Open World Conference of Workers
In Defense of Trade Union Independence & Democratic Rights
A dossier of weekly information published by the International Liaison
Committee of Workers and Peoples
Guadeloupe: "May 1st, 2009 will have a particular importance in our country. Indeed it is an extension of the great popular movement initiated since December 2008 by the collective LIYANNAJ KONTE PWOFITASYON (LKP)."
Reunion: It was with great interest that anti-colonial activists in Reunion followed the struggle of the LKP in Guadeloupe against exploitation and for better living conditions for the peoples of the Caribbean.
Germany: "No worker would understand if the Minister Scholz stopped midway "In Germany as throughout Europe, thousands of layoffs have been announced in the automotive industry.
Kazakhstan: You will find below an interview with Ivan Bulgakov. "Plant closures, downsizing, layoffs - these are the bitter fruits of the economic crisis, the current reality."
Great Britain: The General Secretary of Unison, the public services union, has criticized Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, saying: "Our patience has limits. The country is in a catastrophic situation. We expect the Government to take serious measures."
Burundi: We are publishing the Final Declaration of the PTD Conference of the Kayanza Province,
Burkina Faso: A letter against the firing of worker representatives.
Table of Contents
p. 1: Overview.
The Anti-Colonialist Movement of La Reunion (MAR) and the Nation of Reunion
Solidarity with the LKP against the Estates General of Sarkozy
A bluff by the French state
It was with great interest that anti-colonial activists in La Reunion followed the struggle of the LKP in Guadeloupe against exploitation and for better living conditions for the peoples of the Caribbean, particularly in Guadeloupe.
The same causes produce the same effects as with their Caribbean brothers, the meetings are faced with the same problems of the high cost of living, which is too expensive for the majority of the population.
Consumer products and basic necessities are unaffordable for a population where officially more than 52% live below the poverty line.
Prices displayed in shops, obviously designed for the privileged caste
are insults to the
This situation of dependency in which the population of Reunion, far from being the result of an unfortunate accident, is the result of over half a century of colonial departmentalization.
Throughout this time, the French state has not solved the problem of housing, illiteracy, employment, unemployment and the integration of young people. The Estates General, a plan of Sarkozy, will not remedy this sad situation. General statements are like a smoke screen "to destroy the nest of wasps, affecting French overseas departments, and La Reunion in particular.
The Anti-Colonialist Movement of La Reunion (MAR) and the Nation of Reunion declare their solidarity with the LKP position of refusing to participate in the Estates General, a sham "democracy", a farce of the French colonialist state which has a purpose to deceive international public opinion on the consequences of its policy of domination and exploitation conducted in our country for over 300 years and a half a century of colonial departmentalization.
The Anti-Colonialist Movement of La Reunion (MAR) and the Nation of Reunion boycott these meetings and call on others to do the same.
It is up the sovereign people of the concerned territories to decide their own destiny, without imposition by the occupying power, with its local lackeys, to stifle the popular will. We fight to work and live free in the country liberated colonial control.
The meeting on 17 April 2009
For Nasion Rénioné
For the Mouvman Antikoloniyalis Réniyoné (M.A.R)
On May 1 to Guadeloupe
Call of unions:
CFTC - CGTG - CTU - SNCL-faen - FOR - FSU - SNETAA-EIL - SNUI SOUTHEAST TREASURE - SPEG-SUD-PTT-GWA - UGTG - UIR-CFDT - UNSA
May 1st is the international day of workers' struggle.
May 1st, 2009 will have a particular importance in our country. Indeed it is an extension of the great popular movement initiated since December 2008 by the collective LIYANNAJ KONTE PWOFITASYON (LKP).
Our people came together against overexploitation.
During forty-four days, workers, unemployed, youth, the people of Guadeloupe have shown that they would not be voiceless puppets in the hands of capitalists, the French state and its local lackeys.
Even today hundreds of workers are striking in their company to fight against the suffering of pwofitasyon (low wages, layoffs, etc.). And they fight for the implementation of the Bino agreement.
Yes, the May 1, 2009 in Guadeloupe, is the convergence of all those who do not accept the dictates of financial powers, of all victims of discrimination, capitalist exploitation and colonial oppression.
The people of Guadeloupe are building a movement, providing a scathing answer to the famous "Etats généraux", their new colonial gadget to divert attention of masses in motion.
Together in the same spirit, youth, workers, peasants and people of
Guadeloupe, are fighting for another future for our country.
* Of all the NEGRO MARRONS.
