Workers' Struggles

The railway workers' strike has encouraged other sections of the working class (and also the students) to mobilise. Refuse collectors, Air France workers, civil servants, lawyers, postal workers, hospital workers and care workers assisting the elderly (among others) are gearing up for action, and every day new layers are joining the fight. The ‘convergence of struggles’ is no longer just a slogan; it has become a fact.

A new Pashtun movement has erupted in Pakistan, mobilizing hundreds-of-thousands of people across the country, with tens-of-thousands attending its public meetings. The state apparatus and the entire ruling class, including all establishment political parties, are trembling at the sight of this huge movement, which originated from the most backward areas of the country – where it was least expected.

The latest issue of Révolution (French organ of the IMT) will be published in the wake of a social movement that could mark a turning point in the correlation of forces between our camp (the youth and workers) and the bosses, of which Macron’s government is the executive body. A rail strike, starting from 3 April, will be the focal point of the struggle. But, both for us and for our enemies, the significance of this strike goes beyond the fate of the SNCF [Société nationale des chemins de fer français: France’s national state-owned railway company] and its employees.

On 4 April, public sector workers in Denmark will be taking strike action in response to negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. The government has reacted by threatening 440,000 public sector workers (of a total 825,000) with lockouts, which could take effect any time from 10 April. This could result in the biggest class conflict in 20 years. The impending confrontation bears major historical significance, because it marks the beginning of the end of 'class peace' and 'social partnership' in Denmark.

For weeks pensioners have been protesting across the Spanish state against the government’s decision to increase state pensions by a paltry 0.25 percent (against a 1.6 percent inflation rate). The largely spontaneous movement has been growing and is now calling on other sectors of society to join in mass demonstrations on Saturday, 17 March.

A great victory has been won by striking workers of the Pepsi-Cola factory in Faisalabad, industrial hub of Pakistan. On 29 January 2018, almost 250 workers completely shut the factory down in solidarity with three colleagues who had been laid-off by the administration without prior notice. The three workers who were fired actively motivated their colleagues to raise the demand for an increase in their daily wages. The workers' militant action put the bosses under severe pressure and eventually forced them to buckle.

Workers in Britain have been under attack from the bosses and the Tory government for years. And yet many trade union leaders do not seem capable of fighting back. This is one of the reasons that unions last year experienced the biggest single drop in their membership since records began. Total union membership is now just 6.2 million workers, compared to 13.2 million in 1979.

Forty-five years ago, the largest and most important strike movement in the history of Quebec took place. During this historic episode, the workers of the province stormed onto the political arena to fight against the bourgeoisie. At its peak, workers occupied the factories and mines, and the general strike movement brought the economy of the province to a halt.

Kragujevac workers walk out

The Kragujevac FIAT-Chrysler's strike in Serbia continues, having entered its seventh day. Of the more than 2,400 workers, at least two thousand have downed tools since June 26th. Only 250 "white collar" workers have decided for now not to take part in the strike.

After Bus Éireann, a subsidiary of Ireland’s state-owned public transport operator (CIÉ) responsible for bus travel outside of Dublin, announced a swathe of attacks against workers and bus services, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) declared an all-out strike effective from midnight on 23rd March. The bus drivers have reacted to these attacks with fierce militancy. This struggle is a clear indication of the growing discontent and class anger building up across Ireland.  As cracks open up in the Fine Gael-led coalition government over everything from water charges to police corruption, it is clear that this weak and divided government can be brought down.

46 years ago during Salvador Allende’s government, the Chilean Congress voted unanimously for the nationalization of Chilean copper. During the murderous Pinochet dictatorship, the road was open for foreign investment, which in actuality takes more than two thirds of the benefits produced by the exploitation of this resource and those who work it. Nevertheless, what is left over, still constitutes 13% of Chile’s GDP, and has been called ‘the salary of Chile’. While the state company CODELCO is the largest producer of mine copper in the world, the surface mine with the largest copper production in the world is Minera Escondida, controlled by BHP Billiton.

On March 6, Spanish dockers will go on strike against a decree of the PP government which destroys the very foundations of social rights conquered with organisation and struggle, and contained in agreements and laws, such as Convention 137 of the International Labour Organisation Labour, ratified by Spain in 1973, to guarantee the regularity of employment and minimum salaries of this group of workers.

Yesterday, two workers - Usman and Arshad - were killed and 23 others severely injured after a fire broke out at the Al Badar factory located on Sheikhupura Road near Lahore. The fire was caused by a boiler which exploded in the factory. Twelve of the injured workers are in a critical state, with more than ninety percent burns. They have, according to hospital reports, little chance of surviving.

On 2 February, 2016, two workers of PIA were killed while dozens of other protestors were injured when paramilitary forces of the Pakistan Rangers and Sindh Police indiscriminately opened fire on a rally of hundreds of PIA workers.  These workers were protesting against the privatization of PIA being carried out under the dictates of IMF.

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