Trade Union & Labour Struggles

Issue 40 - November-December 2012

By Max Lane

In a press statement on October 3, the Indonesian Workers and Labourers Assembly (MPBI) said that 2 million workers mobilised for the national strike it called for that date, in industrial areas or outside government offices in 21 cities and towns.Press and blog reports separately estimate that hundreds of thousands of workers mobilised in Jakarta’s industrial estates, gathering at

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.

Issue 39 - May-July 2012

By Max Lane

Between March 24 and 30, a wave of quite militant demonstrations against the coalition government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spread throughout Indonesia. For the first time, some of the major trade union confederations joined the actions.

By Maree Ivy

The La Trobe University Management Council on June 20 announced a proposed major “restructure” of the university’s Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) Faculty.The proposed changes, announced in an “Organisational Change Impact Statement” (OCIS), would cut up to 45 full-time staff from the faculty, slash the available courses from 1230 subjects (available on rotation) to fewer tha

By Kerry Vernon

Increasing unemployment, soaring living costs and the environmental and social impacts of unexpected severe rains and flooding in parts of NSW are impacting on more poor and working-class people and extending into sections of the middle class.

By Nick Everett

One hundred and fifty thousand people poured onto the streets of Madrid on the evening of July 11 to greet tens of thousands of Spanish miners, who had participated in an 18-day marcha negra (black march) from Spain’s northern coal mining regions of Asturias, Leon, Palencia and Aragon.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – 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.

By Ian Jamieson

Deeply angered by moves by the resources and mining industry to replace union labour with super-exploited workers from overseas and the employers’ blatant disregard for necessary skills training among unemployed youth, thousands marched in Perth on July 4 to demand that the industry giants negotiate with their employees about who is to share in the massive profits they have generat

Issue 38 - February-April 2012

By Ian Jamieson

Two important conferences were held in March for waterside workers in Australia and their comrades internationally.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Commemorating International Women’s Day, activists and workers took to the streets across Indonesia on March 8 to demand equality and an end of sexual violence against women. Sexual harassment in the workplace and discriminatory laws were also a major theme at many rallies.

Issue 37 - December-January 2012

By Setyo Budi

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.

By Max Lane

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.

By Ben Reid

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.

Issue 36 - October-November 2011

By Doug Lorimer

At least 35,000 NSW public sector workers rallied in the Sydney Domain and then marched past the NSW parliament in Macquarie Street on September 8 to protest against the attacks on public sector jobs, wages and conditions announced by state Coalition government of Premier Barry O’Farrell, which includes a decision to axe at least 5000 public sector jobs.

By Ben Reid

In a major attack on workers’ rights, Philippine Airlines moved to retrench and lock out some 2600 workers and members of the Philippine Airline Employees Association (PALEA) between September 26 and October 1. PALEA has responded with a campaign of actions and the establishment of a protest camp at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

By Mehrdad Valipour

More than 6000 workers at the petrochemical complex in Mahshahr City in Khuzestan province struck for 10 days from September 25, demanding an end to individual contracts and abolition of all subcontracts at the complex.

Issue 34 - August 2011

By Allen Myers

The world economy is gradually recovering from the crisis that hit in 2007-08, and things will soon be back to normal, right? Wrong. The recovery from the international recession has so far applied mainly to the biggest capitalists and the highly paid executives who manage their businesses.

By Doug Lorimer

In January 1992, Deng Xiaoping, the then “paramount leader” of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) made a tour of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in China’s southern Guangdong province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. During his tour, Deng praised Guangdong as a model to be emulated by the rest of China.

By Kerry Vernon

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s Liberal-National Coalition government has launched a major attack on public sector workers. The government’s planned $2 billion in savings over the next four years is to come from cutbacks in public sector workers’ wages and conditions.

Issue 33 - June-July 2011

Marxist Education Conference

We regret that comrade Gerry Rivera was unable to attend the Revolution and Internationalism in the 21st century Conference. We note the recent attempt by the management of Philippine Airlines to escalate its dispute with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA).

By James Balowski

Jakarta – May Day was commemorated across Indonesia by thousands of workers, students, women activists and NGOs. Despite large turnouts in most cities, this year’s demands were less militant, with a major focus on the Social Insurance Management Agency (BPJS) law being deliberated by the House of Representatives (DPR).

By Hamish Chitts

Ezequiel Morales from the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP) (the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples) spoke with Hamish Chitts from Direct Action on May 9 after Morales had spoken to a workplace meeting of Brisbane bus drivers organised by the Rail, Tram, Bus Union and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.

Issue 32 - May 2011

By Andrew Martin

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has criticised the Labor government for failing to invest in manufacturing. It claims that Labor is ignoring its “base” in the blue-collar unions and is likely to lose thousands of votes unless it invests heavily in manufacturing.

By Ian Jamieson

Heat is building on the waterfront as the stevedoring industry and a number of port authorities are digging in their heels against attempts by the Maritime Union to address safety concerns and improve wages and conditions on the wharves.

Issue 31 - April 2011

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – The largest demonstration against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s drive to smash public workers’ unions happened soon after he and Republican legislators illegally pushed through legislation that virtually outlaws collective bargaining by these unions.