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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Xiomara Castro wins in Honduras: Red Review #34 -- International Left and Labour News

The thirty-fourth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with stories from Honduras, Australia, Laos, the US, the UK and elsewhere.

November 25:

On November 25, Peruvian opposition legislators from three right-wing parties, presented a motion in Congress that seeks to remove socialist President Pedro Castillo from office. The motion, which alleged “moral incapacity” of the head of state to govern, was presented with the signatures of 28 legislators of the Popular Force, Popular Renewal, and Go on Country parties.

The motion will go to a vote in Congress scheduled for December 7 and will need 52 votes from the 130 legislators for impeachment procedures to begin. If it manages to receive support to begin debate in Congress, a final vote to oust Castillo, would require 87 votes, which is an unlikely scenario. The ruling Free Peru (PL) party, with the support of the progressive Together for Peru party and the Purple Party, has the endorsement of 45 legislators. Besides, many legislators of the Popular Action, Alliance for Progress and We Are Peru have already expressed their rejection of the presidential vacancy.

November 28:

Xiomara Castro of the left-wing Liberty and Refoundation (Libre) Party is set to become Honduras’ first woman president. According to the preliminary results of the presidential elections held in the Central American country on November 28, with 51.32% of the votes counted, Castro has obtained 53.61% of the votes. She is leading the presidential race with a 20% margin.

Following Castro, in second and third place, are Nasry Asfura of the ruling National Party with 33.87% of the votes, and Yani Rosenthal of the Liberal Party with 9.21% of the votes. The other 12 candidates are polling with less than 0.5% of the votes.

November 29:

Xiomara Castro has won a landslide election 12 years after the 2009 US and Canadian backed military coup. Her win is being celebrated by leftists around the world though she will no doubt face immediate and relentless attempts to undermine her presidency by the forces of reaction and imperialism.

On Monday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel congratulated the Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) candidate Xiomara Castro for her resounding victory in the Presidential elections held on Sunday.

Venezuela celebrated the victory of Xiomara Castro in Honduras’ general election Sunday that saw the leftist Libre Party secure an overwhelming victory and bring an end to 12 years of National Party rule.

“It is a historic triumph that honors the life and sacrifice of the heroes and martyrs who raised their voices, especially since the disastrous 2009 coup against former President Manuel Zelaya, in the face of an exclusive and neoliberal system that never responded to the most basic need of its population, and that permanently attacked their human and political rights,” read the statement issued in the name of President Nicolás Maduro.

In a striking act of internationalism and solidarity, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that the People's Republic would deliver one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Africa, 600 million of them as a donation.

This came during his address to the opening of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Dakar, Senegal on November 29.

Joint Statement of Communist and Workers parties

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

We, the undersigned communist and workers parties, on the International Day for Solidarity with the Palestinian people, call to end the ongoing Israeli occupation of all Occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, and the establishment of the Independent Palestinian State on the borders of June 4th, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as implementing a solution to the Refugees issue in accordance with the UN resolution 194. We express our support of the Palestinian political detainees and prisoners and of their fight for freedom and call for the immediate release of all political detainees and prisoners.

Representing over 200 million workers worldwide, the Council of Global Unions has published a statement urging governments and in particular, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, along with the European Commission, to put people over profit and waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines and medical products at the World Trade Organization.

The temporary waiver of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on Covid-19 vaccines was first proposed by South Africa and India in October 2020. Ever since, it has garnered the support of over 100 countries around the world. Only a few wealthy countries oppose the waiver and actively choose to defend the profits of pharmaceutical companies during a deadly pandemic which has caused more than 5 million deaths worldwide and continues to ravage the most vulnerable.

November 30:

Nepal's main opposition CPN-UML on Tuesday overwhelmingly re-elected former prime minister K P Sharma Oli as the chairman of the country's largest Communist Party for the second time.

Oli bagged 1,840 votes against his nearest rival Bhim Rawal, who got 223 votes, registering a landslide victory in the party's 10th general convention held in Chitwan district.

Tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators took the streets of the capital and other major cities expressing their rejection of the political agreement reached and signed by the leader of the coup General Burhan and Prime Minister Hamadok. Yesterday, Tuesday the 30th of November, Sudanese masses in their hundreds of thousands, marched and occupied the streets of the capital Khartoum, Omdurman, Atbara, El Obeid, Al Fasher, Gedaref, Kassala, and Zalingei demanding the immediate end to military controlled regime and calling for the establishment of full civil and democratic rule.

The peaceful mass actions were met with brutal and excessive use of force, resulting in dozens wounded demonstrators, some of them in very critical condition. The thugs of the repressive regime armed and in uniform, forced their way into hospitals, detaining some of the wounded and impeding the work of doctors and nurses treating their victims.

The SCP salutes the steadfastness and resilience of the demonstrators and strongly condemns the repression unleashed against them. It calls on its members and all progressive forces to continue the struggle until the complete defeat and the overthrow of the present military dominated regime.

Furthermore, it appeals to all fraternal communist and workers parties to continue their solidarity action with the struggle of the Sudanese people for democracy, peace and social justice.

The recent injuries and fatalities in the mining industry mark a worsening record, compared to the year 2020. The Minerals Council South Africa reported 55 fatalities in the mining industry by 1 November 2021, compared to 43 during the same period in 2020 – climbing to 60 by the end of year. Historically, mine deaths have often been characterised by the mining bosses prioritising profits over human lives.

The SACP is calling for an approach that puts people before profits. This and other common interests of the workers should be principles around which workers should unite. The SACP calls for unity of workers in the mining industry in the fight for improved working conditions, including health and safety standards. Worker solidarity, across union or federation affiliation, is crucial for the defence of workers’ rights at this point.

In a victory for employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, a federal labor official on Monday formally directed a new union election following allegations that the company engaged in illegal misconduct leading up to an unsuccessful vote in April.

December 1:

Three consecutive days of strike action hit 58 universities today after university bosses and their representatives refused to withdraw pension cuts or address falling pay and worsening working conditions.

After notifying vice chancellors that staff would take strike action unless they saw movement, UCU continued to meet with employer representatives Universities UK (UUK) over pension cuts, but UUK refused to reverse them.

December 2:

Members of the ONDP's Scarborough Centre riding association executive are alleging some serious shenanigans are going on with the nomination in their riding for the upcoming 2022 provincial election.

The coming months will likely see a continuation of the status quo, a foreign policy that has not moved one inch since the White House change of tenant earlier this year. Guaidó will continue in his comical role that wields no power but does handle billions of dollars worth of Venezuelan assets abroad. More significantly for the Venezuelan people, unilateral sanctions that have killed over 40,000 people since they were imposed in 2017 will remain in place. That does not mean the fight is over.

Much like their Venezuelan surrogates, US officials grossly underestimated the strength of the Bolivarian Process and the Venezuelan people’s will to resist, even at great cost. If these heroic efforts are met by growing international solidarity, and with the left gaining ground in the continent, imperialist regime-change endeavours can hopefully become a thing of the past.

Vietnam wishes to foster cooperation with Russia across fields and channels, including the traditional friendship with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), President Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed on December 2.

At a meeting with Chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) Gennady Zyuganov in Moscow, President Phuc said Vietnam always attaches importance to the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia.

Socialist MEPs will not be rolling over to accept the nomination of the European People’s Party Roberta Metsola for president of the European Parliament, Labour MEP Alfred Sant has said.

Sant, head of the Labour delegation of MEPs, said it was “unacceptable” for the socialists that the European right and centrists now had its representatives installed as presidents of the European Commission, European Council, the presidency of the Ecofin group of eurozone finane ministers, and the head of European Central Bank.

Kellogg's has reached a tentative agreement with its 1,400 cereal plant workers that will deliver 3% raises and end a nearly two-month-long strike if the deal is approved.

The five-year deal with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union also includes cost of living adjustments in the second through the fifth years of the contract and it maintains the workers' current health benefits, the company said Thursday.

Nearly nine in 10 Canada Goose employees who work at the company's Winnipeg production facility have voted to unionize.

Eighty-six per cent of the roughly 1,200 garment workers voted in favour of joining the Workers United Canada Council, the union said Wednesday.

