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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #13 -- International Left and Labour News

The thirteenth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Bangladesh, Swaziland, India, Venezuela, Chile and elsewhere.

Thousands march against the Visakhapatnam steel plant privatization plan, India, July 10 -- photo via twitter

July 4:

On Sunday, United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Vice President Diosdado Cabello highlighted that 2.5 million militants participated in the nomination process of candidates for the August 8 primary elections.

July 5:

After eight weeks walking the picket line, the union for nurses at the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in Sarnia, Ont. is claiming a victory.

LiUNA! Local 3000 tweeted that an agreement has been reached that "covers all major issues" that prompted the strike.

The recent election for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has cast a spotlight on the united front presented by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party.

However, the CDPJ, the No. 1 opposition party in national politics, did not win as many seats as the JCP. As a result, the two parties are expected to struggle to coordinate their candidates in the upcoming election for the House of Representatives.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects in the strongest possible terms this defamatory campaign by the US government, instigated in concert with America’s most reactionary and corrupt sectors, including extremist groups of Cuban origin represented in Congress by the likes of Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menéndez.

Cuba has a policy of zero tolerance of trafficking in persons in any form and an impeccable record of prevention, combating and victim protection in this field, as recorded at the UN and with other international organizations.

A group of Romanian trade unionists have today completed a four-day rolling protest between Bucharest and Brussels over the low wages forcing their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work.

The “Caravan of Social Rights” made up of 13 members of the Cartel Alfa trade union set off on the journey of over 2,000 kilometres on Friday, stopping in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions.

July 6:

In a statement released July 6, The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) is calling on "all communist and workers’ parties to be alert to and to express solidarity concerning the new situation in our country, as pro-democracy protests are now gathering pace, and as the autocratic regime of Mswati III is clamping down fiercely and bloodily on its opponents."

The recent victories of the left in a number of municipalities and in elections for the Constitutional Convention have set the stage for a categorical rejection of the legacy of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship and the building of a new Chile.

Some 25,000 finance workers went on strike in Tunisia on 5 July and are set to continue industrial action today 6 July. The nationwide strike, which is the first of its kind in the sector, is being organized by UNI Global Union affiliate, the Fédération générale des banques et établissements financiers (FGBEF-UGTT), after negotiations for four new collective agreements broke down.

We the undersigned leaders of major opposition parties are writing to you in deep anguish expressing our intense grief and outrage at the death of Father Stan Swamy under custody.

The 84 year-old Jesuit priest and activist who championed the rights and causes of the adivasis in far flung areas of Jharkhand was jailed last October on trumped up charges under the draconian UAPA and was sought to be linked with the Bhima Koregaon case.

He was denied treatment for his various ailments including debilitating Parkinson's. Only after a nationwide campaign was conducted that even a sipper to drink liquids was made available to him in jail.

Father Stan Swamy, an 84 years old Jesuit priest, left us all, felled by institutional murder. His death is the direct outcome of the corporate-fascist nexus running amok in the country. Falsely labelled as an anti-national, incarcerated for eight months awaiting trial, Father Stan had dedicated his life and work for the fundamental rights of Adivasi people in the country, particularly in Jharkhand. His was one of the loudest voices opposing the loot of land and resources by the State and corporates. Born in Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu, Father Stan chose Jharkhand as his home. A champion of Adivasi life and dignity, his allyship with the community was marked by honesty and dedication.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) said its 30,000 members working in DHBs had voted in favour of three more strikes.

The strikes will be on July 29 for 24 hours, an eight-hour strike on August 19 and another 24-hour strike on September 9.

NZNO lead advocate David Wait said the vote was very high and members clearly remained resolute about ongoing strike action.

The City of Iqaluit has signed a new, five-year deal with the union representing its employees.

The contract was ratified between the city and the Public Service Alliance of Canada on June 29, according to a news release from city spokesperson Lisa Milosavljevic on Monday.

Constituency staff who run the offices of B.C. New Democrat MLAs have voted to strike, after a year of failed negotiations with politicians on a new collective agreement.

The constituency assistants voted 94 per cent in favour of striking in a vote last week, setting up the potential that the community offices of 57 NDP MLAs, including 12 on Vancouver Island, could soon fall behind picket lines.

