By Kerry Vernon — More than 10,000 public sector workers’ jobs have been cut across NSW. Those workers remaining are having their wages and conditions further attacked.
In some of the largest demonstrations seen in recent years, tens of thousands took part in May Day rallies across Indonesia calling for higher wages and an end to contract labour and opposing fuel price increases.
Two important conferences were held in March for waterside workers in Australia and their comrades internationally. Although the conferences had different priorities, the MUA National Conference in Sydney and a meeting of international wharfie delegates under the auspices of the International Transportworkers Federation held in Aqaba, Jordan, both had an overriding objective:
No one predicted the phenomenon that has become known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS), nor could it have been predicted.
A small group of anarchist-minded people in Canada first proposed an attempt to set up an “occupation” near the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. They were inspired by the tents and encampments set up earlier in the year in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the spread of similar tactics to Spain and other countries.
The Qantas lockout of its workers in Australia is not unique. More than 2000 workers were locked out by Philippine Airlines (PALEA) since October 1. The Philippine Airline Employee’s Association has maintained a growing campaign for their re-instatement that is gaining international support.
The simmering discontent throughout Indonesia regularly overflowed throughout October and November. There were student protests against the Yudhoyono government, attacking corruption, economic injustice and political manipulation of local government, in cities including Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Cirebon, Samarinda (in Borneo), Makassar, Surabaya and Kediri.
(A slightly shorter version of this article has been published in New Matilda.)
It was 10 o’clock in the evening on September 11. Sudiro, the chief negotiator in West Papua’s ongoing Freeport strikes, was sitting alone on the veranda of his house. He had spent all day with Freeport Indonesia management, bargaining for a wage rise for the members of his union – the All Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) Freeport division.
After 11 hours of talks in Brussels throughout the night of October 27, the 17 leaders of the states that share the euro as their currency announced a package of measures they hoped would be regarded by international financial markets as a “comprehensive” solution to the eurozone debt crisis.