International unions

Covid-19: Bernie Sanders' six point plan

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 10:29

Eric Lee

Bernie Sanders has drafted a six point plan for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the looming economic crisis – and the strange thing is that he doesn’t mention the presidential election nor the name of America’s current president, Donald Trump.

While Joe Biden tries to make his voice heard from his basement studio in Delaware, Sanders remains an active member of the US Senate, fighting to get things done without waiting for the Democratic party primary season to end – and without waiting for Trump to be replaced in office either.

“Congress must pass, in the very near future, the

Two communiques from France

Published on: Mon, 06/04/2020 - 07:15

Ed Maltby

Photo by Fran Boloni on Unsplash

We reproduce the Ile-de-France union regions (URIF) communiqué of March 23, 2020; and the declaration issued by the national coordination of strikers of 28 March.

Document 1 (23 March)
A common position along these lines should be taken at the national level. Cross-union unity shouldn't be dissolved in the state of emergency
Communiqué of URIFS CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires, UNEF, UNL

The trade union regional bodies of Ile-de-France (URIF) of the unions CGT, FO, Solidaires, FSU, with [student unons] UNEF and UNL, reject the law declaring a "state of health emergency

US West Coast dockers' union under threat

Published on: Mon, 17/02/2020 - 14:28

Jack Heyman

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), arguably one of the most militant unions in the U.S., has been hit with a union-busting $93.6 million dollar court-imposed fine for a secondary boycott deemed illegal under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.

Hong Kong: “Resist tyranny, join a union”

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:28

Chen Ying

A notable feature so far of the eight-month political protest in Hong Kong has been the absence of industrial action. However, the five day strike by health workers at the start of February promises to dramatically change that perception.

The strike was not about wages or job cuts. At first glance it appeared to be xenophobic, as its main demand was shutting Hong Kong’s borders with China to keep out carriers of the new coronavirus from the mainland.

Strikers however saw themselves as trying to protect their working conditions and to save Hong Kong and its under-resourced health service from

Solidarity with the strikes in France

Published on: Thu, 09/01/2020 - 10:44

Martin Thomas

Labour for a Socialist Europe organised a demonstration at the French Embassy in London on 8 January in solidarity with the strikes against pension cuts in France.

“No retreat, no truce!” say French strikers

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 12:48

Sacha Ismail

As we go to press, 7 January, the French government is sitting down with the various union federations to discuss the ongoing dispute over its pension “reforms”.

The government hopes that a few limited or even cosmetic concessions will be enough to peel away some unions and begin to the mass strikes and protests that have swept France since early December.

It is standing firm on its central policy of changing how the level of public-sector pensions is calculated and introducing disadvantages for those who won’t retire later (64, as against 62 now). Many private sector pensions are also tied

Tackling the union bureaucracies

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:22

Bob Carnegie

Trade union organisation has always tended to centre in the better-off sections of the working class. But that tendency has been sharpened in the neoliberal era by increased inequality within the working class, and union organisation receding into more limited “bastions”.

In Australia — and in general — trade unions have been able to hold on to a degree in some strongholds, but in my working life, 45 years now, the influence of trade unions in society has markedly decreased.

Unions have become much more bureaucratic.

Most union leaders put the trends down to the anti-union laws which have been

Bob Carnegie made honorary member of ETU

Published on: Mon, 09/12/2019 - 09:38

Bob Carnegie

On Friday 6 December 2019, I was awarded honorary life membership of the Queensland and Northern Territory Electrical Trades Union (ETU) for a working life which has at several critical moments intersected with supporting the ETU, its members, and their families.

It is the first time in the branch’s 104 year history it has awarded honorary membership to anyone other than an ETU member.

In 1985, I was arrested nine times for supporting the ETU after 1,007 members working in the state owned electrical distribution network were sacked by a reactionary state government and replaced by scabs.


Regrouping the far left in Italy

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:58

Roberto Luzzi, Justine Canady

What is SI Cobas? How was it created?

SI Cobas is an Italian militant workers’ union. It was established in 2010, by about a hundred workers who left SLAI Cobas, another union.

Now it has about 20,000 members in most of Italy’s regions, and it is still growing. It organises mainly immigrant workers, in the logistics sector, where it has become the strongest union, but also increasingly in other sectors: transport, food and meatpacking, engineering, hotels, cleaners, carers and others.

It is organising most of the strikes occurring in Italy, winning better wages and conditions for workers,

Bakhshi and Gholian freed from jail

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:36

Esmail Bakhshi, a leader of the Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers in Iran, and Sepideh Gholian, an activist who supported the workers’ dispute, have been released from jail.

They were sentenced in September – to 14 years and 18 years respectively — on all sorts of trumped up charges, including endangering “national security” and “the Islamic system”.

Because they put up resistance while in jail, Sepideh’s brother was arrested in January and Esmail’s mother in February! Then in August Sepideh’s defence lawyer was threatened with arrest.

Now they have temporary releases on the basis of eye-watering

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