Mechanics, dispatchers, yard and clerical workers at First Student of Bellport, New York have voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 1205.

"Local 1205 represents hundreds of New York school bus workers, and we're proud to welcome our newest members into our fast-growing union family," said Daniel De Crotie, Local 1205 President.

July 7:

Education workers at New Haven Learning Centre in Toronto are the newest members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 after recently saying “Yes!” to joining the union. The new members work as Instructor Therapists who support children and adults with developmental disabilities. With their specialized skills, these therapists aid clients in their learning and social development.

July 8:

The opposition party Social Green Regionalist Federation (FRVS) is currently one of the forces that back communist candidate Daniel Jadue for the first of Chile's presidential election, scheduled for November.

This decision, announced on Wednesday, was made by this party's extended council with the participation of the teams from the 16 regions of the country where the FRVS is present.

Readymade garment workers in Narayanganj and Gazipur on Thursday blocked three major highways for hours demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.

The roadblocks generated significant tailbacks of up to 10km around the Kanchpur Bridge and the Gazipur highway area, hampering essential services such as ambulances and goods-carrying vehicles.

Alleging unfairly low pay and employer mistreatment, a group of non-unionized workers at Portillo’s — a popular Chicago-based restaurant chain serving hot dogs, Italian beef and Polish sausages — staged a seven-day strike last week.

“All we want is to be treated decently, to be treated fairly, to be paid fairly,” said striking worker Armando Huerta.

A committee of the German parliament responsible for preparing the election scheduled for Sept. 26 decided on Thursday not to allow the German Communist Party (DKP) to run for office. The Federal Election Committee of the German Bundestag, which includes representatives of the extreme right-wing “Alternative for Germany,” ruled that candidates of the DKP will not appear on ballots anywhere in the country. The committee used the late submission of accounts as a pretext for its ban on the Communists.

Our party will fight against these attempts of an indirect party ban: for this, we need your solidarity. We therefore ask for declarations of solidarity from the Communist and Workers’ Parties.

Commenting on the actions of the Federal Election Commissioner, DKP Chairman Patrik Köbele said:

“What is being attempted with that is a cold party ban. We as communists are familiar with this. In 1933, the Communist Party was banned by the fascists, in 1956 by the Adenauer justice. There must be great fear of us that this will now be carried out by bureaucratic means in 2021.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) condemns the unacceptable rejection of the DKP's admission to the Bundestag elections, as well as the revocation of party status. This attempt to ban the DKP on the basis of bureaucratic pretexts reveals the plans of the German bourgeois state to create obstacles to the activity of the communists and the struggle of the working class and the popular strata. This is happening at a time of escalation of the anti-working class attack and the intensification and acceleration of the dangerous imperialist machinations against the peoples.

July 9:

While initial reports claimed workers were taking shelter when they died, new information from workers who jumped from the second and third floors indicates the exits were blocked and there was no escape. Workers who escaped the fire last night also reported that there was another fire at the factory just one week ago.

Unifor Local 4606 has reached a tentative agreement with Northwood on behalf of more than 520 members at the Halifax Campus long-term care facility.

"The bargaining committee worked hard to achieve improvements for these workers, who bore the brunt of the COVID crisis in long-term care in Nova Scotia," said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Linda MacNeil. "They suffered the emotional and physical strain of a deadly outbreak while continuing to care for residents and deserve a fair wage and workplace protections."

Approximately 35 workers who work on the Confederation Line are the newest members of Amalgamated Transit Union local 279 representing workers at OC Transpo, Paratranspo, the Royal Canadian Mint and Alstom. These workers are employees of Alstom Transport Canada and perform infrastructure maintenance and warehouse work on the Confederation line. This work includes guideway maintenance, power technicians, signalling and communications and other duties. They join their colleagues in vehicle maintenance who perform work on the LRT vehicles and are already unionized.

July 10:

At least 52 workers were killed and dozens injured in Hashem Foods Limited factory fire, which broke out at about 5:00pm on Thursday, at Bhulta of Rupganj in Narayanganj.

Communist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Mohammad Shah Alom termed the death of workers as killings.

He lambasted the factory authorities for not ensuring safety of the workers.


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