"This marks the largest private sector victory for manufacturing workers in over 30 years and is a culmination of a three-year effort by the workers, most of whom are immigrant women sewers," a WUCC news release says.

Global delivery giant FedEx and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) have reached an in-principle deal on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA), marking the end of a marathon negotiation between major delivery and logistics firms and the union.

Key points:

  • FedEx workers will get a pay rise over 9 per cent over three years

  • The Transport Workers’ Union says it's a "fair deal"

  • It concludes a round of bargaining between the union and major transport firms

The new EBA announced includes a wage increase between 9.25 per cent and 9.75 per cent subject to Consumer Price Index (CPI) over three years, as well as an additional 2 per cent increase in superannuation during a three-year period, reaching 13 per cent in 2023.

December 3:

The 1,035-kilometer-long China-Laos Railway, a signature project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, officially went into full operation on Friday, catapulting the landlocked Southeast Asian nation into a Chinese standard-powered modern railway era that honors China's promise of enabling inclusive growth along the BRI routes.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith witnessed the opening of the railway via video link.

The opening of the China-Laos Railway will make Laos' dream of becoming a land-linked hub come true. China will ensure the maintenance and security of the railway and build high-quality, sustainable and people-friendly economic belts along the route, President Xi told Thongloun via video link.

Held in the Palace of the Revolution’s Portocarrero Hall, the meeting was attended by Political Bureau member Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, Party Central Committee Secretariat member and head of its Ideological Department, among other Party and government leaders.

Also leading the discussion was Gail Walker, executive director of the Interfaith Foundation for Community Organizing (IFCO), which sponsors the Friendship Caravan, and daughter of Lucius Walker, whose legacy as founder of this solidarity movement the Cuban people assume as part of our history.

On hand, as well, were Fernando González Llort, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), and Reverend Raúl Suárez, founding director of the Martin Luther King Memorial Center.

Industrial action at Panasonic Cardiff has been suspended after the company put forward a new two year pay deal amounting to a ‘big win’ for GMB members.

The electrical giant has offered workers a pay rise of up to 5.5% and a £300 annual bonus.

GMB will now ballot members on 9 December asking them if they want to accept the offer.

Unite members working for Prysmian Cables in Wrexham will escalate their industrial action in their fight for a decent pay rise. Prysmian workers have failed to receive a pay increase since 2019 and have undertaken six days of strike action since 4 November. Two additional 24 hour stoppages are scheduled for the 11 and 17 December.

Following a complete failure by the company to engage with Unite, plans are being put in place to undertake continuous industrial action later in the month.

December 4:

United Workers Union officials in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have threatened to pursue a campaign of protected strike action involving 15,000 aged care workers if their claims for wage rises, better staffing and reduced workloads are not met.

While aged-care workers had traditionally been reluctant to take industrial action, UWU aged-care director Carolyn Smith said she expected strong support from workers, in an interview with The Australian.

“This is mostly women workers saying ‘time’s up,” Ms Smith said.

Thousands of Sydney bus commuters have been told to expect significant delays with transport workers set to go on strike early next week.

Planned strikes are expected to halt services across the Inner West on Monday, while commuters in Liverpool and Fairfield in the Sydney’s west will be affected on Tuesday.

Drivers are planning to stand down in both areas simultaneously on Friday from 5pm to 7pm.

The city’s rail network will also be in disarray this Tuesday with 75 per cent of trains affected by action.

Th e transport union says workers doing the same job deserve the same pay and conditions.

December 5:

Following tight pay negotiations, workers planning industrial action at Fonterra and Saputo dairy processing plants across Victoria have secured historic pay deals.

Workers at Fonterra owned Stanhope, Darnum and two dairy plants in Cobden, secured a historic deal including:

  • All shift workers receive a paid meal break, securing approximately $110 a week to shift workers take home pay.

  • Protection for future workers’ wages and conditions, by including a commitment for Fonterra to consult with the local community if a plant is likely to be closed.

  • Paid domestic violence and mental health leave.

  • Improved shift allowance.

  • Improved casual conversion clauses.

  • A commitment to deal with the effects of heat and cold in the workplace.

  • A commitment to environmental sustainability.


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