top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #30 -- International Left and Labour News

The thirtieth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Canada, the United States, Sudan, Greece, the UK, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Communists rally in honour of the 104th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Moscow November 7 -- image via twitter

November 1:

Dimitris Koutsoumbas, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), was in the northern Greek town of Nestoria to inaugurate a museum that commemorates the communist resistance during World War II and the guerillas of the subsequent Civil War.

"These essential workers organized despite the COVID-19 pandemic and have now ratified their first contract with Teamsters Local 396. This is a major step forward for them and their families. Under this contract, many workers in this bargaining unit will immediately receive a raise on average of between $3.00 and $8.00 per hour. Over the span of the five-year contract, worker wages will increase between 16 and 26 percent, in addition to having full family healthcare, and significant contributions into the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension. This group of essential workers have truly demonstrated the grit and tenacity that all Teamsters have."

November 2:

Despite the US blockade against Venezuela, the socialist government led by President Nicolás Maduro has been carrying out a successful mass vaccination drive against COVID-19

More than 140,000 drivers are getting $60 million in tips that were illegally withheld by Amazon (AMZN.O) between 2016 and 2019, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the agency sued the tech giant and its subsidiary, Amazon Logistics, alleging the company failed to fully pay tips that drivers in its Amazon Flex program had earned.

November 3:

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) reiterates its historic condemnation of US government’s efforts to take on the role of the world’s policeman and judge which it exercises today through the recurrent practice of illegally applying its national laws beyond its borders in flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of other countries.

Unite the union today (3 November) hailed a ‘massive win’ in a wage deal for around 100 working on the Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) contract for offshore contractor Petrofac.

Last week, Unite entered negotiations with Petrofac where the company agreed to re-instate the 10% salary reduction made in 2020, and also to remove the one-week ‘clawback’ which is a week extra worked without any increase in wages, with effect from 1 November 2021.

The new offer which equates to a 17% increase in salary was accepted by 100% in a 93% ballot turnout. The workers are employed on the Ninian Central, Ninian South and Tiffany platforms.

The John Deere members of the United Auto Workers union has rejected a tentative deal to end their strike against farm equipment manufacturer Deere & Co.

The UAW announced Tuesday night that UAW John Deere members voted down the agreement by a vote of 45% yes to 55% no.

November 4:

Portugal’s president announced Thursday that he is dissolving parliament and calling a snap election for Jan. 30, following the minority Socialist government’s defeat in a key vote on the country’s spending plans.

Commerce unions and workers in Poland will take to the streets on 4 November to demand better trade union representation, decent pay, work-free Sundays and measures to address chronic understaffing and high workloads.

The protest, which will take place in the capital Warsaw, is being organized by UNI Global Union affiliate Solidarnosc.

On Thursday, 4 November, 2021, thousands of workers took part in mass rallies in Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, and numerous other cities in Greece, organized by trade unions, federations and labor centres. The rallies will continue in the coming days.

More than 400 first-level and second-level trade unions are intensifying their activities with the aim of escalating and shaping a large strike front across the country. In this direction, they focus on the demands of the working class for Collective Agreements with wage increases, for protection measures in the workplace, for 7-hour working day – 5 days a week – 35 hours a week, for securing the Sunday holiday, for the protection of trade union action. Fronts of struggle that conflict with the core of the anti-labour measures of all governments and especially with the recent anti-labour law of the ND government.

A KKE delegation, headed by D. Koutsoumbas, General Secretary of the CC of the KKE, attended the rally in Athens which took place outside the parliament.

Union leaders representing more than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente workers, including nearly 27,000 in Southern California, have given management a 10-day notice of their intent to strike beginning Monday, Nov. 15 over what they claim are proposed wage cuts for new and existing employees.

A Kaiser spokesman said wages for current employees won’t be cut, although incoming and future workers will adhere to a different wage scale.

The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7600, which represent 7,400 employees across 72 Kaiser Permanente locations in Southern California, were joined by the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) and the Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals in filing 10-day notices Thursday.

Catholic Health System and the union representing about 2,500 of its workers announced a tentative agreement Thursday night on a new four-year labor contract that will end a 35-day strike that idled many services at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo, put about 2,000 workers on the picket line and strained the region's other hospitals in one of the most significant walkouts to hit Western New York in recent history.

Bus, truck and covered van owners called an indefinite nationwide strike from Friday in protest against the fuel price hike.

Convenor of Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tank Lorry and Prime Movers Owners and Workers Coordination Council Md Rustom Ali announced their decision on Thursday following an emergency meeting of the organisation.

Leaders of the organisation said the government raised the toll of Bangabandhu Bridge and Muktarpur Bridge from 257 per cent to 300 per cent "illogically" on November 2 and then it raised the prices of fuel, said a press release.

November 5:

COSCO workers in Piraeus port welcomed the news that the company accepted most of their demands.

The executive board of the Workers’ Union, at around 22.30 of the 4th of November, informed the workers who were on shift at that time as well as those who were finishing their shift about the first victories achieved by their struggle. For their part, the workers responded with a prolonged applause.

As stated by Markos Bekris, the president of the ENEDEP trade union (Container Handling Workers’ Trade Union at the Piers of Piraeus) “With our organized struggle, the 7-day strike, and the solidarity expressed by the entire working class, we forced the company to accept most of our demands. Now we have gained experience, we have a strong trade union and we know how to wage the struggle”.

