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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

IWD 2022 : Red Review #55 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Cuba, France, Greece, Cuba, Venezuela, the USA, Swaziland and elsewhere.

There is also a special section related to International Workers' Day 2022

Cubans rally in defense of the revolution and socialism on International Workers' Day, Havana 2022

April 24:

Press release of the Party of Labour of Austria, Vienna, 24 April 2022

On 23 April 2022, the Party of Labour of Austria (Partei der Arbeit Österreichs, PdA) held its fifth party congress in Vienna, which had been postponed by two months due to the Corona pandemic. The motto of the congress was "Clarity and unity strengthen the party!". The participants recapitulated and discussed the political development and party activities since the last party congress in December 2019 and decided on guidelines as well as planned projects and goals for the period until 2024.

Of central importance in terms of content are the political resolution "Against capitalism, war and crisis! Socialism instead of barbarism!" as well as the programmatic-ideological resolution under the congress motto. Resolutions were also passed for the future trade union and youth work of the party. Other motions dealt with the imperialist war in Ukraine, the socialist liberation of womenand the relationship between ecology and revolutionary class struggle. In the spirit of internationalism, declarations of solidarity with the peoples and fraternal parties of Cuba, Palestine, Sudan and Swaziland were adopted. Conversely, a large number of greetings from communist and workers' parties from all over the world reached the party congress and were brought to its attention.

In addition, the delegates elected a new Central Committee, a control board and an arbitration court. Subsequently, the Central Committee will appoint its working sections, including the organisationsecretariat as well as the international commission. Tibor Zenker was confirmed as party chairman, Otto Bruckner was re-elected as his deputy.

The most important documents and decisions of the party congress will be published within the next few days.

April 25:

Twenty-two workers at the 1209 N. Charles St. location were eligible to vote Monday -- 14 voted and they all voted in favor of unionizing. The votes were counted over Zoom at a watch party inside the Hotel Indigo.

The most important time for Starbucks employees in Lakewood and Long Beach seeking to unionize is underway.

Both stores began the voting process Monday as ballots were sent out. The votes will be tallied on May 13, and the outcome could bring Southern California its first unionized store in what's now a nationwide movement.

Communist party and its partners in Madhya Pradesh have demanded that action should be taken against people who were part of the Ramnavmi procession in Khargone that was taken out without permission and were with weapons.

A fact finding team consisting of state secretary of Communist Party (M) Jaswinder Singh, member secretary Kailash Limbodiya, secretary Indore CL Sarawat, CPI secretary Rudrapal Yadav and state secretary of Rashtriya Janta Dal Swaroop Nayak visited Khargone on 25 April and interacted with riot hit people and prepared a report on reasons that led to communal riots on Ramnavmi in Khargone.

Teamsters Local Union 362, which represents approximately 7,000 workers throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories, has filed an application with the Alberta Labour Relations Board to certify a vote for union representation at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Nisku, Alberta.

This is the Teamsters’ second attempt at forming a union at the Amazon site in Nisku, after a failed attempt last fall, due to not reaching the required threshold of signed cards as a result of a discrepancy regarding the number of employees working at the site.

Teamsters is confident it has surpassed the threshold required under provincial rules that at least 40 per cent of employees are in favour of forming a union and will be awarded a representation vote.

April 26:

Venezuela is forgiving Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remaining PetroCaribe debt in full. The announcement was made on Tuesday by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves upon his return from Venezuela, arriving on Conviasa’s first weekly flight between Caracas and St Vincent.

“Venezuela has given us 100 percent relief on the remaining debt to PetroCaribe, which amounts to approximately EC189 million dollars. Petrocaribe will be restarted with a discount of 35 percent on the price of fuel in participating countries”. The move could see SVG’s national debt fall by 9%, according to the Prime Minister.

Approximately 160 Unifor Local 1859 members at auto parts manufacturer THK Rhythm Automotive ratified a collective agreement today, ending a three-day strike at the plant.

“Thanks to the strength and solidarity of our union members, the community and support from across the province, Unifor Local 1859 members fought for and won a fair contract,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “I would like to congratulate our members on a successful ratification and thank the union’s bargaining team for their hard work and determination throughout the negotiations.”

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), visited the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery on Mt Taesong on April 25, the 90th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army.

Accompanying him were Pak Jong Chon and RiPyongChol, members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretaries of the WPK Central Committee, Ri Yong Gil, minister of National Defence of the DPRK, and commanders of the large combined units of the Korean People's Army (KPA).

April 27:

Workers at a St. Paul Starbucks have voted to unionize, making them the first store in Minnesota history to do so. Results from the union election at the Snelling Avenue store were announced today, with a final tally of 14 to 1 — elections at four other metro-area stores will follow in the coming months, as the nationwide Starbucks unionization wave continues to gain momentum. Minnesota Starbucks workers will unionize with Workers United, an affiliate of the Services Employees International Union.

