Solidarity with the people of Brussels, condemn terrorist bombings everywhere

WORKINS, a global network of trade union organisations initiated by the International League of People’s Struggles, completely condemns the March 22 2016 morning bombings at Brussels’ Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station, which killed at least 31 people and wounded at least 316. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all those affected by this terrible crime.

We join with the Belgian trade unions, and the international trade union organisations based in Brussels – the International Trade Union Confederation, IndustriAll, the Public Services International, the European Trade Union Confederation and the European Federation of Public Service Unions. We call for solidarity, oppose fear, hatred and division, and salute the workers and people of Brussels who responded with generosity and care.

These Brussels bombings, coming so soon after the massacres in Paris last November, make the West feel something like the massive impact of the car bombings in Turkey and Lebanon in recent months, as well as the much greater devastation of the wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. The terrorist bombings in Africa (Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina, Kenya, Somalia) have killed thousands of innocent people. All these are part of the one complex conflict triggered by imperial ambition in the Middle East and African regions.

WORKINS urges an end to this conflict which has killed so many farmers and workers on all sides, and this end should come by negotiation instead of escalated military action and ever more death and destruction. The talks to end the Syrian war are an important opportunity.

All imperial-inspired conflicts are to be abhorred and must stop. Who will be the next?

We condemn imperialism for inspiring the terrorism unleashed by different groups against the people, and the spread of anti-migrant and racist sentiment following crimes like the Brussels bombings. We oppose any new moves by imperialist governments to intensify military aggression and use new laws to suppress the peoples’ struggles anywhere.

Until now, trade union engagement in the campaign to end the wars in the Middle East and Africa has been patchy and sporadic. But the murder of so many workers and farmers, the abuse of so many women and children, and the surge of refugees fleeing the conflict areas, must motivate a more focused and sustained effort by the global workers’ movement. The beginning of this is more education about global conflicts and war, and more engagement in peace movements in our countries to demand justice and democracy everywhere.

download pdf of this statement

WORKINS –https://workins.wordpress.com International League of People’s Struggles http://ilps.info

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Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

Workers and people of different countries oppose the  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was signed amid huge protests in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 4, 2016.

The signing by representatives of 12 countries marks the beginning of a processes by which their countries will begin to attempt to ratify the agreement. This process could take two years, and is a major opportunity for workers’ and people’s campaigns to block ratification in the TPP countries.

It would also enable multinational corporations and financial oligarchs to challenge national regulations on workers’ and people’s rights, foreign ownership on land and vital industries, and finance.

Multinational corporations especially from the US, have long been pushing for TPP. Widely recognized as one of the worst trade acts in history, it is no wonder that its contents have long been kept a secret by those responsible for its drafting who are mainly corporate lobbyists.

TPP is anti-worker and anti-people. Some of the most devastating consequences of TPP are:

  • Workers will receive lower wages and their working conditions will worsen. Employers will be empowered and incentivized to drive down wages. The increased market power of multinationals will worsen the pressure both on governments to create means for legitimating lower wages and on local firms who compete for contracts with these multinationals by lowering the costs of their production by cutting wages and health and safety measures.
  • Labor standards will be further eroded. Foreign firms will have the power to attack national laws that protect labor, environment, and citizens’ health through the much-discussed investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals, claiming that these laws ‘harm’ their investments. The tribunals are composed of private trade lawyers, and enable firms to sue national governments for unlimited amounts of tax-payer money. Apart from the fact that foreign firms can bypass national judicial systems, the ISDS tribunals feature little transparency, allow a ‘judge’ in one case to be a corporate advocate in another case, recognise no precedents, and allow for no appeal. In fact, these tribunals are not real courts at all, but are biased to investors.
  • Workers and their families will have less access to health care and cheaper medicines. Medicine will become more expensive everywhere, but with especially grave consequences in poorer countries. Due to its expanded intellectual property rights, TPP rules will require changes in national laws in order to increase the monopoly power of pharmaceutical companies. With prices so high, many in need will have to struggle on, with their health issues untreated.
  • Workers and people will be more vulnerable to climate change disasters. TPP will result in increased carbon emissions and it will empower corporations to challenge laws that ban environmentally destructive practices such as fracking. This is more serious given the recent failure of COP21 to produce any binding agreements toward combating climate change, which has already produced weather fluctuations resulting in devastating disasters particularly in the poorest countries which have the least infrastructural capacity to respond to them.

With the signing of TPP, now more than ever, workers must take action to block ratification. Our campaign to stop the TPP must continue to build momentum.

