Solidarity 025, 6 March 2003

Italy: direct action against the war

Hundreds of protesters in Italy occupied railway lines last week to stop military equipment being transported to American forces in the Gulf.
A small group of campaigners broke into the military zone near Pisa Airport. The protests coincided with a march against the war in the city. Politicians from Rifondazione and the Green Party say American forces based at the nearby Camp Darby have depleted uranium weapons.

Protesters have also occupied military trains in Vicenza.

Campaign against corporate murder

The Hazards Campaign and the Centre for Corporate Accountability are calling on trade unionists to send a special email postcard to Tony Blair asking him why the Government has not introduced legislation creating the new offence of "corporate killing".
This is part of a campaign to bring home to the Government the strength of feeling about its failure to introduce legislation which would allow employers to be prosecuted for causing workers' deaths through their management failures.

Kenya: Workers fight for union rights

The Kenyan Tailors and Textile union is requesting solidarity action in support of 9,200 Kenyan garment workers, producing for a number of major international brands, who were fired after going on strike in January to demand better working conditions. The workers, employed at seven factories in Kenya's export processing zones, were producing for brands including Wal-Mart, Sears, and Target.
Kenya's Ministry of Labour issued an order on 11 February instructing the factories to reinstate the workers and recognise the union by 3 March.

Indonesia: New anti-union law passed

Indonesia's House of Representatives passed the Manpower Bill on 25 February. The new law is a serious attack on workers' right to strike. Other bills are in the pipeline.
The new legislation states that workers must tell employers of an intention to strike. If they don't notify the bosses, the strike can be classified as illegal and a company can lock out workers and refuse to pay wages.

Italy: Union prepares for referendum fight

On 10 March Italy's biggest trade union, CGIL, will begin the next stage of its campaign for four referendums to put to the public an alternative to the policies of the Berlusconi government.
The union has succeeded in collecting the five million signatures needed under Italy's constitution to force the government to hold a referendum.

CWU ballots to stop bonus scheme

The CWU has informed BT that it will ballot the 16,000 engineers who work for Customer Service to halt the unagreed "Self Motivated Teams" productivity bonus scheme. BT have introduced a "voluntary" SMT scheme and are pressing members to opt in, despite union opposition. The CWU is demanding withdrawal of the unagreed scheme before any talks on ending the current standoff.

Revolt on dress code

By a civil servant

A Manchester civil servant hit the headlines recently when he took his employer - the Department for Work and Pensions - to an Employment Tribunal, under the Sex Discrimination Act, over whether or not men at his workplace should be forced to wear ties.
The media had some fun with the issue, interviewing city bankers in sharp suits. This, however, is a very serious trade union issue.

Arriva dispute ends

The RMT rail union has accepted a rotten offer of a 4% wage increase from Arriva Trains Northern for conductors and guards, and the 13 month dispute in the company is now over.
The workers had taken a series of one day actions. A ballot on Arriva's pay offer rejected it, 295 to 165, though the biggest depot, Leeds, voted to accept. Union reps say that the deal will still mean workers are some of the lowest paid in the industry.

Arriva Trains are now planning cuts in the service - specifically an express route from Glasgow to Leeds.

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