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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #59 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Cuba, Colombia, India, the UK. Venezuela, Spain and elsewhere. There are also updates from various union drives in the US including Starbucks where the 100th location voted to unionize this week.

Miguel Díaz-Canel and Nicolás Maduro at the opening of the XXI ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana, May 27 -- Image via Twitter

May 24:

The leading union group in Chad on Tuesday called for an indefinite strike from Wednesday demanding the immediate release of six opposition activists detained following violent anti-France protests.

The Union of Unions of Chad (UST), which represents public and private sectors workers, "decided to stage an indefinite strike... across the whole country with a minimum service for hospitals," it said in a statement.

June pay strikes at Carlisle's Crown Bevcan factory will hit summer supplies of cans of Coca Cola, Heineken, Brewdog, Magners and Bulmers, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 24 May).

Around 200 workers, who have already taken two days of strike action over a three per cent pay offer, will strike on 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 June.

The tin can production workers are seeking a pay deal that reflects rising living costs.

With a unanimous 10-0 vote Tuesday, workers at the W. 6th location of Starbucks in downtown Cleveland will officially form a union, becoming one of the first two locations in Ohio to do so.

Workers at the W. 6th location were the first in Northeast Ohio to declare their intent to unionize, filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board in January. They wrote a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Smith, outlining a series of grievances related to their employment during the pandemic and explaining their desire for collective bargaining.

"We see unionizing as the best way to achieve true partnership, beyond just the title of 'partner,'" the letter reads. "Through this union, we are committing to our goals of improving our own work lives, establishing equity and equality within our store and the company, and doing our part to move the company forward. By signing onto these principles, Starbucks can prove itself as a partner alongside us in this commitment."

May 25:

Socialist Alternative led a sit-in yesterday, May 25, in the lobby of Chuck Schumer’s office in Manhattan demanding an immediate end to the filibuster and the codification of Roe v Wade into law. The feeling in the room was angry and energized. Rather than send anyone from Senator Schumer’s office to talk to us, the police were called instead. We continued demonstrating, making it clear we won’t accept any more excuses. Showing the anger of young people in particular at Democratic inaction, 7,750 people tuned in to watch the live stream of the sit-in on TikTok! The demonstration ended with a public discussion about next steps for the movement, including building for an action conference this Saturday.

"What is your approach to Sweden's (and Finland if you'd like to comment also) NATO membership process? Why are you against it?

As communists, we oppose the strengthening of every imperialist alliance. This applies to NATO as well, in particular as it is the strongest imperialist alliance in the contemporary world.

The reasons for our opposition are many.

First of all, the process represents a great threat to the peoples in the Nordic and Baltic regions, because the military attention of the competitors of the Swedish bourgeoisie will be more clearly directed against us.

Secondly, a membership will mean that young people in our own land will face greater risks being sent abroad to defend the interests of the Swedish bourgeosie in particular and the common interests of the bourgeoisies of the member states in general.

Thirdly, this represents a strengthening of the position of the Swedish bourgoeisie in the imperialist system. The Swedish bourgeoisie is small but active, with great interests abroad. Amidst sharpening contradictions within the imperialist system, it is necessary for them to take greater steps in securing these interests.

May 26:

In a near-unanimous vote, workers at a Starbucks in downtown Birmingham voted to join the Workers United union Thursday, becoming the first Starbucks in Alabama to do so.

The final tally of the union vote was 27 for unionizing, with one voting against it.

“That was not the turnout I was expecting, to be honest,” Sydney O’Neal, a barista at the store, said. “That is much bigger — and that is probably one of the biggest ones I’ve seen — for Starbucks unions.”

Several dozen Chipotle workers from across New York City rallied with elected officials and other supporters including the CLC in Midtown on Thursday after striking this week for a $20 minimum wage and better scheduling practices at the national fast food chain.

“Enough is enough,” Dashea Pringel, 35, told Gothamist ahead of Thursday’s rally. She’s worked at a Chipotle in Harlem for the last two and a half years and for half that time, and said her manager had ignored her requests to be made a full-time employee. “I'm a single mother who takes care of two boys. I have a whole apartment to pay for rent,” she said. “I'm just tired of living check to check, trying to keep food in my house.”

On Thursday, Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez ratified President Nicolas Maduro's administration's interest in strengthening investments and cooperation with Eurasian nations.

On Thursday night, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Havana to participate in the 21st Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) to be held on May 27.

Senior Party officials of Vietnam and Cuba have agreed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, regular meetings and exchanges between the two Parties and countries vividly demonstrate their special friendship.

Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member and permanent member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee held online talks with Roberto Morales Ojeda, Politburo member and permanent member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Central Committee on May 26.

This morning, democratic socialist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed all thirteen candidates for state office whose campaigns are backed by the New York City Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA).

Endorsements by AOC, whose approval can transform a campaign’s prospects, are often treated as mysterious koans — puzzled over by political insiders who ponder why she chose one candidate and overlooked others, why she used to make so few endorsements, or why she now makes so many. Today’s announcement is unburdened by any such ambiguities: AOC’s endorsement reflected solidarity with NYC-DSA’s platform and movement, against the forces of capitalism and reaction both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

The long-running Wealden bin strike is set to continue until at least 11 June after GMB members turned down the latest pay offer from the company today [26 May 2022]

GMB Union yesterday arranged a meeting with Biffa – who employ the refuse collectors – with employment adjudicator ACAS present.

