Labor - Global

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Home Economics: Free Apartment in Chongqing

James T. Areddy, Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2011

A top gripe in China is the inability to find affordable housing. The government is responding with one of the world’s largest subsidized-housing programs. For some in Chongqing, that means a free apartment.

Xiang Yuankun is a 26-year-old college graduate with a technical job at the iPad maker Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. In November, he moved into a brand-new, two-bedroom Chongqing apartment that has a living room, kitchen, bathroom and small patio.

His out-of-pocket rental charge: zero.

Feisty Italy union chief stands between Monti and reform

Gavin Jones, Reuters, December 27, 2011 Rome - A formidable battle is taking shape over the future of Italy's labor market between Prime Minister Mario Monti, a detached, professorial economist and Susana Camusso, the pugnacious, chain-smoking leader of the country's largest trade union.

After years of division the three main union confederations appear to have united against reforms Monti says are vital to regain financial markets' faith, and analysts say he must move fast while his popularity is high and the sense of emergency over Italy's debt crisis is acute.

Led by Camusso, the unions not only have the ability to put millions on the streets ... Feisty

Statement to Our Sisters in Egypt

Ad-Hoc Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution, December 26, 2011 We, Egyptian women in the diaspora, watched with horror as the sit-in at the Egyptian cabinet was forcefully dispersed on 16 December 2011 by the military police. Subsequent protests from that day on saw at least fourteen protesters martyred, thousands beaten, and hundreds detained at the hands of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military junta. We witnessed how you, our sisters, were singled out and brutally abused, verbally degraded, beaten, arrested, and stripped of your clothing. ... Statement

The second cold war and South America

New strategic directions on the part of the United States. Raúl Zibechi, Latin America in Movement, December 24, 2011 The "war against terror" inaugurated by George W. Bush as a response to the September 11 2001 attack is now giving way to a strategy of "containment" of China, the new strategy laid out by the Pentagon to encircle, and eventually stifle the asiatic power, with the objective of maintaining US global supremacy. The new course of the Empire includes South America. The change of course appeared in November. "In our plans and proposals for the future, we shall dedicate resources to maintain our strong military presence in the region", said Barack Obama on November 17 ... The

Gap Between Rich & Poor Widening Across Developed World As Bankers & Executives Reap More Income

Pat Garofalo, Think Progress, December 5, 2011 According to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, income inequality - which has sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US - is increasing all across the developed world, led by bankers and executives reaping bigger and bigger income gains. In the OECD countries, the richest 10th of the population makes about nine times as much in average income as the poorest 10th, a significant increase from the gap in the 1980s: The gap between rich and poor is widening across most developed economies as skilled workers reap more rewards and top executives and bankers benefit from a global job market ... Gap

Global Rebellion: The Coming Chaos?

Global elites are confused, reactive and sinking into a quagmire of their own making, says author. William I. Robinson, Al Jazeera, December 2, 2011 Santa Barbara - As the crisis of global capitalism spirals out of control, the powers that be in the global system appear to be adrift and unable to proposal viable solutions. From the slaughter of dozens of young protesters by the army in Egypt to the brutal repression of the Occupy movement in the United States, and the water cannons brandished by the militarized police in Chile against students and workers, states and ruling classes are unable are to hold back the tide of worldwide popular rebellion and must resort to ever more generalized repression. ... Global

Strike Wave in China Puts Heat On Official Union

Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes, December 2, 2011 China faced its second wave of strikes in two years, as thousands of workers in industrial southern provinces - manufacturers for the world - walked out this fall. Workers making New Balance shoes, Apple and IBM keyboards, underwear, furniture, and Citizen watches struck over pay and overtime. At two factories, workers blocked roads around the plants. Some clashed with police, resulting in dozens of injuries. At the keyboard plant, workers were angry at management’s scheduling six hours of overtime on weekdays to avoid paying double time on Saturdays. After three days the company gave in. ... Strike

