top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #81 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from Germany, Peru, Kenya, the USA, the UK, Venezuela, Israel, Turkey and elsewhere.

Communists march in honour of the anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Berlin, January 15 -- Photo via Twitter

January 9:

On Monday, January 9, Peruvian security forces brutally repressed an anti-government protest in Juliaca, a city in southern Peru’s Puno region, killing at least 17 protesters and leaving at least 68 others severely injured. The dead included at least two teenagers.

According to reports from local media, Peruvian police and military officers opened fire on thousands of protesters who had occupied the Juliaca airport as a part of nationwide protests demanding the release of former left-wing President Pedro Castillo, the resignation of de-facto President Dina Boluarte, the dissolution of the right-wing dominated unicameral Congress, fresh parliamentary elections, and a new constitution through a Constituent Assembly.

Photos and videos shared on social media networks showed victims bleeding from their heads, with pellet wounds on different body parts, people carrying people with severe injuries on their backs and in their vehicles to help them get to hospitals.

This was the second massacre at the hands of Peruvian security forces in one month of social protests demanding structural changes to the country’s political system. On December 15, 2022, the security forces massacred ten people and severely injured 52 others in Ayacucho, while trying to unblock the local airport which was occupied by protesting residents.

On Monday, January 9, over 7,000 New York City nurses from Mount Sinai and Montefiore hospitals in Manhattan and the Bronx, respectively, went on strike. Nurses, organized by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) are demanding safe patient-to-staff ratios, fair wages, and to maintain existing healthcare benefits.

Nurses, who authorized a strike on December 21 with an overwhelming vote of 98.8% in favor, have been in contract negotiations with hospital administrations across the city. Initially, the number of nurses set to strike was around 16,000, at eight hospitals: NewYork-Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center, and Flushing Hospital Medical Center. However, hospital bosses scrambled to reach tentative agreements with the nurses to avert a strike at all hospitals save Montefiore and Mount Sinai Hospital.

The mood outside of Mount Sinai Hospital, in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was fiery, despite negotiations being tense for the past few days. The picket line swelled with a crowd of hundreds of nurses, bisected by a road of slow-moving vehicles, many honking in support.

In a landslide victory, Yale’s graduate and professional student workers have voted to unionize, marking a historic first after decades of organizing on campus.

According to the National Labor Relations Board’s final tally, 1,860 of 2,039 voters favored forming a collective bargaining unit under Local 33 – UNITE HERE, the graduate student union that has fought for University recognition since 1990.

A donation of historical materials from Unifor Local 199 to Brock’s Archives and Special Collections is now available for students and researchers to explore in the James A. Gibson Library.

The fonds of Unifor Local 199, which was previously the Canadian Auto Workers Local 199 and, before that, the United Auto Workers Local 199, includes records and ephemera dating back to 1937.

From documents and photographs to hockey jerseys and bumper stickers, the collection offers a multi-faceted look at the history of the organization.

Archives and Special Collections Assistant Edie Williams says that in addition to documenting the inner workings of the organization and its role in the labour movement, the collection also gives testament to the role the union played in shaping the history and day-to-day life of those living in Niagara.

Venezuela's Minister of People's Power for Foreign Affairs Yván Gil on Monday rejected the statements made by the U.S. State Department's Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols.

Hundreds of Venezuelan teachers took to the streets to demand higher wages and the restoration of collective bargaining rights, including social and medical insurance.

The nationwide protests began on Monday organized by the United Federation of Teaching (Fetramagisterio) alongside unions from around 18 states. Teachers were joined by workers, administrative personnel, and retirees from the public education sector with demonstrations taking place near education-related government buildings and public squares in city centers.

In Caracas, teachers gathered outside the Ministry of Education to demand immediate answers to their months-long struggle for decent salaries, the full payment of stipulated bonuses as well as the reactivation of the Hospitalization, Surgery, and Maternity (HCM) services and the Institute of Social Welfare and Assistance for the Ministry of Education Staff (Ipasme).

Thousands of teachers protested this Monday in different states of the country in the context of the return to classes. The teachers demanded salary improvements, respect for the collective contract and the repeal of instructions imposed by the National Budget Office (Onapre) to lower the income of public employees.

Pedro Eusse, general secretary of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CUTV), denounced that "the State refuses to discuss the III Single and Unitary Collective Bargaining Agreement of the education sector with obscene delaying tactics, postponing the improvement of economic and social clauses, condemning the teaching personnel and all the workers who work in this sector to misery.”

In Caracas, teachers gathered outside the Ministry of Education and demanded the resignation of the minister with the slogan "Minister, listen, we want your resignation.”

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Monday spoke by phone with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to reaffirm his country's support ahead of right-wingers´ violent attacks to destabilize his government.

On Twitter, Díaz-Canel posted that “in a phone conversation with my brother President Lula, I reaffirmed all our solidarity towards him and his government, ahead of Sunday’s violent incidents”, while adding: “I ratified the willingness to promote and strengthen bilateral ties for mutual benefits”.

After learning of vandalism actions by Bolsonaro´s supporters, the Cuban leader and other senior leaders and institutions strongly condemned these fascist actions and reaffirmed their support to the Brazilian people.

January 10:

COLOMBIA’S vice-president said on Tuesday that her security team found more than 7kg of explosives buried next to a rural road that leads to her home in the south-western province of Cauca.

Francia Marquez posted on Twitter: “Members of my security team found a device with more than 7 kilos of explosive material on the road that leads to my family residence in the village of Yolombo, in Suarez, Cauca.”

Ms Marquez said a sniffer dog found the bomb, which was made of ammonium nitrate, powdered aluminium and shrapnel, and that anti-explosives officers blew it up in a controlled explosion on Monday.

