Huge All India General Strike against Neo-liberalism on Sept 2

WORKINS congratulates the Indian trade union movement on its huge general strike on Friday, September 2, 2016, which involved 180 million workers. The union action was against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of Narendra Modi’s BJP government. A similar strike at the same time last year mobilised 140 million workers. This year’s strike had a sharper focus on defending public sector workers and fighting privatisation.

india-general-strike-2-020916Photo: CITU

The September 2 strike is an inspiration to trade unions and workers everywhere, especially in the struggle to lift minimum wages and to mobilise the unorganized.

WORKINS supports the call for the end of contractorization on all aspects of work, not only in permanent or perennial working arrangements!

WORKINS condemns the police violence and calls for the immediate release of the 34 workers and union leaders arrested in Gurgaon, West Bengal!

The Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal used the brutal force of its police as well as its goons to physically attack the workers on strike. There were clashes in several districts as workers resisted the use of force. Section 144, which bans gatherings of 10 or more people in a specific area, was imposed in several industrial areas – Gurgaon, Faridabad in Haryana, Nodia etc. 12 workers of Maruti Suzuki and 22 transport union leaders were arrested in Gurgaon. Police went to workers’ residential areas in Gurgaon to coerce contract workers who were on strike, to join work. The West Bengal transport minister directed the suspension of striking employees. TMC (Trinamool Congress Party – the ruling party in West Bengal) goons attacked processions of striking workers, youth, women and even journalists in Burdwan and many other places.

Employees and workers from all sectors of the country’s economy – organised and unorganised, public sector and private sector, central and state government departments, and the scheme workers participated in this strike. In all the strategic sectors of the economy – coal and non-coal mines, electricity, engineering, petroleum, defence production, telecom and the financial sector like banks and insurance – the workers and employees took part in the strike in a big way, well beyond the organised membership of the 10 union centers.

The strike was well-prepared by the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs) along with Independent National Federations of employees of different industries and services including the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers

Last-minute concessions by the Finance and Labour Ministries, including a 104-rupee (US$1.57) rise in unskilled workers’ daily minimum wage to 350 rupees (US$5.27), could not ward off the strike. The union demand was for a 692 rupee (US$10.43) daily minimum wage.

Just one major union pulled out of the national strike after this wage concession: the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which, like the ruling BJP, is an affiliate of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

There had been no negotiations between the Modi government and the union movement since prior to the 2015 General Strike.

12 Point Charter of Demands of Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions submitted to government:

  1. Urgent measures for containing price rise through universalization of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market.
  2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation.
  3. Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
  4. Universal social security cover for all workers.
  5. Minimum wage of not less than 18000/- (US$272) per month with provisions of indexation (for unskilled worker).
  6. Assured enhanced pension not less than 3000 (US$42.50) p.m for the entire working population (including unorganized sector workers).
  7. Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/state public sector undertakings.
  8. Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent/perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as that of regular workers for the same and similar work.
  9. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and increase in quantum of gratuity.
  10. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application and immediate ratification of ILO conventions C-87 and C-98.
  11. No Foreign Direct Investment in Railways, Defence and other strategic sectors.
  12. No unilateral amendment to labour laws.

Demand of the Central Govt. Employees

  1. Avoid delay in implementing the assurances given by Group of Ministers to NJCA (National Joint Council of Action) on 30th June 2016, especially increase in minimum pay fitment formula. Implement the assurance in a time bound manner.
  2. Settle issues raised by the NJCA, regarding modifications of the 7th CPC (Central Pay Commission) recommendations, submitted to Cabinet Secretary on 10th December 2015.
  3. Scrap PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) Act and New Pension System (NPS) and grant Pension/Family Pension to all Central Government employees under CCS (Pension) Rules 1972.
  4. No privatization, outsourcing, contractorisation of Government functions.
  5. (i) Treat Gramin Dak Sevaks [Gramin dak sevaks are extra-departmental agents recruited by the postal department to serve in rural areas] as Civil Servants and extend all benefits on pay, pension and allowances of departmental employees.

(ii) Regularise casual, contract, contingent and daily rated workers and grant equal pay and other benefits.

