general strike

France’s Council of Ministers approved five ordinances on September 22 that undermine union power and employment rights within France’s Labour Code, which came into effect the next day.

The government imposed these changes by using undemocratic measures in France’s constitution, which allows it to push new measures into law without passing legislation through parliament.

In the face of this, the movement against the changes continues to build. 

Police brutally repressed thousands of Brazilians who took the streets on June 30 to oppose austerity measures and the Michel Temer government. The actions were part of the second general strike in three months.

The “general strike” included work stoppages by teachers and workers in the banking, metals, health care and oil refinery sector, among others.

Brazil's trade union confederations have called for a new general strike to shut down the country’s largest cities on June 30 in protest at neoliberal labour and retirement pension reforms, as well as to demand the resignation of unelected president Michel Temer who is currently embroiled in several corruption controversies.

The full vote in the lower house of Brazil’s Congress on the government’s plan to reform the pension system will be delayed until the end of May, amid ongoing protests against it.

If passed, the controversial bill would cut benefits, raise social security contributions by civil servants and set a minimum retirement age of 65 years in a country where people work on average until 54 years.

Mining companies have benefitted over the past few years from rising global demand and prices, but workers have seen little to no benefit from the boom.

Now mine workers are flexing their muscle to demand their share of the spoils.

Sami Ziadna, who died as a result of excessive tear gas inhalation on Jaunary 18, was the 50th Palestinian citizen of Israel to be killed by Israeli police since October 2000.

Then, as protests spread throughout Palestinian communities in Israel, 13 unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed by police officers in northern Galilee.

About 1.7 million Palestinians carry Israeli citizenship, but dozens of discriminatory laws stifle their political expression and limit their access to state resources, including land and education.

The political situation in France is dominated by the mobilization against the proposed reform of the pension system. This reform is at the heart of Sarkozy’s austerity policy. Although it is presented as an obvious demographic necessity, it is meeting increasing opposition in public opinion.

Italy reeled under the impact of a general strike on June 25 as trade unionists and their allies took to the streets to defend the welfare state against the Berlusconi government’s plans to slash public spending by about $36 billion.

Transport workers led the action. Bus, tube and rail services were paralysed for four hours throughout the country.

Airline employees, car workers and public-sector staff joined major demonstrations in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Naples.

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