Let us oppose attacks on jobs, access to healthcare, environment, information and national sovereignty.

Let us oppose the TPP, its subsequent ratification by governments who signed, and the plans for more governments subservient to US policy to sign on to the TPP against the will of the people.

 

 

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Cambodian Apparel Workers – We support your demand for US$177 per month minimum wage

December 10, 2015
Athit Kong
Vice President
Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU)
Phnom Penh
CAMBODIA
We support your demand for US$177 per month minimum wage
WE trade unionists unite on this day to support your campaign demand for a minimum wage for Apparel workers of U$177 per month.
We salute the 700,000 apparel workers in Cambodia, 90 per cent of them women, who are the backbone of the Cambodian export economy.
We are appalled that you have to suffer low wages, anti-union discrimination, the anti-worker Draft Trade Union Law, abuse of short-term contracts and grossly inadequate social protection.
We salute you for the brave campaign of 2014-15 which has already achieved a minimum wage of US$128 per month, but this wage is far too low to even feed you and your families, and represents gross exploitation by the capitalists.
We are shocked that a 2014 ILO study found that 43.2 per cent of garment workers surveyed suffer from anemia and 15.7 per cent of workers are underweight according to the Asian Body Mass Index (BMI). As a result, many workers faint from lack of nutrition and heat, live in crowded homes, and cannot afford hospital care or education for their children, or provide support for parents in the province.
Your recent Survey on Consumption Expenditure of Garment & Footwear Workers in Cambodia showed that the median consumption expenditure for one garment worker is US$207.50 per month, and this should be the minimum wage.
Your Day of Action on the Minimum Wage on October 7 was a wonderful mobilization and expression of unity of the workers, and achieved a new offer from the capitalists of US$140 per month, a grossly inadequate offer.
May your action today make the breakthrough to US$177 as a real step forward for Apparel Workers in Cambodia, toward your major objectives of a genuine minimum wage, and for negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements with the major global brands who are your real employers.
May your struggle today open the pathway for all Cambodian workers to win a genuine minimum wage, freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
In solidarity
Peter Murphy
WORKINSInternational League of People’s Struggles

Download pdf WORKINS Cambodian Apparel Workers support message

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Sydney action for December 10 International Human Rights Day 2015

Because of the large number of official events on December 10 – today – we held our action yesterday on December 9, after a morning forum on the working conditions of Visa 457, Working Holiday Visa and Student Visa holders which was held in the finance centre of the Sydney CBD.

Our intention was to defend and assert workers’ rights, support the Cambodian Apparel Workers minimum wage demand, and to protest at the neo-liberal capitalist abuse of the World Trade Organisation and the recently agreed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Peter Murphy – Philippines Australia Union Link

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Workshop on Workers’ Concerns

Fifth International Assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggles

Manila, November 14-16, 2015

 

 

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Key Dates for International Solidarity

November 16

International Day of Action against Trade Union Repression – Join solidarity actions worldwide.

 

Nov 20

Solidarity action for Cambodian workers’ struggle for higher minimum wage – Join solidarity actions worldwide

 

Nov 24-27

Support Indonesian trade unions against the new government minimum wage regulation –  Join solidarity actions worldwide.

 

Support the struggle for the reinstatement of 1,300 dismissed workers of Adidas – Send protest letter to Adidas stores and German and Japanese embassies.

 

November 29

Support International Solidarity Day with Palestine – Join solidarity actions worldwide.

 

December 2

International Day of action on Workplace Safety (Bhopal anniversary) – Join solidarity actions worldwide.

 

December 10

Solidarity action for Cambodian workers’ struggle for higher minimum wage – Join solidarity actions worldwide

 

December 14

Support Philippines’ nationwide transport protest against plan to phase out jeepneys starting January 1, 2016 – Send protest letters to Philippine government.

 

Dec 18

Migrant Workers Day of Action

 

March 8

International Women’s Day

 

May 1

International Labour Day

 

October 16

International Food Sovereignty Day – International Foodless Day

 

 

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Resolution of Workers’ Commission (ILPS 5th International Assembly)

Educate, organise and mobilise an international movement of workers to confront the global capitalist crisis, oppose wars of aggression and promote workers’ alternatives for our world!

The Fifth International Assembly of the ILPS meets in defiance of the APEC Leaders Meeting in the Philippines, to resist its drive for ever more neo-liberal anti-worker and anti-people programs.

