International unions

Italy: complete the anti-fascist revolution

Of the three aggressor nations that made up the Axis during the Second World War, only one saw its population rise up and topple a dictatorship. While the populations of Germany and Japan remained largely supportive of the regimes right up to the surrender, the Italians ousted Mussolini in 1943, bringing an end to the fascist era. And in 1945, the former dictator was captured and killed by Italian partisans. Italians are rightly proud of this fact, but there’s another side to the story — one which we saw in action this last weekend, 9-10 October — and that’s the continuing presence of openly...

All-out metals strike in South Africa

Metal and engineering workers in South Africa, members of the left-wing National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA), have been on indefinite strike over pay and conditions since 5 October. NUMSA is calling for an 8% wage rise for everyone in the first year of a deal, and inflation plus 2% in the following two years. Employers have offered 4.4%, then inflation plus 0.5% and inflation plus 1%. NUMSA is South Africa's biggest union, with over 300,000 members. The strike has already faced violence, including rubber bullets from the police and a striker killed by a car ploughing into a group of workers...

Fascists smash union office in Rome

Fascists stormed and wrecked the Rome headquarters of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest trade union federation, at an anti-vaccination demonstration on 9 October. The far right mobilised protests in multiple Italian cities to oppose the introduction of a health certificate or “green pass” to enter workplaces from 15 October (any worker who fails to produce the certificate can be suspended without pay, but not sacked). There were at least ten thousand on the streets in Rome. The attack on the CGIL building was led by activists from the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party, who used metal bars to smash their...

Hong Kong workers will rise again

The final conference of Hong Kong’s only independent trade union federation, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), was on 3 October. At a press conference following the HKCTU’s decision to disband, a prepared statement was read out by Vice-Chair Leo Tang, who was himself imprisoned a year ago. The statement expressed its confidence “that the workers’ power of resistance will not therefore fade away. Contradictions bring opposition. Exploitations lead to struggles… One may block the river, but without a way to channel the water, the only result would be a deadlier flood.” On...

Is Fairphone fair for workers?

If you own a smartphone, you’re almost certainly contributing to several big problems in the world. These include a negative environmental impact, the production of mountains of e-waste as perfectly good phones are thrown away, and of course the exploitation of workers in the supply chains, from the mines in the Congo to assembly lines in China. A decade-old Dutch company, Fairphone, has set out to change all this by producing an “ethical” smartphone. Last week they announced their latest — and by far their best — model, the Fairphone 4. Thousands of people participated in the online launch...

Hong Kong: silence is not an option

When the question of trade unions in China would come up, some of us were fond of saying that there is an independent, democratic trade union movement in the country. It is called the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. This is no longer true. In the last week, news has come out of a move by the HKCTU to disband. This is an enormous blow to the Chinese working class and to the international labour movement. It appears that the HKCTU is the latest victim of a Chinese government crackdown not only on the unions, but on all of civil society. The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, one of...

Beijing pushes HK revolt underground

Hong Kong’s Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) is being forced to disband in the face of a brutal offensive by the Chinese government. The HKCTU is the only body coordinating independent unions in Hong Kong. It has long supported universal suffrage against the rule of Hong Kong by the pro-CCP and tycoon-dominated Legislative Council and the Beijing-appointed Chief Executive. At its press conference on 13 September, the HKCTU announced that it was recommending disbandment to a general meeting of its affiliates on 3 October. Vice Chair Leo Tang, one of the three remaining Executive Committee...

TSSA and the Boilermakers

TSSA has announced plans to merge with another union, "The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers." Never heard of them? Possibly because they are based in the United States.

That's right, TSSA's leadership think the way to strengthen the union is to merge with workers on a different continent...

Free Yang Kyeung-soo!

On 3 July, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, South Korea’s national union federation, organised a rally of 8,000 workers in Seoul to demand measures to protect lives and save jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic. (South Korea has had a relatively good record on Covid, but a relative case surge since the middle of June.) Now KCTU President Yang Kyeung-soo has been arrested (2 September) for organising the rally, which the authorities are saying was in violation of Covid-control regulations. The KCTU was surrounded early in the morning and police in riot suppression gear smashed their way in...

Trumka weak on BLM, coup and more

Much of what Eric Lee writes for Solidarity is very good, such as last month’s article on the LGBTI movement’s struggle in Georgia, but his contributions on US politics sit very strangely on the pages of a revolutionary socialist publication. Lots of good articles for the price of a bit of rubbish every so often isn’t an awful deal, but it shouldn’t go unchallenged. In his obituary (Solidarity 603) for American union bureaucrat Richard Trumka, he laments that this death received less coverage in the British press than that of “Barry the barred owl”. Thankfully the Morning Star has answered Lee...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.