Labour Movement

The fight is on at British Airways

by Sadie Robinson Source: Socialist Worker Online. 19 March 2010 Factsheet: British Airways Strike - The Facts Unite union officials have confirmed that a three-day strike of British Airways cabin crew will go ahead. It begins tomorrow. The announcement follows an angry mass meeting today where cabin crew demanded that union officials go ahead with the action.

(This article is written in English only)

(This article is written in English.)

China's free-trade shot in Asia's arm

By Marwaan Macan-Markar Source: Inter Press Service via Asia Times BANGKOK - China and, initially, six of its Asian neighbors enacted the world's largest free trade area at the start of the year. Billed as a welcome boost for the economies of its Asian partners, some analysts also see it as a panacea for the region as they battle through the global financial crisis. Such optimism stems from the free-trade pact cementing a relationship that has seen the value of trade between the world's fastest-growing major economy and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) jump six-fold since 2000 to US$193 billion.

Thousands rally against free trade treaty in Surabaya, Semarang

The Jakarta Post,  Thu, 01/21/2010 Thousands of workers took to the streets in Surabaya, East Java, and Semarang, Central Java, on Thursday to protest the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), Antara state news agency reported. The protesters in Surabaya, who came from the East Java regencies of Gresik, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Mojokerto and Jombang, staged their protest rally outside the East Java Legislative Council on Jl. Indragiri.

Postal workers have to pay for privatization

Lot van Baaren, Paul Benschop Source: International Viewpoint Online magazine : IV421 - February 2010 It’s 1989, PTT Post, the Dutch state-owned postal company, is privatized. During the following years the company is split up in different parts responsible for postal deliveries, telegraph and telephones. The different parts are made independent and the stocks are sold on the market. The post is not the only publicly owned or controlled company that is privatized and sold off. The Dutch railways, the former state-owned mines – now a chemicals company – and public services follow. Neoliberalism and all it entails has become the dominant way of thought.

Turkey: Will Hunger Strike of Tekel Workers Lead to General Strike?

by Tolga Korkut (Monthly Review) Six union confederations in Turkey have announced that they will go on a general strike if the government does not respond to the Tekel workers' demands by 26 January 2010.  The hunger strike mentioned below is now on hold pending the government response by the deadline.  -- Ed. Worker Yaşar from the Tek Gıda-İş union: "The workers expect the confederations to put a general strike on the agenda.  There is no area left that was not attacked by the government.  The hunger strike was our last resort.  If I died today, my children would benefit from a higher pension".

Tekel workers decide to continue demonstrations

(Source: Today's Zaman. 7 January 2010) Workers dismissed from Tekel, Turkey’s alcohol and tobacco monopoly, decided on Wednesday to continue their demonstrations, which have now entered their 23rd straight day, in protest of factory closures. The results of a vote conducted among workers countrywide revealed that some 8,150 out of 8,180 valid ballots were cast in favor of continuing the demonstrations.

The Labour Movement and Politics - Do They Mix?

Labour movements in Asia employ a wide range of means to defend workers from the control of capital, and make gains in their ability to control their work conditions and participate in decision-making about their welfares as workers and citizens. The key known tools are those of collective bargaining with employers at the workplace. They may also engage in actions including strikes, protests and demonstrations, with the target of their actions being either employers or the government, or even public sympathy. Another major avenue is through battle in courts, challenging capital through judicial processes. These are methods guaranteed by constitution, but confined by regulatory frameworks, such as the labour law, the trade union law, freedom of expression, etc. However, while offering leverage and protection to the trade unions and workers, they also put up barriers and narrow the range of measures workers can take to bargain for improving their conditions. Going beyond the legal frameworks immediately puts workers into illegal status or even criminality. Workers are forced to struggle politically as well as economically, when the state and its related institutions tend to limit workers’ legally acceptable demands to economic ones only. This explains the immediate interest of the labour movement in state and politics – ‘politics’ understood in the limited sense of electoral politics.

Labour Politics not as we know it: Politics of Labour in East Asia

In democratic politics, the art of the possible means the art of extending the possible, the art of creating the possible out of the impossible. It is true that the logic of realpolitik is the only logic that is effective in the state of public despair. Democratic politics has the power to bring about a political change of state and make possible what was impossible before. This is not sentimental idealism but plain realism: it can happen and it does happen.
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