International unions

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...

Can the Green Bans be emulated?

Uncharted waters: social responsibility in Australian trade unions , by Greg Mallory (2005) investigated the NSW BLF Green Bans. Until recently Greg had been President of the Brisbane Labour History Association for 17 years. Workers Liberty has previously reported on his research into Green Bans: see here and here. Janet Burstall asked Greg some new questions, to help uncover issues for eco-socialist trade unionists to take into account, in promoting workers' control as a means for tackling climate change. JB: The NSW BLF Green Bans must be the most quoted example around the world of workers...

The BBC, Barry the Owl and the death of a union leader

Last Friday (8 August), the BBC News website ran a story with this headline: “A beloved owl who became a well-known resident in New York’s Central Park has died.” The story went on to say that “Barry the barred owl was flying low in search of a meal when it collided with one of the park’s maintenance trucks on Friday morning.” On the previous evening, it was announced by the majority leader in the US Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, that Richard Trumka had suddenly passed away at the age of 72. Trumka was the president of the AFL-CIO, the main national trade union centre in the...

Iran: strikes spread

The strike by the workers of Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries has spread to various cities, despite 700 workers at the Tehran refinery being fired. On 23 June workers in many refineries and petrochemical industries joined the strikers who had already been on strike for two days. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 oil and petrochemical workers on strike across 11 provinces, demanding higher wages, an increase in leave and holidays, better health and safety conditions. In response, however, the regime stepped up its repression against the workers. According to labour...

Truck kills picket in Italy

Adil Belakhdim, coordinator of the SI Cobas union in Novara, Lombardy, Italy, and a member of the union’s national coordinating body, has been killed. He was hit by a truck driven into a picket line during the national logistics strike on 18 June. SI Cobas says: “It was not an accident — Adil was killed in the name of profit.” It says that the “murder is in fact the culmination of an escalation of organized violence against SI Cobas, which has been ongoing for months and is now without limits”. It cites many other incidents in recent months, arguing that they are “part of a single design under...

Haft Tappeh workers push forward

Morad Shirin from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency responded to questions from Solidarity. Inflation, unemployment, and inequality remain high in Iran. There have been big working-class fightback in recent years. And now? In addition to the long-term dire economic situation, corruption, repression and sanctions, the incompetent and callous handling of the Covid pandemic has led to even more stark social inequalities. These have sparked off hundreds of struggles and protests by pensioners, teachers, medical staff, steel workers, oil workers and so on. (But the regime keeps...

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