* Of all those who reject bétonisation, poisoning and the squandering of our agricultural land
* Thousands of workers laid off, unemployed or exploited
* Women who are oppressed, abused
* Young people competing for work at home and refusing exile
* Of all those who want a different future for our country with dignity, fairness and accountability.
YOUNG, WORKERS, FARMERS, PEOPLE OF GUADELOUPE,
BUILD THE FIGHT FOR THE RICHES OF THE LAND, LABOR AND PRODUCTION TO REMAIN IN GUADELOUPE.
LONG LIVE THE FIGHT FOR WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES!
RALLY FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009 A 0 8:30AM TO THE STAGE SMALL CHANNEL
CFTC - CGTG - CTU - SNCL-faen - FOR - FSU - SNETAA-EIL - SNUI SOUTHEAST
TREASURE - SPEG-SUD-PTT-GWA - UGTG - UIR-CFDT - UNSA
Socialist and trade unionist workers activists from Spain will be at
the May 16 rally in Paris at the rally organized by the Independent
Workers' Party (POI). They have sent us a correspondence.
"We demand that Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain and Secretary
of the main party of the working class, the PSOE, who was elected by
a majority of workers and peoples of Spain, act and legislate in banning
The pace is only accelerating: 10,000 layoffs per day, including 2,500 in Catalonia, where we originate.
It is the largest attack against workers since the death of Franco, and attack that calls into question the very existence of the working class, the productive engine of society.
For us, to demand a ban on layoffs is far from utopian, it is our is most urgent. This is the starting point for an emergency plan with all the necessary measures to rescue the workers, youth, the material bases of fraternity between the peoples of Spain.
As we demand the prohibition of dismissals, we say: we must take all measures so that no worker is unemployed, so that no family workers can be expelled from their post, so that all workers can be treated well.
The money is there: the government has given a 104 billion gift to
the bankers and speculators, and then multiplied offerings of billions
with exemptions from taxes and social charges for the capitalists.
Friday, April 24, workers in the Sestao shipyard went on strike, paralyzing the site because the company had hired workers from Romanian and Portuguese outside the collective agreement with a lower salary.
This forced the company to sign a agreement with unions saying that no job can be done outside the conditions dictated by the collective agreement.
The capitalists are using the crisis to pit workers against each other.
The shipyard workers took the lead. Only under the protection of the collective agreement that can be unity and prevent division.
Workers are prepared throughout the country, but many of our leaders are telling us that there is a pact between the central government, regional governments, capitalists and trade unions.
A pact for what? The owners say there is a need for redundancies, to
be exempt from payroll taxes, to do away with collective agreements,
increase the retirement age and the number of years to calculate the
rate of retirement.
We recognize that our action should also be developed at international level and particularly at European level.
We know that the directives that the government implements against collective agreements and social security are dictated according to the criteria of "free competition" decided by the European Union.
That is why we are participating in the common fight across Europe against these guidelines and these institutions.
A delegation of trade unionists will be present in Paris, mandated
by a large group of activists, met April 18 in Barcelona. We decided
to organize, to form a movement for socialism to develop this battle
at all levels.
Spain has 45 million inhabitants.
* From March 2008 to March 2009: 1, 836,500 dismissals.
* From January to March 2009: 802,800 dismissals.
* Overall unemployment rate: 17.36%.
* Youth unemployment: 32%.
* Overall number of employees: 19,090,800 (including 26% in precarious contracts).
* Number of unemployed: 4,010,700.
* Number of families without wages: 1,068,400.
Contribution of H. W. Schuster, a member of the workers commission of the SPD from Düsseldorf, who will attend the gathering organized by the Independent Workers' Party (POI) on May 16 in Paris.
"No worker would understand if Minister Scholz stopped midway"
In Germany as throughout Europe, thousands of layoffs have been announced in the automotive industry.
At a moment when the German Minister of Labor has called for the rescue of Opel, German activists have addressed the leadership of the SPD.
They have called on the leadership of IG Metall to organize a mobilization for a national demonstration in Berlin.
On March 21, the Federal Minister of Labor, Scholz (SPD), said in the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper: "To let Opel die would be more than a fault, it would be an inexcusable evasion of the government," and demanded that the State put in capital into Opel to save the company. It is with great interest that the Opel staff became aware of this position.
The next day, Merkel said that this is precisely what the government refuses to do.
If Scholz, Federal Minister of the Government, calls for the rescue of Opel, it can only mean one thing: to save all jobs at Opel (...). Nobody, especially not Merkel, must prevent the implementation of this decision in the government. It must take the initiative, it is its responsibility.