April 28:

With Labour Day on 1 May fast approaching, the Flemish socialist Vooruit party is launching a proposal to impose an additional tax on all companies that make excess profits, which would generate €1 billion for the state treasury.

The extra €1 billion will go to the state treasury, which can then flow back to the consumer. “That way we shift part of the war bill to those who have the buffers to absorb it,” party leader Conner Rousseau told Het Nieuwsblad.

The Left parties staged a protest here on Thursday against the Delhi civic bodies' anti-encroachment drives, alleging that the ruling BJP and the RSS are pursuing "destructive bulldozer politics" and creating an environment of hate in the name of removing illegal constructions.

Nearly 100 people belonging to the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) gathered at Jantar Mantar, demanding the Centre to put a stop to such activities.

Left parties on Thursday attacked the government over its move to float the LIC IPO alleging that it was a "scam" and a "sell-off".

The CPI in a statement said it was a part of the "privatisation spree" of the government.

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D Raja said it was a matter of regret that the BJP-led NDA government is selling off all national assets through monetisation policy and privatisation of public sector units.

He said it was a "tragedy" that those long-term assets are being sold to collect revenue to meet the current expenditure.

April 29:

Employees at two Southern California Starbucks locations initiated a vote to form a union this week, with employees seeking to improve working conditions at the internationally-known coffee shops. Workers at the locations — at Redondo and Seventh Street in Long Beach, and at Rowland and Citrus Ave. in Covina — sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz outlining their intent to form a union that, if approved, could have sweeping effects for other unionization efforts at corporate restaurants in Southern California. At the very least, they would become the region’s first unionized Starbucks.

France's Socialist Party on Friday suspended talks aimed at uniting centre-left and hard-left parties ahead of parliamentary elections in June, in a sign of the hurdles the left faces as it tries to challenge newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron will need a majority in parliament to implement his policies. In recent French legislative ballots, the president's party has always secured a majority.

The IndustriALL affiliated Paperiliitto led an inspirational strike against the company’s attack on union rights and employment conditions. The 2,200 members resisted the strike breaking efforts of management, with the strong industrial action receiving significant solidarity support in Finland and internationally.

The conflict was resolved with both parties accepting a final proposal of the National Mediator. Under the proposal, five separate collective bargaining agreements are signed, one for each industrial segment of the company, with a duration of four years and salary renegotiation after two years.

The Swaziland royal police on Thursday 28 April 2022 abducted three youths, among whom was a 15-year-old school learner. The police in Swaziland are known to torture democracy activists in police cells and impose trumped up charges on them.

The abductions happened at Ngudzeni constituency in the Shiselweni region, south of Swaziland, following democracy demonstrations there.

Intent on concealing their crimes, the police used South African “GP” registered bakkies to harass residents the entire day while abducting others and forcing them to write affidavits incriminating them on the burning of a Ngudzeni government building yesterday.

Most youths from the area are now seeking safety in the bushes following the continued police harassment. Some sustained injuries but cannot go to hospitals in fear of arrest and torture by the police.

April 30:

Partners at a Starbucks location in Boone have reportedly voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing, becoming the first store in the Carolinas and in the Tar Heel State to have a certified union.

In a statement shared on Saturday, Starbucks United Boone announced members at the Blowing Rock Road location voted 33-2 in favor of unionizing. The union said partners formally declared intent to join the nationwide Starbucks Workers United movement on April 4, with votes in an election finalized on April 30.

May 1:

The Coalition of Progressive Electors has a new rival on the left side of the political spectrum in Vancouver.

Today (May 1) at 12:30 p.m., a new party called VOTE Socialist is being launched in Grandview Park.

“This year, Defund the VPD will be on the ballot," party member Noah Poursartip said in a news release. "Tax the Rich will be on the ballot. Renters' rights will be on the ballot. A clear, socialist choice will be on the ballot.”

May 2:

France's Greens and the party of far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon reached an agreement Monday to join forces against newly reelected President Emmanuel Macron ahead of next month's parliamentary election.

Both parties agreed not to compete against each other in the two rounds of voting on June 12 and 19.

Mélenchon leads the La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party and he came in third in the first round of last month's presidential election. He is now hoping for a comeback in the upcoming legislative elections as the head of what he hopes will be a coalition of leftist parties who have spent the past five years in Macron's shadow.

A majority of Amazon workers voting to determine whether to form a union at another New York City warehouse have voted against unionising, following the upstart Amazon Labor Union’s stunning victory in a union election in April, the first ever within the company.

Workers at the LDJ5 facility in Staten Island voted 618 to 380 against forming a union, according to a vote count by the National Labor Relations Board on 2 May.

The votes represent 998 workers out of the more than 1,600 eligible voters at the facility.

“The organizing will continue at this facility and beyond. The fight has just begun,” Amazon Labor Union said following the vote.

IWD 2022:

For the first time in three years a mass rally was held in Havana to celebrate International Workers' Day.

Under the slogan Cuba Vive y Trabaja -- Cuba Lives and Works -- many tens of thousands came out to show their support for the revolution and Cuban socialism.