  1. Fill up all vacant posts by special recruitment. Lift ban on creation of new posts.
  2. Remove ceiling on compassionate appointments.
  3. Extend benefit of Bonus Act amendment 2015 on enhancement of payment ceiling to the Adhoc bonus/PLB (Productivity-Linked Bonus) of Central Govt. employees with effect from the financial years 2014-15. Ensure payment of revised bonus before Pooja holidays.
  4. Revive JCM [Joint Consultative Machinery] functioning at all levels.

Send a message of support

Your union can send a message of support to the Indian workers’ struggle at

New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) secretariat@ntui.org.in

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) citu@bol.net.in

http://citucentre.org/index.php/component/k2/item/103-2nd-september-2016-general-strike-reflection-of-workers-anger

Sept 12, 2016. Authorised by WORKINS (Workers international Struggle Initiatives) and ILPS Workers Commission (International League of Peoples Struggles)

Download pdf of this statement here.

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May Day 2016 – Mobilise for our rights as capitalism crashes into deeper crisis!

May 1, 2016

Mobilise for our rights as capitalism crashes into deeper crisis!

Let’s work to change the system itself!

Workers International Struggle Initiatives (WORKINS) and the trade union section of the International League of Peoples Struggles call for an anti-imperialist united front to:

  • struggle to lift minimum wages everywhere;
  • increase wages and working conditions;
  • fiercely resist the privatization drive, and the intense attack on public services, pensions, and workers’ rights in all countries by big finance capital.
  • uphold migrant and refugee rights

We must educate and mobilize a global workers’ movement for democratic pro-people transformation of our economies. Otherwise the big capitalists will use the deepening crisis to foment racist divisions among workers and peoples to enable ever worse austerity and repression of democratic rights.

Expand economic struggles and turn them into political struggles

This is the way to expand and strengthen the trade union movement. Socialism for our times is an answer to the shocking racism being promoted by big capitalists, especially in Europe and the USA. The massive Indian trade union general strike in September 2015 to increase the minimum wages and oppose a neo-liberal labor code shows what can be done.

The capitalists are pressing down wages, promoting labor ‘flexibility’, and stealing workers’ social benefits – so our answer must be to strengthen the workers’ and people’s struggle to higher wages, regular jobs, better working conditions and genuine social change.

The Great Recession of 2008-09 is far from over, nor is the global economy experiencing “recovery”. It is an ongoing global depression, with ever more desperate measures by Central Banks to kickstart profit growth. Big finance capital fears another crash.

More desperate political measures are being used to push back the successful workers and people’s movements in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and France as they resist savage austerity and oust neo-liberal political parties in elections.

With the end of massive money printing by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are being hit by economic crisis and open coup attempts by the corrupt neo-liberal forces supported by the US government.

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

The poor countries, especially in Asia and Africa, 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.

Every day thousands of men, women and children fleeing war and poverty finally meet death, on land or sea. Those who escape death – refugees or migrants – are exploited, assaulted. They confront racism, prostitution, drugs, corrupt officials and criminal gangs

As the competition between the imperial centers gets more desperate, the big US corporations have tried to seize the advantage by pushing the ultra neo-liberal schemes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These would impose US regulation on most of the globe. The European Union is doing the same in Africa. US corporations continue to press for the same goals through the World Trade Organisation but have largely been blocked by the farmers’ movements in poor countries.

Working men and women everywhere are deeply questioning the capitalist system and on this May Day 2016 we must mobilise, unite and campaign for change to a democratic and sustainable world.

Trade unions, migrant worker organisations, worker cooperatives and worker organizing centers are creating a renewed global workers’ movement. Join it!

  • Increase the national minimum wages and working conditions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific, and everywhere!
  • Workers’ rights instead of ‘flexibilization’ and ‘contractualization’. Close down global placement agencies.
  • Oppose imperial wars, oppose terrorism, uphold migrant and refugee rights.
  • Strengthen the campaign against trade union repression and criminalization of worker and labor advocates.

Authorised by WORKINS (Workers international Struggle Initiatives) and ILPS Union Commission (International League of Peoples Struggles) https://workins.wordpress.com http://ilps.info

Download a pdf version of this statement.

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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

12342780_10153356771333721_1500252380055593565_n Stop_TPP_091215 IMG_0174

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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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