Arab revolutions and the power of nonviolent action

Stephen Zunes, National Catholic Reporter, December 1, 2011 While sitting in a Cairo café just a couple blocks from Tahrir Square recently, I couldn’t help but notice the television in the corner broadcasting the evening news. Traditionally, TV news in Egypt and other Arab countries has consisted of the president (or king) giving a speech, greeting a foreign visitor or engaging in some other official function. This evening, however, the news was about a labor strike in Alexandria and ongoing developments in the pro-democracy struggles in Yemen and Syria. ... Arab

Toronto-Area Transit Workers Strike against Privatization

Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes, December 1, 2011 “The problem is privatization,” says Toronto-area transit union leader Bob Kinnear, so bus drivers are on strike to put that problem in front of the public. While passengers who ride buses in the York region north of Toronto pay the highest fares in the area, the workers get the lowest wages. “The difference is the huge profits that are being shipped out of the country by these transnational corporations,” said Kinnear, president of Transit Union (ATU) Local 113. The 550 ATU members on strike work for three different contractors in York. ... Toronto-Area

This strike could start to turn the tide of a generation

It's not just the scale of the walkout but the breadth that sets it apart: the 'big society', but not as Cameron meant it. Seumas Milne, Guardian, November 30, 2011 It was the wrong time to call a strike. Industrial action would inflict "huge damage" on the economy. It would make no difference. Public sector workers wouldn't turn out and public opinion would be against them. Downing Street was said to be "privately delighted" the unions had "fallen into their trap". The campaign against today's day of action has been ramped up for weeks, and in recent days has verged on the hysterical. ... This

'The real fight for democracy in Egypt has yet to begin'

Robert Fisk, The Independent, December 1, 2011 When it comes to economics, you don't mess with Wael Gamal. Before becoming a managing editor of Shrouq – Sunrise, to you and me – he was economics editor of the Egyptian daily, and he casts a cold eye on soldiers who don't understand money. "Not a single one of the 20 generals on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces understands the economy," he says, with a certain laugh infecting his voice ... Gamal had just voted for the secular "Revolution" list, and it was the first time he had entered a polling booth in his 40 years. ... The

Britons Strike Over Extended Austerity Measures

Sarah Lyall & Alan Cowell, New York Times, December 1, 2011 London - Hundreds of thousands of public employees walked off their jobs in schools, hospitals, airports, courtrooms, libraries, museums and government offices on Wednesday, as British workers became the latest in Europe to demonstrate mass fury at government austerity measures. The one-day strike was the biggest here since the 1970s, the era that brought forth the Winter of Discontent, with waves of labor disputes that all but crippled the country. This time, the immediate issue was Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to require public employees to work for more years and pay more ... Britons

300,000 public sector workers in Scotland on strike

Tom Peterkin, Scotsman, December 1, 2011
 Around 300,000 public sector workers in Scotland took strike action yesterday, forcing the closure of almost all of the country’s schools, the cancellation of surgical operations and disruption to public transport. The biggest national strike for a generation saw thousands of Scots take to the streets to demonstrate against the UK government’s plan to make public servants contribute more to their pensions and work for longer. The industrial action was part of a UK-wide day of strikes that saw two million public sector workers fail to turn up to work in a protest that business leaders claim will cost the economy ... 300,000

Carnival atmosphere mixes with sense of anger and grievance

Craig Brown & Jennifer O’Mahony, Scotsman, December 1, 2011
 Across Scotland, thousands of public sector workers took to the streets in protest at the government’s changes to their pension and working conditions. Though the spirit in which the marches took place was peaceful, and in some cases almost festive, their placards and banners expressed the marchers’ anger and sense of injustice at having to pay for a crisis they feel was not of their making. Beyond the protest, however, a recurring theme raised by individual strikers and the unions was that this was just the beginning of a prolonged struggle ... Carnival

Public sector strike: ‘300,000 Scots’ join pensions protest

Scotsman, December 1, 2011 Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in Scotland have walked out today over proposed changes to their pensions. The vast majority of schools are closed and transport, hospitals, courts and other public services are all affected. Today sees the largest-scale strike in decades as around two million people across the UK join together to protest against the UK Government’s plans to increase the amount of money public sector workers pay into their pension, raise the retirement age and introduce career-average pensions. ... Public

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