Nobody would understand if it stops halfway.
At the same time as the March 30 Assembly of workers at Bochum, Barack Obama launched his ultimatum of 60 days: a "quick and surgical bankruptcy of General Motors to separate into two parts, a" healthy ", the other "bad." This would mean the destruction of thousands of jobs. Steinmeier demands that in 60 days a task force of the Chancery be established, to "resolve outstanding issues for the rescue plan for Opel" (WAZ, March 31 2009).
Everyone knows that this is a plan of massive layoffs. What is at stake is the fate of thousands of workers at Opel (and General Motors). It is now Scholz who must issue an ultimatum, and the others in the SPD must stand behind him (...).
The workers commission of the SPD in South Hesse voted on 28 March in a joint statement with the union representatives of the IG-Metall: "We call on our party, all elected SPD, to decide that the State ensures immediate rescue jobs. They therefore require a state guarantee and protection of all jobs against all the layoffs, the job cuts, lower wages.
The meeting of the workers committee decided on the perspective of mobilization, so that the IG-Metall take responsibility for mobilizing all employees of Opel and subcontractors in a united central rally in Berlin, to demand that the declarations Scholz are acted upon and to urge the immediate maintenance of all jobs at Opel and subcontractors (...).
This mobilization is also a lever to end the course of the troika of Leaders of the SPD.
The current policy needed by employees of Opel and all other business requires that the party to be released from a leadership that leads to defeat.
There can be no doubt that thousands of workers are ready to resume their seats and pour into the ranks of a party that proclaims: "We want to be the government and we undertake to prohibit layoffs and to nationalize banks to do so. "
This proclamation, based on the mobilization of a large majority of the population, would take out the Merkel government and the interests it represents.
For conducting this battle we call on the workers, trade unionists, and social democrats to organize.
H. W. Schuster
They promised the earth ...
Plant closures, downsizing, layoffs - these are the bitter fruits of the economic crisis, the current reality.
But this is not the first time we have had such misfortune. The situation was the same in the early 90s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2002 and until the first months of 2003 all of Kazakhstan watched the struggle of workers in the copper smelter of Irtysh, IMZ in the city of Gloubokoe against the closure of their business.
Remember that at that time the company "Kazakhmys", owner of the smelter, had decided to close the company, which was allegedly unprofitable. Today, during this period of crisis, it is certainly useful to remind ourselves of the struggle led by outstanding workers.
Our spokesperson, Ivan Bulgakov, was the chairman of the strike at the time and is now leader of the regional subsidiary of the Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan and President of the independent trade union "Zachtchita troud"
ILC : Ivan Bulgakov, was the copper smelter it actually unprofitable at the time?
As is shown precisely from the current crisis, the leaders of "Kazakhmys" were rowing the boat. They told us it was not profitable, while a ton of copper was worth $ 300. Currently it is $1300-1500 dollars ; the sector is active. And "Kazakhmys" even announced that there will be no layoffs. Will they speak, it's hard to say. But there is no need to be a great economist to understand that with a world price that is double the price, production was necessarily profitable.
At the time, I did not understand what "Kazakhmys" was up to. The strike committee did not only call on people to strike and demonstrate. We explored all possible alternatives to save the company. The Russians were interested in its recovery and also "Kaztzinc." But "Kazakhmys" would not sell. Yet wouldn't it have made sense to sell a company, which they say was not profitable to get rid of a dead weight? Probably "Kazakhmys" did not want competition to its Jezkazgan main foundry. But neither the leaders of the region, nor the government nor the parliament demonstrated firmness, they ceded to the leaders of "Kazakhmys". Apparently they were subordinated to the billionaires of "Kazakhmys";
But today against "Kaztzinc" has built a copper smelter near the center of Ust-Kamenogorsk. Residents have be told that the new plant will not only improve the ecological situation. But if "Kazakhmys" had sold IMZ, the extension could have been done on that base. And people could have kept their jobs.
ILC: At the time, 6 years ago, the collective of workers got a lot of things. The government and parliament addressed the problem. Why wasn't the factory saved?
Yes, we managed to make ourselves heard at the highest level. With the plant manager, I went several times in Astana, in meetings of government, parliamentary hearings on the problem of the factory. To obtain this result, it took our unity and determination. At the end of 2002 there was a hunger strike. We have organized protests and MPs have come to see us. Essentially they tried to convince us to stop the strike of course.
