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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #42 -- International Left and Labour News

The forty-second edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from the USA, Canada, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Jeremy Corbyn honours those killed on Bloody Sunday, January 30, 2022

January 24:

Leading members of the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) have reiterated calls for judicial authorities to arrest opposition politician Juan Guaidó.

The calls were made during a ‘Democracy Day’ march held on Sunday to commemorate the overthrow of the Marcos Pérez Jiménez dictatorship on January 23, 1958. At the event, President Nicolás Maduro told supporters that “it is taking some time to bring justice [against Guaidó], but justice will definitely come.”

The NDP has gotten around to issuing a statement on the situation regarding Ukraine and it is predictably disingenuous and awful.

January 25:

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed new unfair labor practice charges against Amazon Monday, alleging the company violated their settlement agreement with workers at the Bessemer fulfillment center by “creating the impression of surveillance” and issuing a warning to one worker during break time who discussed the union with his co-workers.

Workers at a Starbucks coffee shop in Baltimore City’s Mount Vernon neighborhood recently announced that they were organizing their workplace, joining a swell of labor action in different sectors by workers who have been emboldened amid worsening workplace conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workers are demanding better wages, better working conditions, and scheduling stability from the corporate giant, which markets itself as a pioneer in corporate and social responsibility. They have sought representation through Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that’s helping to unionize Starbucks workers around the country.

Workers Party President, Ted Tynan, has condemned the recent escalation of the US-backed and Saudi Arabian-led war on Yemen, a small, impoverished country in the Arabian Peninsula, where tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or injured, millions have been displaced, the healthcare system seriously damaged and where much of the population stands on the brink of famine. In recent days, the Saudi-led coalition has intensified its attacks, leading to further death, injury and destruction. US President Biden continues to support the Saudi-led coalition comprising the deeply reactionary Gulf monarchies. The British and US governments have armed, supported and logistically assisted Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their attacks on Yemen.

Not content with creating untold deaths, misery and destruction in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, the US, together with its allies, is now determined to destroy Yemen, regardless of the cost to its people. This is the contemptible consequence of capitalist predation and imperialist aggression.

January 26:

DoorDash Inc. agreed to settle a Fair Labor Standards Act wage suit involving thousands of delivery drivers across the country over their alleged misclassification as independent contractors rather than employees, according to new filings in California federal court.

The notice of settlement was submitted Tuesday to Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The deal’s terms haven’t yet been disclosed.

A group of workers has met the requirements to hold a union election at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Labor Relations Board confirmed on Wednesday, paving the way for another high-profile labor battle at the online retailer.

NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado wrote in an email that group of workers, known as the Amazon Labor Union, had "reached a sufficient showing of interest." In order to hold an election supervised by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, unions must show that they have gathered signatures of support from at least 30% of workers who are eligible to vote.

January 27:

In a fairly shocking turn of events, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) has made a top-down deal with Uber in Canada that seems to position them as a company union and in which they seem to have agreed to promote Uber's attempts to promote their "Flexible +" labour law "reform" campaign.

With apparently no vote by Uber workers themselves of any kind, the UFCW says in a press release that they have "hammered out a historic national agreement that provides over 100,000 drivers and delivery people on the Uber platform with strong representation and supports government reforms to provide drivers and delivery people new benefits and preserve the flexibility of their work."

Honduras will be restoring relations with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the incoming government of Xiomara Castro, as the left takes power in Honduras for the first time since the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya in the 2009 US-backed coup.

Venezuela has taken the first step to reestablish its relationships with Honduras, with the arrival of the official delegation sent by President Nicolas Maduro to participate in Thursday’s presidential inauguration ceremony.

Poorly paid bus drivers in a rural Mississippi school district went on strike last Friday morning and by the end of the day, they had won an hourly pay raise of at least $5, lifting their wages to $20 an hour.

The strike happened after the Jefferson Davis County school board authorized paying $25 per hour to drivers hired on an emergency basis, Magnolia State Live first reported Wednesday.

January 28:

On the agreement between some trade unions and employers union. No to flexibility in the name of Covid. Let's strengthen class-oriented trade union currents.

In order to supposedly deal with absences due to the pandemic, the employers have concluded an agreement with the CSC (Christian trade union) and the CGSLB (liberal trade union) on more flexibility (the FGTB - left trade union - said no), which means more exploitation for the workers. While the employers have already benefited from the covid unemployment system - workers lost wages and the state supported part of the wages - they will now be able to more easily use extra staff in companies, including temporary unemployed (who will keep the status of temporary unemployed and the reduced pay), temporary workers, pensioners, student jobbers and asylum seekers.

It is time to stop the Pandora's box that has been open for too long.It is a trend towards the erosion of the open-ended contract and the fixed working time that has been going on since the 1980s, when the CCT (collective agreement) 42 introduced the principle of flexibility.

This flexibility, adopted in the name of Covid, is part of a wider project of the employers on a European scale against workers' rights. Thus, in a statement of 3 January 2022, the Communist Workers' Party of Spain analysed the new labour reform adopted by the social-democratic government in consultation with the employers and the main trade unions. The new labour law reforms economic unemployment for more flexibility demanded by the employers. This flexicurity, encouraged by the European Union, within the framework of the 750 billion euro "covid" recovery fund, called "NextGenerationEU", was approved in Spain in a social pact signed by the trade union leaderships and which reinforces the role of the state as guarantor of the survival of the monopolies and organiser of the precariousness of workers. Whether in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium or elsewhere, capital through its institutions such as the European Union is on the offensive everywhere. It wants to apply the "Greek treatment" to us, to crush the workers and the social beneficiaries for the greater profit of the multinationals.

These social pacts are a step backwards for the workers, let's strengthen the unions that oppose this regressive policy and let's push for action. Let us strengthen the currents of class struggle against capitalism.

January 30:

In the last couple of weeks workers at Starbucks locations in Baltimore, Michigan and California have joined those in Cleveland, Chicago, Tennessee, Colorado, Arizona, Boston and Seattle in seeking to unionize.

Portugal's ruling Socialists won Sunday's early election by a wide margin but may still fall short of an outright majority while the far right made huge gains, exit polls showed.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa's party received between 37 percent and 42.5 percent of the vote, compared to between 27 percent to 35 percent for the main opposition centre-right PSD, according to the polls for TV stations RTP, SIC and TVI.

That would give the Socialists 100 to 118 seats in the 230-seat parliament, up from 108 in the outgoing assembly.



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