Workers' Struggles

50,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been on rotating strike since 22 October. The Trudeau Liberal government has tabled so-called “back-to-work” legislation, that will make this work stoppage illegal. Increasingly, the right to strike in Canada is not worth the paper it is written on. As soon as a strike becomes effective, it is declared illegal. However, the postal workers are angry and there is a real opportunity that they will defy the legislation. Solidarity is urgently needed to let the CUPW workers know they are not alone, and that workers in Canada and internationally support their fight.

It’s been a turbulent time for the aviation industry recently. And now another airline looks unlikely to weather the storm. Flybe is up for sale, with the regional air carrier calling in accountants from KPMG in an attempt to save itself from collapse. Half-year profits have plunged and the company’s auditor, PwC, warned of “significant doubt” over its future. KPMG's involvement should have instantly set alarm bells ringing, as they were also the administrator of Monarch Airlines last year.

The mobilisation of the gilets jaunes (“yellow vests”) protest movement marks an important step in the development of the class struggle in France. With no party, no union, and no pre-existing organisation, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in this movement against a tax increase on diesel and petrol, sweeping aside the pseudo-concessions and threats of the government. They are supported by a large majority of the population.

近几个月来,一场工人和学生对抗中国资本主义政权的持久战正在展开。中国政府对支援工人的学生们施加的残暴镇压,也凸显了这场抗争的火爆性。

近幾個月來,一場工人和學生對抗中國資本主義政權的持久戰正在展開。中國政府對支援工人的學生們施加的殘暴鎮壓,也凸顯了這場抗爭的火爆性。

In recent months, a protracted struggle has been underway in China, with workers and students standing in solidarity against the pro-capitalist regime. This is highlighted by the recent, brutal clampdown on student activists involved in worker solidarity.

This week has seen thousands of women council workers taking strike action in Glasgow in an ongoing dispute over pay equality. The dispute dates back to equal pay claims from 2006, when Glasgow City Council introduced a Workforce Pay and Benefits Review System, which aimed to tackle the gender pay gap. However, under the scheme, low-paid jobs tending to be occupied by women – such as cleaning, catering and care – are being paid significantly less than jobs such as refuse collection, which are male dominated.

The tremendous protests on 29 September all across Brazil were yet another demonstration of the building fightback against the far-right presidential candidate, Bolsonaro. These manifestations were initially called and organised by the Facebook group "United Women Against Bolsonaro", but word spread through the internet and the turn-out was greatly expanded.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday suspended its general strike on its fourth day, after the government agreed to meet the unions on October 4-5 to discuss an increase in the minimum wage. The call for the strike had surprised the union leaders themselves, who had not expected such a massive response. Now they are doing everything to demobilise.

On 20 September, an open letter from a representative of the Peking University (PKU) Marxist Society (MS) in Beijing, China began circulating on Chinese social media. The letter detailed the significant difficulty that the society faced this month in finding a faculty advisor required to re-register as a recognised student club on the campus.

In early June of this year, the workers of the Chinese welding equipment manufacturer Jasic Technologies in Shenzhen attempted to legally unionise to protect themselves from chronically poor working conditions and brutal treatment by the management.

On Monday 13 August, just as Pakistan’s new parliament were taking oath after the recent elections, fourteen workers died in a coal mine near Quetta. The miners were trapped by a gas explosion inside the mine on Sunday.

Along with the renewed discussion in Britain around renationalisation (a policy promised by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn), the idea of workers’ control and workers’ management has re-emerged. Indeed, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said that renationalised companies should not be run like they were in the past, but should instead be run under workers’ control.

In the latest episode of IMTV – the International Marxist Television channel, hosted by our British section, Socialist Appeal– our guests look back over a busy year for student and labour activists on UK campuses. Earlier this year we saw the largest ever strike by academic staff in the University and Colleges Union (UCU), who took action over cuts to pensions.

随着中国共产党在国际舞台上表现越发得自信,中国的工人阶级也开始对资本主义残酷的现实表现不满。从五月开始,卡车司机、送餐工人和吊车司机举行了三起高曝光率的全国范围的罢工行动。这些罢工的规模,虽然跟整个工人阶级相比较还算是小的,但是工人在多个重点城市联合组织的能力展示了阶级的一层正被推向更深的抗争。

As the Chinese Communist Party acts more confidently on the international stage than ever before, the Chinese working class is starting to chafe against the harsh realities of capitalism. Since May, there have been three high-profile, cross-country strikes started by crane operators, fast food delivery workers, and most recently truckers. Although the strikes were small in relation to the general working class, the workers’ ability to organize across several major cities indicates that a layer of the Chinese working class is being pushed into struggle.

Three months of strike by lecturers and teaching assistants at York University has created a deep crisis at the institution. Most classes during the winter term were not in session, and now the summer term has been shortened and course offerings heavily cut down. This is no surprise as most of the teaching at the university is done by striking members of CUPE 3903.

50 years ago, women at the Dagenham Ford Factory began a strike that became a turning point in the fight for equality. It was not the first such strike, and it would certainly not be the last. However, by standing up against bosses, union officials, and even other workers, they would send a message that has stood the test of time and inspires still.

On the occasion of May Day we republish the following leaflet written by Lenin in 1904, when Russia was about to enter a period of revolutionary turmoil. In it, Lenin calls on the workers and peasants to unite, overthrow the blood-sucking aristocrats, bankers and landowners, and take full ownership of all that labour creates. The message still holds true today. Long live worker solidarity! Happy May Day!

SAFTU’s general strike on Wednesday was a serious warning to the government and the capitalist class. It was part of a sharp intensification of industrial action by workers in big sectors of the economy. The attacks on the working class are preparing a backlash and an upsurge of the class struggle.

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