We were promised many things. "Kazakhmys" was not low on promises! It is impossible to remember everything. There was even a plan for a pig farm and giant slaughterhouse. One MP, a certain Egorov, promised to install a automobile factory to assemble "Mercedes". The President of the regional union, Borodaev, instead of defending the rights of workers trying to convince us that we would be employed in a factory making toilet paper. He even came to Gloubokoe with rolls of paper towels. Our MP, secretary of the regional administration, Akhaev, put forward this rhetorically brilliant perspective. For the next election, moreover, he did not dare run in our district, he ran in the neighboring district. "Kazakhmys" has promised, by way of compensation, to build a stadium Gloubokoe with European standards.
But people have not fallen for all these promises. At the end of 2003, we organized a powerful rally. There were 5000 participants, half the population of the city. At the end of the meeting, we sang the Internationale. The TV, the press reported on us. It was after that the authorities and "Kazakhmys" changed tactics.
What have you been promised this time?
There is nothing new under the sun. Money. "Kazakhmys" has undertaken to pay all laid-off workers compensation equal to half their salary. Some surely have thought that they would no longer need to work with a guaranteed half salary for life. "Kazakhmys" also promised to supply coal for five years to the boiler room of the city, which meant almost free heating.
We tried to convince workers that these promises would not be kept. But it was in vain. People went to sign the agreement in exchange for pledging not to participate in any demonstration
ILC: And finally, what happened?
What we had expected. "Kazarkhmys" has reneged on is promise. And the worst is that everything was legal. There is a point in the agreement that says that wages would be paid only if resources permitted it. This point was crucial. No resources means no pay. And "Kazakhmys" decides whether these exist or not. The momentum of the fight was broken and then "Kazakhmys" broke all his promises.
ILC: And the factory re-conversion?
Same thing. "Kazakhmys" has built nothing. The sausage workshop did not last long. And the wool producing facility that currently exists was not installed by "Kazakhmys". In addition it has taken a small number of workers of IMZ and running in slow motion. That is why the workers had to resolve by themselves, each on their own, the problem of work and survival.
The only promise kept by Kazakhmys is supplying the boiler. But this year was the last.
ILC: What can be learned from the experience of the struggle of IMZ workers?
Do not get caught in the promise of capitalism. And read carefully before signing anything.
Workers must protect their interests and not to "put themselves in the shoes" of the bosses. Now, with the crisis, they say that it is difficult for everyone. But the difficulties of the worker is left without work and without pain is something else that the difficulties of a capitalist.
Recently, I participated in an international forum of the labor movement in Paris. Europe is up. In European capitals, major cities, there are rallies, meetings. European trade unions have cooperative relations. That is why governments allocate large resources to support business, they even go far as to nationalize them.
There are resources. But the bulk go to the banks. And the Prime Minister expressed surprise: Why has the money still not gone to specific companies? To all those that are threatened with layoffs or downsizing, I can advise one thing: unite, prepare your demands and defend them all together, as the law allows. Call on unions to more actively defend workers' rights. If unions are unwilling or afraid to do this, set up an independent union.
ILC: Ivan Mikahilovitch, can you tell us about the present struggle of workers to defend their rights?
The most important thing is, of course, the strike at Janaozen. Some of the workers began a hunger strike, those who are too weak have been replaced by others and, for the moment, the collective stands firm on its positions. Among the demands, there is the transfer of the company from its private owner to the national company "Kazmounaïgaz."
In Ukraine there was an interesting experience. Workers in the agricultural machinery factory in Kherson, who learned they were all fired (and there are nearly 1000), entered government offices and occupied the large room.
The action was so important that the prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has ordered ways to support the plant, pay harvesters and also pay the workers. But workers were not satisfied with these measures.
I want to clarify immediately that I am not calling on workers to take any such measures. And I ask the police not to worry. I provide information that can be found elsewhere in the press. It is up to each to find their way to fight for their rights without flinching, which is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
1) Allusion to the story of the fisherman and the little gold fish.
"A horror scene" (The Financial Times)
As the ink dried on the IMF report that predicted a catastrophic situation for Europe, particularly for Britain, Alistair Darling, the British minister of finances for the Brown government, presented his budget for fiscal year 2009-2010.
It is a war budget submitted by the Minister. A war budget against the British working class.
Mr. Alistair Darling could not hide the fact that, having pocketed hundreds of billions of pounds to bail out the banks and the British employers, there continue to be thousands of layoffs.
The number of unemployed increased by 177 000 in the last three months, reaching a total of 2.1 million, and the government itself predicts that by the end of the year, this number will reach 3 to 3.5 million
Given this, the budget of the Brown government puts forward more taxes and cuts in public services for eight years. The budget for public services will be cut by 5 billion pounds.