No agreement was reached and the resulting offer was turned down by 98% of the workers this morning - so the strike, which has been ongoing since April 25, will carry on.

May 27:

In support of demands raised to control the sky-rocketing prices of all essential commodities, mitigate flood and erosion problem, resolve the burning unemployment problem, the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) and two more leftist political parties have jointly initiated a series of week-long agitational programmes.

Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of Venezuela, one of the nations the United States has excluded from the Los Angeles Summit of the Americas along with Cuba and Nicaragua, took the floor this morning during the XXI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Treaty of Commerce of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP).

He noted that participants Havana Summit had shared an "intense, open and frank debate" on the path forward for Our America, at this stage, a dialogue among equals.

The XXI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) is meeting today in Havana.

The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, received the presidents, prime ministers and high-ranking leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia, who will participate in the official meeting.

Participants gathering at the Palace of the Revolution in the Cuban capital will analyze the regional situation and the group’s potential to work together, based on the capabilities and strengths of each nation, reported Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

Defying their Party's official policy, two communist lawmakers in Russia's far east Primorye region on Friday expressed their disagreement over the imperialist war in Ukraine and called President Vladimir Putin to end the military campaign.

“We demand the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. We demand an end to military action”, legislative assembly member Leonid Vasyukevich said during Friday’s session. Vasyukevich, a member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), said continuing Russia’s three-month campaign in Ukraine “would lead to an imminent increase in military deaths and injuries.”

630 members of IndustriALL affiliate Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers are on strike at Glencore’s Raglan mine in Canada over the extensive use of subcontracting and a lack of respect from the employer.

A demand for genuine respect from Glencore is a major issue for the union members, who often work eleven-hour shifts, for 21 consecutive days, at the isolated, fly-in/fly-out nickel mining operations in Nunavik.

The increased use of subcontractors, who work under inferior conditions at Raglan Mine, is another key issue in the labour dispute, and on 27 May, the 630 unionized workers went on strike.

The staff of the Jewish Museum in New York have officially unionised, according to a post published on the museum’s social media on 26 May. In March, staff at the museum held a vote through the National Labor Relations Board to form the Jewish Museum Union. The results consisted of 71 in favor of unionisation, with two opposing votes and four challenged ballots.

The bargaining unit at the newly formed union will consist of approximately 90 full and part-time workers and includes both professional and non-professional staff across multiple departments, including curatorial, retail, visitor services, art handling and more. Workers there have already elected a bargaining committee and are working on developing contract demands.

May 28:

Communists from Spain, Greece and Turkey joined their voice against NATO and the imperialist war in a political event organized by the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain (PCTE) on Saturday 28 May in Madrid. In a fully packed hall at Centro Cultural El Madroño, under the slogan “Their Wars, Our Dead”, the participants denounced the criminal role of NATO and claimed the disengagement of their countries from the imperialist organization.

Representatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) were invited and attended the event, delivering speeches on behalf of their parties. The KKE was represented by Giorgos Marinos, MP and member of the Political Bureau, while the TKP was represented by Ekin Sönmez, Central Committee member and responsible for international relations.

Tripura’s former Chief Minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Politburo member Manik Sarkar on Saturday appealed to the people of working class to build up intense resistance against the reactionary forces sponsored by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) across the state.

The two-day long state conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Tripura unit had begun with an open session in front of Rabindra Satabarshiki Bhavan here in Agartala city on Saturday noon. This conference is being attended by 400 delegates from every nook and corner of the state.

Tobago’s public servants are expected to intensify their protest action against the Government’s two per cent wage offer sometime this week, PSA industrial relations officer, Tobago region, Hayden Duke, said on Saturday.

On Friday, hundreds of workers, led by the heads of their respective unions, took to the streets of Port of Spain to demand that the Chief Personnel Officer Dr Daryl Dindial revisit his counterproposal of two per cent for the period 2014-2021.

May 29:

In an historic turn for the Colombian Left, leftist candidate Gustavo Petro of the Pacto Histórico por Colombia (PHxC) won the most votes in the first round of Colombia's Presidential elections placing well ahead of second place real-estate tycoon Rodolfo Hernández.

Petro took 40.44% of the vote while Hernández took 27.99%.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) informed that this Sunday an international day of actions is being held for the end of the economic and genocidal blockade imposed by the United States (U.S.) on the Caribbean country.

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) convened a consultative meeting at the office building of the Party Central Committee on Sunday.

Kim Jong Un , general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, guided the meeting.

Attending the meeting were members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and members and alternate members of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee. Also, present as observers were officials of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

May 30:

Members of the Left parties staged a sit-in protest in front of NTR District Collectorate here on Monday demanding that the government take steps to rein in the spiralling prices of essential commodities.

Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary K. Ramakrishna, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State secretary V. Srinivasa Rao Ch. Babu Rao, Donepudi Kasinath, Donepudi Sankar, Polari Harinath, Sudheer, Qader Basha, D V Krishna Koteswara Rao, and others addressed the gathering.

The Statement Released to the Media by Imdad kazi, SG CPP on the Current Political Situation in Pakistan.

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