Thousands of builders demonstrated their determination to continue the struggle for the signing of Collective Agreements with substantial wage increases and improvement of working conditions, carrying out mobilizations in Athens and other cities of the country, as part of the 24-hour strike on Thursday 4/11.

In a meeting with the employers, the strikers raised their demands for Collective Agreements and other institutional issues. A second meeting is expected soon to provide them with answers.

Giannis Tasioulas, president of the Builders Federation, said that the struggle continues in the workplaces and underscored the need to strengthen the militant spirit, to increase the pressure on employers, so that they sign Collective Agreements with substantial wage increases.

After a months long protest and two-week hunger strike, New York City taxi drivers won major concessions from a City Hall that had conspired with banks to mire them in crushing debt. The agreement represents a huge victory for working people over powerful industry leaders.

A group of mine workers from Alabama who have been on strike for some seven months were arrested Thursday outside the New York City headquarters of BlackRock, the largest investment management company in the world.

Six members of the United Mine Workers of America were arrested during a rally outside BlackRock, the largest shareholder of Warrior Met Coal, the $1.2 billion firm that operates several coal mines in Alabama.

1,300 HelloFresh warehouse workers in California and Colorado are unionizing to address traumatic workplace injuries, horrific working conditions, and low pay.

The meal-kit giant, which promises convenience and comfort to its customers, forces warehouse workers to stay on the assembly line even when they have severe injuries caused by their unsafe work environment. One worker’s foot was crushed by a 300 pound pallet. Several more have broken arms and legs.

Today, Republic Services sanitation workers, who are members of Local 270 in New Orleans, are on strike in response to the company’s efforts to cut wages for some of its longest-tenured workers and widespread equipment failures. The unfair labor practice (ULP) strike represents Republic workers’ latest effort to hold the company accountable to better working conditions and fair pay at its New Orleans facility.

Striking workers held signs that read, “Republic Services: Clean Up Your Act.”

Peru has confirmed a new moderate-left cabinet, three months after President Pedro Castillo’s lineup led by the ruling communist party leader Guido Bellido crumbled amid political uncertainty.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This result is a clear vote of no confidence in the so-called leaders of our universities, with staff telling them in no uncertain terms that they have had enough of pay and working conditions being run into the ground.

'UCU members have yet again beaten the Tory anti-union laws. Alongside our pension ballot result, this means we have a big mandate to take strike action, at a time of our choosing.

'It is scandalous that university vice-chancellors on overinflated salaries seem to think doing nothing on pay, casualisation and inequality is acceptable in a sector awash with money.

'We truly hope that disruption can be avoided, that is what staff and students alike all want. But this is entirely in the gift of employers who simply need to end their attacks on pensions, pay and working conditions and finally demonstrate they value their staff.'

The New Brunswick government is using the province's COVID-19 state of emergency to force striking health-care workers back to work at midnight Friday.

Public Safety Minister Ted Flemming told an afternoon news conference that cabinet was using the Emergency Measures Act to issue the order.

A majority of employees of the Cargill meat processing plant in High River have voted in favour of taking strike action as the union accuses the company of doing little to advance negotiations.

November 7:

Nearly 100 teachers have been arrested in Sudan as two days of civil disobedience and strikes in protest at last month’s military coup began.

A teachers’ union said security forces had used teargas against its members outside the education ministry building for Khartoum state, where 87 were arrested and many were beaten.

CAMPAIGNERS and former Cop negotiators put the United Nations “on trial” yesterday for failing to deliver climate justice over more than two decades of organising the leaders’ conference.

At a symbolic “People’s Tribunal,” on Sunday, the United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was found guilty of multiple climate crimes.

The tribunal was held as part of the People’s Summit, a counter-conference running alongside the official summit in Glasgow.

Delegates to the CWU’s special conference have voted to suspend donations to the national Labour Party above the union’s affiliation fee.

The CWU tweeted: “CWU Conference has just carried a motion which sets a new political strategy for the union. In short – less money and support to Westminster Labour. More to Labour MPs, Mayors, Councillors and candidates who have our members backs.”

In the by-elections in four Assembly constituencies in West Bengal, the CPM, the key stakeholder of the Left Front, performed better comparing to the recent Assembly elections but the ally parties continued to suffer sharp fall in their vote shares.

When the CPM candidate’s vote share was 19.57 per cent in the by-poll in Shantipur constituency ,which was nearly 15 per cent higher than the performance in the 2021 Assembly polls, LF’s other allies like Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Forward Bloc (FB) failed to stop erosion in their vote bank.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the New Brunswick government are at an impasse as the strike moves into its 10th day.

Premier Blaine Higgs said Saturday that he was shocked the union didn't accept an offer his government presented last week.

Steve Drost, CUPE New Brunswick president, said Sunday the union sent the province a counter-offer on Friday, but has yet to receive a response.

Drost said there are no plans for the two sides to meet.

November 8:

On Monday, Nov. 8, the historic St. Vincent Hospital nurses strike will reach the eight-month mark, another sad milestone in their struggle against Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit corporation that has spent more than $100 million and engaged in a number of unfair labor practices to retaliate against the nurses for exercising their right to advocate for safer patient care. The strike is the longest nurses strike in state history, and one of the longest of several strikes by workers across the nation, who are standing up to corporate greed and the devaluation of essential workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People from different walks of life paid their last tribute to communist leader and renowned doctor MA Karim at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on Sunday.

Karim, the president of the National Democratic Front, was tested positive for Covid-19 on October 26 and died at a hospital in Dhaka on Thursday. His body was taken to Central Shaheed Minar for public viewing.



bottom of page