Labor - Global

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UN Rio+20 Summit Must Deliver on Jobs, Poverty and the Environment

International Trade Union Confederation, October 28, 2011 Brussels/New York - With precarious jobs, unemployment and inequalities rising around the world, the international labour movement today formally tabled its proposals to the secretariat of the  sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012. "Governments must realise that unless there is a drastic change in the way the world is governed, there is no chance that social equity or environmental protection will be achieved," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. ... UN

Lessons From Spain

"Los Indignados," Occupy Wall Street, and the Failure of the Status Quo. Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, October 24, 2011 Saying I've just returned from a country in which I witnessed huge protests calling for economic justice doesn't tell you much about where I was - it only narrows it to about 15 or 20 countries. In fact, I was in Spain during the loosely coordinated worldwide demonstration that took place on October 15th. The date was chosen because it was the five-month anniversary of the Spanish protests ... Lessons

Indian Workers Demand Greater Rewards

Amy Kazmin, Financial Times, October 24, 2011 New Delhi - Maruti Suzuki, the Indian subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki, has been India's biggest carmaker for two-and-a-half decades. But this year, its position as India's market leader - and as a major driver of Suzuki's profits - has been undermined by labour unrest that has severely disrupted production and led to long waiting periods for Maruti's most popular models. Since June, workers at the company's five-year-old Manesar plant, in the northern state of Haryana, have gone on strike three times, initially to press for a new, independent union, and later against management's punitive moves against strike leaders. ... Indian

Greece crippled as its people say no to poverty

Patrick Cockburn, Independent, October 20, 2011 Greece has been paralysed by a 48-hour general strike that began yesterday and cast doubt on the unpopular government's ability to implement reforms demanded by the European Union in return for further bailout money. Black-masked youths hurled chunks of marble and petrol bombs at riot police in front of the parliament building in the centre of Athens. Police responded with stun grenades and tear gas as clashes spread to neighbouring streets after mass rallies, where protesters demanded an end to tax rises and salary cuts that they say are reducing them to poverty. ... Greece

Start of 2-day general strike to protest austerity measures shuts down Greece

Elena Becatoros, Associated Press, October 19, 2011 Athens - A two-day general strike that unions vow will be the largest in years grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down everything from shops to schools in Greece on Wednesday, as at least 70,000 protesters converged in central Athens. All sectors, from dentists, state hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers walked off the job ahead of a Parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures which include new taxes and the suspension of tens of thousands of civil servants. ... Start

In Prague

Nick Holdstock, London Review of Books, October 17, 2011 Around 600 protesters gathered in Prague on Saturday morning near the Old Town Square. ‘No Corruption’, the banners said: ‘We are One’; ‘Game Over. Insert Change to Continue.’ We marched first to the stock exchange, then on towards the Vltava River, surrounded all the way by police, who often stopped us for no obvious reason. At one of these halts a man in plain clothes took photographs, which caused some anger, but otherwise the mood was cheerful. In front of a government building on the other side of the river people waved their keys in the air, an echo of one of the gestures made during the Velvet Revolution. ... In

The Seed of World Revolution?

This Saturday October 15th, protests of “indignados” spread to squares and streets in 951 cities in 82 countries. Juana Carrasco Martín, Juventud Rebelde, October 15, 2011 It all seems to be for real, because the call that could herald a global transformation spread its answer this Saturday, October 15th when squares and streets near the centers of financial power were occupied in more than 951 cities in 82 countries – mostly capitalist and many in crisis – in a day of demonstrations to demand “a real global democracy” and of protests against the greed of bankers.  There were many receptive ears in Washington and New York, in Madrid and Barcelona, in Paris and London, in Tel Aviv and Cairo ... The

Is a new unionism developing in Israel?

Assaf Adiv, New Unionism, October 5, 2011 The social and democratic revolutions that have been sweeping the Middle East have redrawn the political map and rewritten the regional rules, writes Assaf Adiv*, National Coordinator of WAC-Maan. Antagonisms between Israel, the Arab world and the Palestinians have taken on a new dimension, in light of the movement for change in Arab states. Revolutionaries in Tunisia and Egypt have brought down the regimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, shifting the center of power back to the street. The order that has prevailed in the region for more than 30 years is being shaken to the core. ... Is

New Perspectives on Labour Disputes in Globalised China

What future for the worker-class movement? Transform! University of Vienna, September 22-24, 2011 The international conference Transform! gathered recently in Vienna, bringing together researchers, trade unionists and campaigners from Chinese and European NGOs. Members there related their experiences regarding work-place struggles in China and Europe. Major strikes broke out in 2010 among Honda workers at Foshan, in the province of Guangdong, and lasted several weeks, giving rise to a vast social movement in numerous China-based companies. This has created an unprecedented situation in the country with regard to the capacity for social mobilization ... New

Millionaires Control 39% of Global Wealth

Robert Frank, Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2011 

Here’s another stat that the Occupy Wall Streeters can hoist on their placards: The world’s millionaires and billionaires now control 38.5% of the world’s wealth.

 According to the latest Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, the 29.7 million people in the world with household net worths of $1 million (representing less than 1% of the world’s population) control about $89 trillion of the world’s wealth. That’s up from a share of 35.6% in 2010, and their wealth increased by about $20 trillion ... Millionaires

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

Andy Coghlan & Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, October 19, 2011 As protests against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. ... Revealed

Letter to a Dead Man About the Occupation of Hope

Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch, October 18, 2011 Dear young man who died on the fourth day of this turbulent 2011, dear Mohammed Bouazizi, I want to write you about an astonishing year - with three months yet to run. I want to tell you about the power of despair and the margins of hope and the bonds of civil society. I wish you could see the way that your small life and large death became a catalyst for the fall of so many dictators in what is known as the Arab Spring. We are now in some sort of an American Fall. Civil society here has suddenly hit the ground running, and we are all headed toward a future no one imagined ... Letter

The global protests against capitalism

Heiko Khoo, China.org.cn, October 18, 2011 The international occupation of squares will define the history of 2011. First those that burst out in the Arab Spring to bring down long-standing dictatorships and then those that developed in Spain and the United States, which touched off a wave of sympathy protests around the world. The protests in the United States have finally given voice to the generalized discontent against corporate and banking excess. They have exposed the embedded relationship between economic and political power; long-established connections within the state and civil society, that bind layer upon layer of power and exploitation together. ... The

Kuwait: ITUC Condemns Military Threat to Striking Workers

International Trade Union Confederation, October 18, 2011

Brussels - The international trade union movement has condemned today's threat by the Kuwaiti authorities to use the army and police to stop public sector strikes in the country as public anger grows at the government's failure to respect workers' rights and its inaction on corruption. Yesterday, Kuwait's Foreign Minister tendered his resignation, and at least one other Minister is believed to be considering resigning as well.

Greece gripped by wave of strikes ahead of crucial vote on new austerity measures

Nicholas Paphitis, Associated Press, October 18, 2011 Athens - Greek railway workers and journalists joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers on Tuesday in a strike blitz against yet more austerity measures required if the country is to avoid defaulting on its debts. The protests will lead into a general strike over the coming two days, culminating on Thursday when Parliament holds a crucial vote on the new painful cutbacks that follow nearly two years of austerity. A similar strike before an austerity bill in June was accompanied by large protest marches which degenerated into street battles between rioters and police. ... Greece

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