The Workers and Trade Union Workshop calls for genuine trade unions everywhere to join Workers International Struggle Initiatives (WORKINS)as an anti-imperialist united front to struggle to lift minimum wages everywhere, to increase wages and working conditions, and to fiercely resist the intense attack on public services, pensions, and workers’ rights in all countries by big finance capital. WORKINS will contribute to the education and mobilization of a global workers’ movement for democratic pro-people transformation of our economies.

The Great Recession of 2008-09 was centred in the biggest capitalist economies in the USA and Europe, and arose from the nature of capitalism as a system based on the need for ever-expanding profits and super profits. The biggest capitalist interests have turned to their advantage the ongoing global capitalist crisis that they themselves have created, by directly extracting public funds and by big attacks on workers’ and people’s rights, including workplace health and safety.

The Great Recession of 2008-09 is far from over, nor is the global economy experiencing “recovery”. It is an ongoing global depression, if this is measured as more than two quarters of shrinking or low growth with continuing high or rising unemployment. This applies in big economies like the USA, UK, Japan, France and Italy, and smaller ones like Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, and most of Eastern Europe. With the end of massive money printing by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, even Latin America and the Caribbean countries that managed comparatively better since 2009 are now facing recession and inflation.

As well, the global ecological crisis as manifest in global warming, continues to create climate refugees, causing deaths, and threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people now and the prospects for future generations.

Agricultural workers and peasants are greatly impacted by the wave of free trade agreements, the ongoing impact of the 1995 World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture, and by climate change. The free market in foodstuffs is itself creating a profound food insecurity across the world, which organised peasants are working to regulate.

Workers’ struggles in China and India are pushing back the extreme exploitation they have suffered and slowly denying the old and new capitalists the super-profits they have enjoyed for the last two decades.

In Africa, especially South Africa, trade unions have stopped the privatisation drive in its tracks and fought hard to improve wages and living standards, but face staggering levels of unemployment.

The poor countries, especially in Asia, continue to experience chronic high unemployment and under-employment. Low value-adding export sectors make them profoundly dependent on external conditions. Even Asia’s richest economy, Japan, is struggling to break out of more than two decades of recession and deflation through the neo-liberal shock policies of the Abe government.

The capitalist institutions which drive the assault on the people are the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the European Commission, and European Central Bank. The G7 and the G20 provide the political cover for this strategy. Now they are advancing the neo-liberal agenda through aggressive economic treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as through the World Trade Organisation.

Trade union and workers movements in all countries have mobilised to some extent to confront these dramatic challenges, but remain largely trapped in the framework of global capitalist production and marketing relations in their efforts to develop a policy response. Therefore the main demands have been to increase government spending and borrowing to maintain welfare payments and to stimulate corporate production and consumer spending, and to protect trade union organising and bargaining rights. Instead, austerity programs have been rammed through, especially in Europe, and especially in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

While union leaderships around the world may be trapped in outdated frameworks, working men and women everywhere are deeply questioning the system and in many countries have taken to the streets to fight for deep change, in both rich and poor countries. The Greek workers and people have been at the forefront of this dramatic clash of class forces.

In Latin America in particular, decades of education and organising work has already produced many governments which are striving for a deeper democracy and have succeeded in creating some alternative economic systems and new development pathways which are independent of the global capitalist market. An important workers’ control movement is growing in Venezuela and Argentina. In Cuba the people have created a more resilient and diversified economy in the teeth of the US blockade and after the collapse of their main trading partner, the Soviet Union, 25 years ago. Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia have created the ALBA – the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean, a pro-people trading bloc. ALBA is expanding.

The strongest ‘emerging economies’ – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – have worked hard to develop a global development bank as an alternative to the World Bank and its regional branches. China has led the development of a similar infrastructure bank for Asia.

A new international movement of working men and women will help transform the global workers’ struggle because all genuine union leaders are open to new ideas about how to meet today’s challenges, and democratic unions can renew their leaderships as the campaigns and struggles develop in the coming months and years. Migrant worker organisations, workers cooperative and worker organizing centers and other organization from the informal sector must be part of the new global workers’ movement.

At the 4th ILPS International Assembly in Manila in July 2011, the workers and trade union workshop analysed the impact of the global economic crisis on the workers, particularly looking at privatisation, flexible labor initiatives, and direct repression of workers, as well as workers’ resistance.

The workshop resolved to launch a new international workers’ movement to push for people’s alternatives to capitalism and to oppose wars of aggression, and this was achieved when WORKINS was launched by trade unions at the People’s Global Camp at Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, during the WTO Ministerial in December 2013.

