Climate change is a global issue and the international workers’ movement has responded with messages of solidarity.
One of the workers from Vestas is currently visiting Denmark, meeting trade unionists from the Danish parent company. Attempts are being made to get solidarity from the United Steelworkers Union which is trying to organise the workers at the US plant where Vestas plan to move production.
At Ssangyong Motors, in Pyeongtaek near Seoul, South Korea, a workers occupation is now in its eighth week (see page 2). They sent this message to Vestas workers:
“Ssangyong Motor workers are in struggle and rightly against the Lee Myung-bak government’s flexible labor policy. At the centre of flexible labor policy is the ‘gate to hell’ — it consists of dismissal, early retirement, dividing the company, outsourcing, and reshuffling. All to destroy workers’ right to live.
“The reason we are fighting hard is simple. Dismissal is murder and we are struggling to stop this murderous act. Our confidence and commitment are soaring high like a rocket because everyone knows we are doing the right thing. We will never be defeated.
“Ssangyong Motor workers will continue to struggle until there is no such thing as redundancy or dismissal. We would like to comradely thank for your solidarity and wish you all victory.”
Workers at Stella D’Oro bakery in New York, who have been embattled in a year long dispute with their private equity employers sent solidarity. Last year management sacked 134 workers for taking strike action over pay and conditions. A court ruling ordered the workers be reinstated but managment responded by announcing closure of the factory. The workers are gearing up for further action before the planned closure in October. Joyce Alston from the BCTGM Local 50 sent the following message:
“It is an honour for us to support you through your struggle for dignity and fairness in your workplace. We must all stand together in this struggle to regain our ability to maintain a decent standard of living for all people wherever they may be. Please stay strong and remain committed to show solidarity even in the most difficult of times.”
In Peru, Lucha Indigena, an organisation of indigenous Peruvians fighting to defend the rainforest, have recently been subject to severe state repression. Hugo Blancho, one-time revolutionary leader of the landless peasant movement in Peru and director of Lucha Indigena:
“Recently, in Peru, indigenous ecologists were massacred by the government, which was acting in support of large multinational companies devastating the Amazon rain forest. This has shaken us and made us more aware of any act of environmental destruction.
“We are in solidarity with those, in whatever part of the world, who defend the well being of the planet. For that reason we totally support the workers of Vestas Wind Turbines on the Isle of Wight who have occupied their factory.
“From the other side of the world, we ask those who are closer than us to support these workers by all necessary means. We hope that all the inhabitants of the planet will express to them the gratitude that they deserve.”
French energy workers from the Fédération SUD Energie sent this message:
“We totally support your struggle against the offshoring of your factory and for its nationalisation. Sectors which serve basic needs, like energy, should belong to the community and not to private interests.
“In France, as elsewhere, the privatisation and marketisation of the energy sector is a catastrophe which expresses itself in job losses, the development of contracting-out, the worsening of work conditions, price rises on the deregulated market, the deterioration of the services provided (for example, an increase in delays for fixing problems, and the progressive closure of almost all local offices), a de-optimisation of the system. That is why we fight for the renationalisation of this sector and for European cooperation on the basis of respect for the environment.”
Many more solidarity messages have poured in from around the globe, from Canada, West Bengal, Egypt and Belgium to name a few. Any response to the economic crisis and climate change must build in this spirit to create a fighting global workers’ movement.