On this May Day, the International Day of Working Class Solidarity,


Warmly greets the workers and all toiling people in the world, who have been fighting to protect and to regain their hard won rights and benefits under severe attacks by the big capitalists and their agents in governance

Welcomes the increasing urge for unionisation among the working class worldwide, particularly the young workers and the surge in global working class struggles including in the USA, the bastion of capitalism

On this May Day

CITU notes the commendable way the socialist countries – China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and Laos, which are committed to the welfare of their people and have strong public health infrastructure – addressed the pandemic and protected the lives and livelihoods of their people. In stark contrast, millions of people lost their lives to the pandemic in advanced capitalist countries including the USA, where corporate profits are the governments’ priority, and public health infrastructure is nominal, despite having the scientific and technological wherewithal to deal with the pandemic. It was mostly the workers and the poor, who could not access private health care, who died

THOUSANDS of trade unionists marched and rallied across Britain today to mark International Workers’ Day, celebrating those who have fought back against bad employers.

Workers marched in London, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and in dozens more towns and cities over the weekend, with more events planned Monday.

The TUC demanded more rights for employees, but said that where workers were uniting and fighting, victories are being won.

Metro trains ground to a halt and ships were docked in ports as thousands of workers joined May Day rallies in the Greek capital to protest against soaring energy and food prices.

Gas and power bills have surged, with price rises exacerbated by sanctions against Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, taking inflation in Greece to multi-year highs.

Police estimate that some 10,000 people marched in central Athens and gathered outside the Greek parliament over the cost of living that they say is becoming unaffordable.

Following a couple of years of limited actions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Berliners took to the streets on Saturday to launch this year's May Day protests and festivities.

A feminist demonstration marched under the slogan of "Take back the night" protesting violence against women. German news agency DPA estimated that around 2,500 people were taking part in the march, accompanied by a heavy police presence.

Hundreds of protesters also took part in various other activities around the city on Saturday, including protests against rising rent, and the planned opening of a new police station in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg.

The MAS government has reached an agreement with the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB) for an increase to the national minimum wage and for salaries for all workers, effective May 1st, as the country prepares to celebrate International Workers Day.

The national minimum wage is set to increase by 4%, while workers already earning above minimum wage will benefit from a 3% raise. President Luis Arce and the COB made the announcement this week at the Casa Grande del Pueblo following a meeting between the President, Ministers and the COB, headed by COB executive secretary Juan Carlos Huarachi.

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in French street demonstrations as May Day marches sent a “message” to Emmanuel Macron that he must consult citizens more during his second term, and reverse plans to raise the retirement age or face protests.

“There will be a fight over pensions, that’s clear – battle has been declared,” said the leftwing CGT trade union in Toulouse. Trade unionists, environmentalists and parties on the left, as well as yellow-vest anti-government protesters, marched in cities across the country – on what is also known as fête du Travail (Labour Day) in France – demanding a rise in pensions and salaries and an end to Macron’s plan to gradually raise the pension age to 65.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) salutes workers of Swaziland and the world in the May Day rallies organised all over the world in honour of the struggles and victories waged in the workplace and to some greater degree in the streets in defence for workers’ rights and improved welfare of the working people and their dependants.

Workers and the working-class people in Swaziland are yet to achieve full rights for trade union existence and free trade union activity. The right to organise and belong to unions is still thwarted by the dictatorship illegally in power. Under the Mswati autocracy and its tinkhundla government, trade unions are not allowed to operate freely. Trade union rights are an integral part of the freedoms and rights which our people have been denied since the 1973 decree which banned political parties and organisations.

Thousands of unionists, activists and socialists gathered at Sydney Town Hall yesterday to commemorate the labour movement and the fight for fair working conditions. Led by Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey, the May Day parade featured speeches and chants before marching through the city to NSW Parliament House.

May Day marks the date that Victorian stonemasons went on strike for better working conditions while building the University of Melbourne in 1856. They became among the first in the world to secure the eight-hour workday as a general industry standard, and inspired similar strikes internationally.

Workers descended on Queen’s Park Sunday for a May Day rally, one of 20 such protests organized across the province.

The event was arranged by the Ontario Federation of Labour as part of a drive to push its worker-focused agenda up the priority list for political parties before June 2’s Ontario election.

“We’re advancing our vision for the Ontario we need and mobilizing to win it,” Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President, said in a statement.

May 1 is International Workers Day, although Labour Day is officially celebrated in Canada in September.

Thousands of essential workers, union leaders and community organizations gathered Sunday afternoon at several locations in downtown Toronto, including Queen's Park, for rallies calling attention to issues impacting workers on May Day.

Gaibrie Stephen, an emergency physician who spoke with CBC News at Grange Park, said health-care workers have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic and are tired of seeing the impact of precarious work and workplace issues and their impacts on people.

"Workers have been fighting for paid sick days for a long time, we know that this is a basic measure that improves people's health," Stephen said.


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