January 11:

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal murder of Felix Musili, a member of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK).

The CPS conveys its heartfelt condolences to Musili’s family, his party the CPK as well as the working-class in Kenya and across the world.

As reported by the CPK, three uniformed police officers shot and killed Musili on Wednesday 11 January 2023 at around 05:00 am in front of his parents and siblings in a clear case of extra-judicial killing. This is not the first time that working-class activists have been murdered in cold blood in Kenya. Many of these killings often do not attract investigations and prosecutions. It is as if the Kenyan government and the autocracy in Swaziland read from the same hymn book as the blatant murder of political activists by the respective security forces of the two countries have gone unabated without any form of accountability.

The CPS supports the calls for justice for Musili as well as all victims of extra-judicial killings by members of the security forces in Kenya. The CPS reiterates its solidarity with the working-class in Kenya and the rest of the African continent and the world in defence of their right to life.

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) expresses its energetic condemnation of the vile and brutal assassination of comrade Felix Musili, member of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK), by local police.

According to the denouncement made public by comrade Sefu Sani, secretary general of the CPK, three Kenyan police officers abruptly entered the house of comrade Felix's family and shot him in front of his parents and siblings on January 11.

A U.S. labor board director has upheld Inc workers' landmark union victory at a warehouse in New York, according to a decision issued Wednesday, bringing the online retailer closer to having to bargain with staff on a contract.

Gig workers in eight cities of India will join the global campaign against “unfair deactivation,” said the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT) union in a press release on January 11, 2023. The campaign to stop unfair deactivation was started earlier this month by the International Alliance of App-based Transport Workers (IAATW). It launched a global petition, as part of its year-long mobilization, to end sudden and unsubstantiated termination of driving privileges by multinationals. The workers called this practice the “single largest cause of precarity in the app-based transportation industry.”

After striking for 18 days, workers at Bekaert in Izmit, Turkey, have achieved an astounding 84 per cent pay rise.

The successful achievement is the result of strike action that started on 22 December last year, when 400 workers stood in front of the Bekaert factory demanding a fair wage increase to compensate the skyrocketing inflation in Turkey.

After a long strike with support from trade unions across Europe, as well as industriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global, Bekaert agreed to grant its workers a pay rise of 84.83 per cent on average for a duration of six months.

January 12:

AN anti-monarchist arrested for protesting at a proclamation ceremony for King Charles III has had all charges against him dropped.

Symon Hill of campaign group the Peace Pledge Union shouted: “Who elected him?” during the event at Carfax Tower in Oxford on September 11 last year.

He was handcuffed and bundled into a police van for behaviour causing “harassment, alarm or distress” under the Public Order Act.

Nurses from Mount Sinai and Montefiore hospitals of New York who went on strike starting Monday, January 9 won a historic victory on Thursday, January 12. The nurses were striking over safe patient-to-staff ratios, fair wages, and to maintain existing healthcare benefits.

In Turkey, approximately 2,000 workers affiliated to the United Metal Workers Union (Birlesik Metal-is) have decided to go on a strike on January 23 after talks to increase wages and fix wage rate hikes with the Metal Employers’ Union of Turkiye (MESS) failed, Bianet English reported on Thursday, January 12.

The strike will be observed in 11 factories located in Istanbul, Manisa, Kocaeli, and Bandirma. Union members have already posted strike notices in front of these factories.

More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities across the UK will strike for 18 days between February and March in disputes over pay, working conditions and pensions, the University and College Union (UCU) said on Thursday.

"The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption throughout spring," UCU general secretary Jo Grady said.

January 14:

Tens of thousands of Israelis have rallied in three cities to protest plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement changes to the country’s legal system and weaken the Supreme Court.

Saturday’s protests in the cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa present an early challenge to Netanyahu and his ultranationalist national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has ordered police to take tough action if protesters block roads or display Palestinian flags.

Union workers protesting against an anti-strike bill called it a “horrific attack” on workers’ rights and said the UK Government is acting like “a dictator”.

Organising themselves through the campaign Enough is Enough, members of various unions gathered outside Business Secretary Grant Shapps’s constituency office in Welwyn Garden City on Saturday.

They want the UK Government to scrap its plans to pass legislation that would restrict their right to strike by imposing minimum service levels.

January 15:

PEACE banners dominated the annual procession to lay flowers on the tombs of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Berlin today, the 104th anniversary of their murder.

Crowds marched to revolutionary songs including Rote Fahne, Bella Ciao and the Internationale from the Frankfurt Gate to the monumental memorial to fallen socialists where their tombs lie.

The march came a day after the biggest yet Rosa Luxemburg onference in the city, with over 3,000 people attending in person and over 20,000 following the event — themed Stop World War III, and organised by the Morning Star’s German sister paper Junge Welt — online.

Tens of thousands of health workers protested in Madrid on Sunday (Jan 15) over what they say is the destruction of the public health system by the conservative regional government.

Dressed in white coats and banging drums, many chanted: "Cutting public health is criminal."

January 16:

TORY plans to introduce legislation forcing workers to break their own strikes will face a “mass movement” of resistance, unions warned today.

A large demonstration against the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which had its second reading in the Commons today, was due to be held opposite Downing Street after this article was published.

The proposed legislation, which comes amid a massive strike wave sweeping Britain, would empower bosses to sack workers who refuse to provide a minimum level of service during walkouts across transport, education and other key sectors.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack slammed the authoritarian move, saying: “This protest is the start of a mass movement of resistance to this pernicious attack on the rights of working people.”



bottom of page