International unions

Iran: strikes spread

The strike by the workers of Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries has spread to various cities, despite 700 workers at the Tehran refinery being fired. On 23 June workers in many refineries and petrochemical industries joined the strikers who had already been on strike for two days. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 oil and petrochemical workers on strike across 11 provinces, demanding higher wages, an increase in leave and holidays, better health and safety conditions. In response, however, the regime stepped up its repression against the workers. According to labour...

Truck kills picket in Italy

Adil Belakhdim, coordinator of the SI Cobas union in Novara, Lombardy, Italy, and a member of the union’s national coordinating body, has been killed. He was hit by a truck driven into a picket line during the national logistics strike on 18 June. SI Cobas says: “It was not an accident — Adil was killed in the name of profit.” It says that the “murder is in fact the culmination of an escalation of organized violence against SI Cobas, which has been ongoing for months and is now without limits”. It cites many other incidents in recent months, arguing that they are “part of a single design under...

Haft Tappeh workers push forward

Morad Shirin from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency responded to questions from Solidarity. Inflation, unemployment, and inequality remain high in Iran. There have been big working-class fightback in recent years. And now? In addition to the long-term dire economic situation, corruption, repression and sanctions, the incompetent and callous handling of the Covid pandemic has led to even more stark social inequalities. These have sparked off hundreds of struggles and protests by pensioners, teachers, medical staff, steel workers, oil workers and so on. (But the regime keeps...

Seven weeks on, Colombia's rising is still strong

Colombia’s trade unions began a general strike on 28 April, in response to a bill seeking to increase taxes on basic foodstuffs and essential services like water and electricity, and to other social policies threatening to widen inequality, including healthcare “reforms”. The tax and health plans have been dropped, and the finance minister of Colombia’s right-wing government has resigned, but the struggle has widened into what looks like a powerful social uprising involving many different popular constituencies. Colombia, whose population is not much smaller than the UK’s, is the world’s 16th...

Building our solidarity against their G7

Former Labour leader Gordon Brown cites a figure of $33 billion (£23 billion) urgently needed before the end of 2021 for vaccines, virus-testing, and PPE this year, and maybe the same in 2022. That’s just 0.08% of the yearly total revenues of the G7 rich countries who met in Cornwall on 11-13 June. “Instead”, as Brown says, “they offered up about $7 billion worth of vaccines”, some 870 million doses in place of the 11 billion needed this year. They could donate more doses now through the Covax scheme, and help to build new facilities to produce and roll out vaccines, but they don’t. US...

The strange case of Malcolm Bidali

Last summer, the international trade union movement was celebrating the news from Qatar. The country which is slated to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup had come under enormous pressure to respect the rights of workers, especially migrant workers, who were getting the country ready for such a high profile event. The headline on the website of the Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) could not have been more gushing: “A new dawn for migrant workers in Qatar”. The article went on to say that “new laws adopted today by the State of Qatar are a game changer in the protection...

Myanmar solidarity targets brands

Following a meeting called by Momentum Internationalists between UK labour movement activists and Myanmar trade union leaders, there will be a series of protests directed at UK brands from this weekend. Sheffield: Saturday 22 May 11 am H&M on Fargate Newcastle: Friday 21 May, 2 pm, H&M on Northumberland Street North London: Sunday 23 May, 11 am H&M in Wood Green Lambeth and Lewisham, both to be confirmed. Trade unionists in Myanmar and around the world are demanding that global brands work with their suppliers to safeguard the jobs of workers who are unable to attend work due to the political...

Myanmar week of action from 17 May

In the week beginning 17 May Momentum Internationalists and others will be organising street stalls and small demonstrations outside premises featuring big brands connected to the regime, including the energy giant Chevron and the high street clothing brands whose products are made in factories in cities like Yangon. Currently, actions are planned in London, Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle. Trade unionists in Myanmar in organisations like the All-Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU) have put out a call for supporters worldwide to put pressure on brands which are doing business with the...

Myanmar campaign to target brands

Activists in the UK labour movement are getting organised to provide solidarity to the workers of Myanmar who are on strike against the Tatmadaw military regime, which did away with elected government and democratic freedoms in a coup on 1 February this year. On 10 April, Momentum Internationalists (MI) and other Labour activists held a meeting with Khaing Zar Aung of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), Kyaw Ni of the All-Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU), and Htuu Lou Rae of the Anti-Junta Mass Movement (AJMM), as well as Andrew Tillett-Saks, an American labour...

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