Up to 30,000 protesters from across Europe took to the streets on May 19 in the financial district of Frankfurt. The rally, which lasted for seven hours, ended outside the European Central Bank (ECB). The protest, “Blockupy Frankfurt”, was part of a three-day action, organised to oppose the European debt crisis policies of the “troika” made up of the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. These polices include the so-called Eurozone bailout funds, which have helped push people across Europe into poverty and the dismantled democratic rights.
Voters in Germany’s largest state of 18 million people, North Rhine Westphalia, went to the polls on May 13 to reject Chancellor Angela Merkel’s politics. This came a week after the loss for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the election of Schleswig Holstein. These results mark a rejection of the hard line austerity politics pushed across Europe by the Merkel-led coalition government.
About 215,000 public service workers struck on March 27 as a warning to their employers a day before talks between the public sector union and the bosses. Two weeks earlier, 130,000 took part in the first round of strikes. The award being negotiated by the United Services Union (known as ver.di) covers more than 2 million public service workers from national to local level. Ver.di is Germany's second biggest union, with a membership of about 2.1 million people.
Ten thousand people mobilised in Dresden on February 18 to stop an annual march of European neo-Nazis. A broad coalition of political parties, church groups, trade unions and other anti-fascist groups formed a united front campaign to stop the planned neo-Nazi march through peaceful, mass blockades. Six days earlier, a group of more than 1000 neo-Nazis gathered in Dresden for a march supposedly to commemorate the innocent deaths caused by the 1945 bombing of Dresden by the Allied forces.
On October 21, 70 local parents and supporters filled Moreland Concert Hall to hear state election candidates from the Pascoe Vale and Brunswick electorates speak on the issue of a high school for Coburg. The meeting was organised by the campaign group High School for Coburg. HSC was established about two years ago by a group of parents who were concerned that there was no local high school for their children to attend.
About 70% of TAFE teachers walked off the job on November 19 as part of a branch-organised wildcat strike.
On March 26, the NSW Legislative Council passed the motion by Greens NSW MP John Kaye that called on the government to drop its demands that TAFE teacher conditions be slashed to pay for salary increases.
On March 21, 200 people gathered at Sydney Town Hall for the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, demanding an end to the current US-led wars and occupations. The protests was organised by the Sydney Stop the War Coalition.
The battle over the privatisation of NSW electricity continues. A power industry delegates meeting on May 15 condemned the state ALP governments push to privatise the retail electricity providers and generators and reaffirmed its total rejection of the governments plans.
On April 27, around 300 residents gathered at Rozelles Callan Park in the second Sunday protest against the NSW ALP governments bid to close the psychiatric hospital and redevelop the parklands.
On July 17, Chris M, a union delegate at the NSW State Transits Port Botany depot, was sacked by the State Transit Authority (STA), which is the government owned authority responsible for the operations of Sydney Buses and Newcastle Buses & Ferries. The sacking occurred four days prior to M becoming a permanent employee and thus having access to unfair dismissal protection.
A conference organised by Indonesian Solidarity, in association with the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies West Papua Project, was held on August 9-10, gathering West Papuan government and NGO representatives, academics and international solidarity activists to discuss the current obstacles to justice and prosperity faced by West Papua.
Tear up Work Choices! Defend all our rights at work is the title of a new petition being circulated by trade union activists around Australia. The petition calls on the ACTU and state, territory and regional labour councils to immediately call a national day of protest to demand the full repeal of Work Choices and the Workplace Relations Act. It also calls for workers right to take industrial action to be enshrined in Australian law.
On March 15, more than 1000 public sector workers and their supporters rallied in the city under the banner of “Job cuts = service cuts”. They were expressing opposition to the 20,000 “backroom” job cuts proposed by the NSW Liberals as part of its state election campaign. The election will be held on March 24.