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“The workers feel that what we achieved was a great triumph”, said Jose Melendez, the finance secretary for the United Steel Industry Workers’ Union (SUTISS), on the signing of a new contract for the Sidor steel plant’s workforce with the Venezuelan government, according to a May 6 Venezuelanalysis.com article.
“What the hell is happening in NSW”, interstate callers have been asking the Socialist Alliance national office in recent days. Many are former activists in NSW left politics, and remember with bitterness the days when “Sussex Street” (headquarters of Unions NSW and the ALP administration) could be relied upon to stifle any protest movement threatening the stability of NSW Labor in government.
According to a May 7 Prensa Latina report, the Ecuadorian government has denounced Colombia following the release of evidence that the Colombian military had executed four prisoners as part of its infamous March 1 assault on a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that was within Ecuadorian territory.
Ground-breaking new research findings posted on the internet in April have confirmed what many scientists and climate activists have already concluded — that the goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions embraced by the European Union and Australia’s Labor government are gravely inadequate.
Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution
By Chris Slee
Resistance Books, 2008
55pages, $6.00(pb)
Available from <http://www.resistancebooks.com>
More than 10,000 unionists marched through Brisbane’s streets on May 5, celebrating the union movement’s role in the defeat of the Howard government last year. The annual Labour Day parade was led by the building unions, with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in the lead. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the original building workers\' union in Queensland.
In presenting the state budget on May 6, Premier John Brumby announced that “doing business in Victoria will become even easier”. The ALP government’s pro-corporate measures will cut almost $1.5 billion from taxes and costs for the big end of town.
After a four-hour community blockade on April 9, Melbourne Chef agreed to pay out sacked National Union of Workers (NUW) member Abdelwahab Bekhaled and negotiate a collective agreement at the site. However, the company reneged on the agreement, sparking a month-long union campaign. Bekhaled has finally received a payout that included long-service leave and all his entitlements.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and state mines and energy minister Geoff Wilson were on hand in early May to celebrate Rio Tinto’s announcement that the company would double exports of coal from Queensland in the next seven years.
On May 5, Victorian Premier John Brumby and education minister Bronwyn Pike announced that they had struck a deal with the Victorian Australian Education Union (AEU) over teachers’ pay. While there are several aspects of the agreement to be finalised, the government decided to go public and claimed that Victorian teachers are now the highest-paid teachers in Australia.

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