strike

Workers at McCormick Foods Australia have walked out after their demands for improved working conditions and a pay rise were ignored. Sue Bolton reports.

Big Mac sauce and Aeroplane Jelly are off the menu for now while the workers who make them are denied a pay rise. Kerry Smith reports.

Colombia’s national teachers’ strike marked three weeks on June 1 as tens of thousands of education workers continue to pressure the government to respond to their demands for better working conditions, higher salaries and more investment in public education.

In the latest mass protest, about 300,000 teachers took to the streets on May 31 to call attention to education issues in major cities across the country, including Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Bucaramanga and Barranquilla.

A rebellion has been raging in Buenaventura - Colombia’s largest port city - since May 16, when residents decided to embark on massive anti-government marches to demand an end to chronic state neglect and abandonment, corruption, crime and armed conflict.

The government’s inability to attend to protesters’ demands has only spurred an escalation of protests that has not shown signs of calming, even though the mayor’s office issued a decree declaring a curfew and a ban on public demonstrations.

Staff of the Immigration and Border Force agency marked the first day of their newly merged federal department on July 1 by going on strike for the second time in a week. Two-hour stoppages and meetings took place at seaports, workplaces and international airports, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Significant disruption of services was reported.
Students supported teachers and staff in their one-day strike at the University of Sydney on March 7. Read a statement by the National Tertiary Education Union explaining the reason for the strike. Photos: Peter Boyle.
The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on March 7. *** University of Sydney staff are on strike today — for the first time in a decade. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is taking action over stalled enterprise agreement negotiations. “We’d rather not take industrial action in the first week of semester but management’s contemptuous approach to staff claims has left us with no alternative,” said NTEU Branch President Michael Thomson.
Unionist Bob Carnegie was charged with 54 counts of contempt of court on October 17 for taking part in a community protest during a dispute between builders' unions and building firm Abigroup at the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) construction site. It is a sign of things to come for community activists. About 650 workers took strike actions against Abigroup for refusing to meet demands over working conditions, subcontractor terms and an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).
Members of building unions went on strike from July 25 at Lend Lease projects around Australia to push for a new national Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) said “the main points of disagreement in the dispute relate to wages and other issues”, including job security, site allowances and adding Western Australian workers to the agreement. Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan said: “The CFMEU continues to negotiate with Lend Lease on the agreement.
Despite Fair Work Australia putting in place an injunction banning National Union of Workers (NUW) officials from taking part in the Baiada poultry workers’ picket line, workers and community supporters were able to hold off an attempt by riot police to break the picket late on November 11. One man’s legs were crushed when about 80 police charged the picket. He was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg. NUW members at Baiada Poultry in Laverton North voted to begin indefinite strike action on November 9 and instigated a picket line around the chicken processing plant.
British rail unions branded Transport for London (TfL) “barefaced liars" after its management attempted to claim minimum disruption during a 24-hour strike on November 3. London Underground services were crippled by strike action called by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) over safety-critical job cuts. All 11 of the London’s Tube lines were hit by the walkout. The action was the latest in a series of strikes over plans to axe up to 2000 jobs, including 800 station staff.
On October 20, 200 people gathered in the community of Kalkarindji to protest against the policies of the Northern Territory intervention, launched in 2007 by the Howard Coalition government. Under the intervention, Aboriginal welfare recipients in the NT have half their pay “quarantined” onto a Basics Card, which can be used only in approved stores and only for food, clothing and medical supplies.
Workers and students mobilised in their millions on October 12 in the fourth and largest mobilisation in the last month against laws that will reduce the pension entitlements of French workers. The protests and strikes come the French Senate has begun passing aspects of the pension bill that will see an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 62 years of age and increase the qualifying period that workers must work to receive a full pension.
On July 1, striking workers at a Japanese-owned electronics factory in the Chinese city of Tianjin stalled production for a third day and vowed to continue their fight until bosses agreed to better pay and conditions, the Morning Star said that day. It is the latest in a spate of work stoppages to hit foreign transnationals operating in China. Workers have hung large banners outside the factory gate reading: “Human traffickers are not welcome”, “We want a pay rise” and “We want fair treatment”.
The next time someone tells you that Marx or Marxism is outdated because capitalism is not as exploitative as it was in the 19th century, just crack open your copy of Capital, turn to the chapter on the working day, and compare its vivid depiction of the brutalisation of the British working class to the state of the working class in China today.
Two million Spanish workers participated in a public sector strike on June 8. A general strike in the Basque country has been called for June 29. Spanish unions have called a nationwide general strike for September 29 and the European Trade Union Confederation is currently attempting to organise a Europe-wide general strike to coincide with it.
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