Starting this year, oil prices will increase, an increase that will be renewed and adjusted up each of the next four years.
The budget for public services will be cut by 5 billion pounds for each of the next eight years, which means there are still more privatizations coming in health, jobs and education.
The dismissal of 100 000 civil servants is already planned, as is the liquidation of employment agencies.
The country is bled dry. As an editorial in the Financial Times says it is a "horror scene."
David Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the public services union, has criticized Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, saying: "Our patience has limits. The country is in a catastrophic situation. We expect the Government to take serious measures. "
This undoubtedly expresses the demand of millions of workers that put Gordon Brown into power.
Save the workers, not the banks.
This means first of all that the vast sums that were paid to the banks be repaid immediately and that the banks be nationalized, so that Gordon Brown, leader of the party of the working class and British Prime Minister, can pass a law immediately prohibiting layoffs.
Workers' Party and Democracy-PTD -
Farmers are deprived of the instruments of production (land, livestock) to ensure their survival.
Workers, peasants and young people, we have the strength and determination to produce so that we can live in dignity.
Due to the disengagement of the State in the coffee sector, some farmers have to destroy their coffee that brings in almost nothing while others sell their meager production in neighboring countries where the purchase price of coffee is relatively higher, which is not without consequence for the income of the State.
Because of this same policy of privatization, the tea industry is also deeply affected as well, while the Office of tea from Burundi had always coordinated this cultivation, producers last one or two months without pay or spend days and nights to the collection centers with their production, which deteriorates during this time.
Considering these realities, we unanimously concluded that this situation is the result of applying the so-called "Strategic Framework for the fight against poverty" of the World Bank, the IMF and the multinationals that only increase, every day, our misery.
We consider it appropriate to break with this policy to save our province and the country as a whole.
We found that the situation in health is more than disturbing; health care has become very difficult to access because of the widespread poverty of the population.
It is therefore important to undertake, without delay, negotiations between the government and the doctors who are on strike so that they can have their rights defended. The health sector, like others, should remain public.
We learned that the country has benefited from a reduction of its external debt. Therefore isn't there a need to cancel all the foreign debt and allocate these funds for the reconstruction of Burundi, to create a national program of public works to combat unemployment and to restructure the production system? Isn't it also necessary to stop the privatization and renationalize privatized sectors (including coffee and tea) and to nationalize all the resources and wealth of the country without compensation?
We, municipal leaders of the PTD of Kayanza province, continue to believe that the workers, peasants and young people should not accept being pitted against each other and must be later than what separates them in terms opinion on any issue.
We invite everyone to achieve unity through discussion on what we can to survive and save this country, in solidarity with other peoples of the world because these are questions facing the whole of humanity hit by the global recession of the market economy.
Kayanza, the 10/4/2009.
For the provincial conference of Kayanza,
Legal representative of the Party
Since then, the management has threatened layoffs against the representatives, who denounced these measures in the letter you find below.
Since May 26, 2008, we adopted and filed a platform of demands that includes two points:
- Adoption of a new salary scale;
- Establishment of a company-wide contract.
The establishment of an company contract remains unresolved.
The reason for this refusal is that only the French employees have company-wide contract, because the French Labor Code demands it.
We believe that workers deserve respect from you and we await the resolution of this problem in order to give Burkina Total an important tool for employees.
On the salary grid, we are still waiting a year after the registration
of our platform (...).
You have decided to "rid" yourselves of the workers representatives.
It is in this context that you submitted an application for dismissal
of worker representatives to Ms. Lefebre, Regional Director of Labor,
arguing that the sit-in was be illegal (...).
Geneva -- Saturday June 6, 2009
XVI International Meeting "In Defense of ILO Conventions and the independence of trade unions "organized at the initiative of the ILC
Throughout the world trade unions are ordered to "take their place at the table" of international capital and "participate." The ILC is organizing on June 6 in Geneva, for the sixteenth consecutive year, an international conference to defend the independence of trade unions and conventions of the International Labor Organization.
The ILC International Newsletter is publishing documents to open a discussion in the international workers' movement.
In No. 332 we published the respective statements of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Global Unions and the union KCTU concerning the summit of the G20.
In No. 333, was published a text by Roger Sandri concerning "high level" the tripartite meeting on the financial crisis and global economy, held in Geneva at ILO headquarters, March 23, 2009.
In the coming issues we will publish the contributions of Chinese workers activists concerning the right of the Chinese working class to freely organize.
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