partido del Trabajo (PT), and Verde, between 265 and 292 seats of 500 in the lower house, but the ruling party alone received between 34.9% and 35.8% of the vote.

According to official preliminary results released on Monday, Mexico's ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party and its allies will take nine of the 15 governorships that were in dispute in the elections held on Sunday.

The Canadian arm of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal has over the weekend reached tentative agreement with five locals of the United Steelworkers Union, representing about 2,500 striking workers in northern Quebec, on terms for a new collective agreement.

June 7:

Almost eight million people were registered until today in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), after three days of starting the updating process for the November elections.

According to official figures at the end of Sunday, seven million 700 thousand people throughout the country received their membership cards or renewed their data in order to be able to vote in the elections of November 21.

Wine Rack’s unionized workers began a strike Monday in the Toronto area after failing to reach an agreement with the company.

Close to 40 labour organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of workers from across Canada, have added their names to an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging the Government of Canada to immediately suspend bilateral trade of all arms and related materials with the State of Israel.

June 8:

Despite strong government backing, the proposed law has drawn fierce criticism from a range of Venezuelan leftwing and grassroots organizations.

Communist Party (PCV) Deputy Oscar Figuera, who was the only to oppose the bill in its first reading, described the proposed law as a “slap in the face of our people’s sovereign and independent development” on his Twitter account, as well as pointing out FEDECAMARAS’ (Chamber of Business and Commerce) and FEDEINDUSTRIA’s (Chamber of Industry) support of the project. Both guilds have applauded the “fiscal benefits” and “cheap labor” the law will promote.

Former general secretary of the Homeland for All Party and leading member of the Popular Revolutionary Alternative, Rafael Uzcátegui, likewise took aim at the proposed law, claiming that “the PSUV’s silence [in the debate] is proof of its shift to neoliberalism.”

Close to 40 labour organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of workers from across Canada, have added their names to an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging the Government of Canada to immediately suspend bilateral trade of all arms and related materials with the State of Israel.

One of the founders of a new green, left-wing political party says they want to transform the Irish State to "bring about the conditions for eco-socialism".

June 9:

School custodians, trades, and mechanics represented by CUPE 2972 and the Interlake School Division in Gimli, Manitoba have ratified a new collective agreement.

Members of Unifor locals 112 and 673 at De Havilland Aircraft Canada voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if a fair settlement is not reached in ongoing negotiations with the company.

“A strong strike mandate is crucial to ensuring our negotiations are successful,” said Scott McIlmoyle Unifor Local 112 President, which represents 165 active De Havilland workers at the plant. “With a 97 per cent result, our members have made it clear to the company that they stand firmly behind our bargaining committee and the proposals put forward by the membership.”

June 10:

Manitoba nurses voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action as hospitals struggle to keep up with the demand from patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With nearly 12,000 votes cast — the highest ever in the history the Manitoba Nurses Union — members voted in favour of the strike, with an average of 98 per cent support across the province's five health regions, the union stated in a news release Thursday.

LCBO workers have voted to accept the three-year tentative agreement hammered out by their bargaining team. In the face of draconian cuts initially tabled by the employer, the team did a great job beating back significant concessions.

June 11:

AAA insurance sales agents across Northern California have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 665. The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) via mail-in ballot and votes were tabulated today.

Party work to support meeting objectives that are key to the country’s future was the focus of discussion during working meetings held in Ciego de Avila and Camagüey, chaired by Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Republic. The goals addressed iincluded making progress on strategic programs, including monetary re-ordering, confronting COVID-19, consolidating unity within the party ranks, and developing a systematic approach to the public agenda in the media and knowledge of history. In a detailed analysis, the President noted opinions expressed on social networks urging Cuban authorities to sit down with the United States and put an end to differences. He went on to say: "This is a totally unilateral relationship. It is the U.S. government that has taken measures against Cuba. We have not applied any measure whatsoever against that country. If one thing is clear, it is that we will always defend sovereignty, self-determination and independence, these are not on any negotiating table.

The general strike on 10/6 paralyzed Greece, as thousands of workers participated in the biggest strike of the past years and attended the rallies of trade unions, federations and labour centres. They sent the message that the workers, through their struggle, can cancel the anti-labour government bill, consigning it to the dustbin. The mass rallies also sent a message of immediate continuation and escalation of the struggle, shouting out loud “Hands off the 8-hour working day”.

Peruvian Elections:

In a political shift of seismic proportions both for the country and the region, leftist Pedro Castillo appears to have won the presidential election in Peru though his opponent is now using the far right/Trump playbook to try to overturn the results.

The losing candidate in Sunday’s presidential election in Peru, Keiko Fujimori, has begun the process to appeal for the nullification of 802 voting stations, which her campaign says is equivalent to 200,000 votes.

In particular, Fujimori’s team will go after the votes obtained by her rival in the center and south of the country and in areas where teacher Pedro Castillo obtained a high number of votes. This will include efforts to invalidate votes in Cajamarca, Ancash, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Arequipa, Cusco, Moquegua, Puno and Tacna. If successful, hundreds of thousands of Peruvians will be stripped of their right to elect their President, allowing Fujimori to reverse the numbers in order to steal the election.

Peru’s Pedro Castillo has thanked Presidents Luis Arce, Alberto Fernández, and Daniel Ortega, during an address to his supporters this evening in Lima. The three heads of state publicly recognized Castillo as President-elect of Peru on Thursday.

Peru’s Ministry of Defense has published a statement today responding to calls on social media for an Armed Forces to stage a coup against Pedro Castillo if he is to be declared winner of the presidential election.


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