Now at the conclusion of the ILPS 5th International Assembly, held on November 14-16, 2015, we resolve to recruit more unions to the ILPS and to WORKINS, to

  • Develop a campaign to increase the national minimum wages in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the coming period.
  • Develop a campaign against flexibilization of labor and contractualization that attack workers’ wages and rights. Develop a campaign for the elimination of global placement agencies.
  • Promote building solidarity among workers in global supply chains including with collective actions.
  • Address the issue of joblessness and displacement of communities due to demolitions facilitated by private-public partnerships and privatization.
  • Promote the organising work of the Temporary Foreign Workers Association and the Immigrant Workers Centre of Quebec, Canada.
  • Create links using low-cost technology with all union and workers movements in struggle.
  • Strengthen the campaign against trade union repression and criminalization of workers and labor advocates. Develop a campaign for the release of political prisoners who are workers, union leaders and labor rights advocates, and a campaign for justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings of workers, union leaders and labor rights advocates. Expose and oppose state terrorism against workers.
  • Create education materials to explain the unfolding capitalist crisis to workers in all sectors and on workers’ alternatives to capitalism, including cooperatives, workers’ control, public ownership, pro-people international trading relations, and socialism.
  • Mobilise in solidarity with specific trade union and people’s campaigns, such as those now underway in Indonesia, the Philippines, China, India, Greece, Spain, Ireland, the USA, and in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Colombia and other countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Defend and consolidate the achievements of workers’ struggles and defend against repression of organized labor by the capitalists.
  • Develop cultural work among workers. Establish cultural committees in the different levels of trade unions.
  • Link up the workers movement to the peasant, women’s, migrants, student and other militant social sectors.

 

Plans:

  1. Support the Migrant Workers Day of Action – Dec 18
  2. Support the International Day of Action against trade union and worker repression on Nov. 16, to mark the anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre on Nov 16, 2004.
  3. Solidarity actions on November 20 and December 10, 2015 – for Cambodian workers’ struggle for higher minimum wage
  4. Support the $15 per hour minimum wage campaign in Canada and the United States
  5. Support International Solidarity Day with Palestine November 29
  6. Support internationally-coordinated actions on May 1, International Labor Day
  7. Support March 8 – International Women’s Day
  8. Support October 16 – International Food Sovereignty Day – International Foodless Day
  9. Support December 2 – International Solidarity Day of Action Workplace Safety – on Bhopal anniversary
  10. Philippines – support December14 nationwide transport protest against plan to phase out jeepneys from January 1, 2016
  11. Philippines – Support Dole Philippines workers certification election campaign vs. yellow union, February 19, 2016
  12. Support international solidarity campaigns of public sector workers on wages, jobs, rights and privatization.
  13. Philippines – support union campaigns to defend public sector agencies under threat of privatisation – National Food Authority, National Housing Authority, and Philippine National Railways.
  14. Website on activities of Commission 5, WORKINS and other activities, using multiple languages.
  15. Support campaigns for all factories that go bankrupt and are occupied by the workers to be put under worker control and that the goods of companies that use slave labour, forced labour or trafficking, be passed to the control of the workers, and that the informal workers be incorporated into unions and recognized with the same union, labour and social rights as formal workers.
  16. Philippines – invitation to attend the KMU International Solidarity Affairs around May Day each year.
  17. Australia – support trade union mobilization to defend wages and workers’ rights against the Conservative government attack.
  18. Issue a statement to support Indonesian trade unions against the government new minimum wage regulation by WORKINS and ILPS. Support the actions days on November 24-27.
  19. Indonesia – Support the struggle for the reinstatement of 1,300 dismissed ADIDAS workers. Send protest letters to the ADIDAS and hold actions at German and Japanese embassies.
  20. Create a WORKINS brochure to encourage unions and workers organizations to join WORKINS and ILPS.
  21. Philippines – Support the struggle of the Tanduay workers through boycott of Tanduay products and sending protest letters calling on the business tycoon Lucio Tan to adhere to the Supreme Court decision in favor of the workers.
  22. Philippines – Support the campaign of the banana industry growers and workers against SUMIFRU regarding unfair labor practices, piece rate system and militarization and criminalization of workers.
  23. Philippines – Support the campaign of Manilakbayan 2015 of Mindanao and support the people’s resistance against militarization and plunder in Mindanao. Send protest letters to the President of the Philippines and organize protest actions.
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