Denis Rogatyuk

Warehouse workers at the International Flavours & Fragrances (IFF) factory in Dandenong scored a major victory on February 1, after their four-day occupation of the staffroom.

About 30 workers took the action after IFF management locked out the workforce earlier last week.

The workers, covered by the National Union of Workers, had been planning to undertake protected low-level industrial action against the company following months of negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Latin America 2014 conference, in solidarity with the continent's progressive struggles, was held in London on November 29 and attracted hundreds of participants.

Held in the Trade Union Congress building, it was jointly organised by several trade unions, Latin America solitary groups and other supporters of the progressive and revolutionary struggles in the region.

The participants took part in more than 30 workshops across a broad range of topics surrounding the achievements and challenges of the various governments, social and political movements across the continent.

Left Unity is a new political group in Britain created out of a call last year by filmmaker Ken Loach for a new party to the left of Labour, which has moved rightwards in recent years and supports anti-worker austerity measures. The call was supported by thousands of people and Left Unity held its founding conference in November last year.

Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with Left Unity's national secretary Kate Hudson, a veteran campaigner who is also general secretary of the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“Britain needs a pay rise!” That was the main running theme through this year’s annual congress of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of England and Wales, which covers 6.2 million workers in 58 unions in England and Wales, held in Liverpool from September 7 to 10.

Its key demand ― for a £1-an-hour wage rise across the entire public sector ― was the main factor behind the successful July 10 public sector general strike.

The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front in France and many others.

With tanks rolling through the outskirts of Gaza and the Israeli Defense Force organises new air strikes targeting hospitals and civilians playing football on the beach, almost 100 protests took place right across the world on July 19 and 20, calling for an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine and the bombing of Gaza.

Workers in more than 50 cities across England, Wales and Scotland joined Britain's largest trade union mobilisation since the mass strike over pensions in 2011.

More than 2 million public sector workers took part in marches in their local cities, while others maintained pickets of public sector buildings and local authorities.

The main issue driving the mass strike was the meagre 1% pay rise offered by the Conservative-Liberal-Democrat coalition government. This amount to a wage cut the soaring living costs workers have been experiencing in the past several years are factored in.

Workers cooperative EarthWorker demonstrated their newly made heat pumps and water storage tanks at Melbourne’s Trades Hall on May 18.

The cooperative aims to create local jobs and provide clean energy to help fight the climate crisis at the same time. It has just launched its first solar hot water systems, made at a worker-owned factory in Morwell.

During the event at Trades Hall, members of the cooperative were happy to demonstrate and explain the capabilities of their new systems.

The workers at a Super A-Mart warehousing and distribution centre in Somerton, Victoria, have scored a victory over company management nearly six weeks after they were locked out of their workplace.

The workers have won a 10% wage rise over the next three years, improved redundancy conditions, permanency conversions after six months, an Occupational Health and Safety committee on site, as well as a $750 sign-on bonus.

Their victory was in partly due to the overwhelming success of the “Low Wage Bus Tour”, which left Melbourne on April 9 with the slogan “Raise the Wage”.

The Supreme Court of Victoria decided on March 31 to fine the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) $1.25 million for its protest action on Grocon sites in Melbourne in August 2012.

Grocon is now seeking costs due to the industrial action, which could amount to an extra $1.7 million.

The CFMEU-led campaign against the construction giant began over the issues of safety and appointment of shop stewards as Occupational Health and Safety representatives on high risk construction sites, in opposition to the management-appointed “safety inspectors”.

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