Unions and communists globally aligned
The two-day nationwide strike by trade unions in India took an ugly turn when Narinder Singh was crushed to death under the wheels of an Ambala city bus a week ago Wednesday. Narinder was killed when he and his fellow protestors tried to stop the state-owned roadway bus in the early morning.
The 48 hour nationwide strike was called by trade unionists in protests over high inflation, corruption scandals and a lack of safety for women.
“The national economy, battling slowdown, can ill-afford this situation,” said Rajkumar Dhoot, the president of the industries association. “In fact, the strike would aggravate the price situation because of disruption in the supply line of essential commodities.”
The trade unions are angry with the privatization of state-owned companies. In the past six months, the government has allowed foreign investors such as Wal-Mart to set up supermarket retail stores in India and announced policies to expand private investment in government-owned banks and insurance companies.
Declaring the 48-hour all-India strike “successful and widely supported”, trade union representatives said Friday that more agitations would occur if the government did not heed their demands.
“This is not the end, but the beginning. We are soon to decide our next course of action. A new social force is emerging which will be countering the government. We will not accept economic reforms,” AITUC leader Gurudas Dasgupta told the media. AITUC is a founder member of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
There are other unions affiliated to the WFTU. They include the General Federation of Trade Unions of (North) Korea and the Communist CUT (Central Unitaria Trabajadores del Peru). The CUT has also been receiving support from the Solidarity Center of the American AFL-CIO (this agency is 90 percent dependent on US government grants). More significantly, the CITU of India affiliated to the WFTU in 2011. The CITU was formed by a split from the Moscow-aligned and WFTU-affiliated AITUC.
The World Federation of Trade Unions is a communist based organization and it is starting to see a comeback.
At approximately the same time, American union members protested outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., in support of greater trade union rights and protections in Mexico. This protest was organized by USLeap, US Labor Education in the Americas Project. USLeap is funded in part by International Union of Foodworkers, SEIU, the Solidarity Center, Teamsters, United Autoworkers, United Steelworkers, and Unite Here.
“Whether here or Mexico, whether dealing with the Koch brothers or Carlos Slim, the struggle of working people is the same,” CWA President Larry Cohen told the union activists.
Activists outside the embassy were demanding a reversal of labor law changes approved late last year that the unions deemed as deteriorating working conditions and an end to intimidation and violence against workers. Another key demand is to address what the unions allege as a pervasive protection contract system that is used by employers, company-friendly “unions,” and the government to deny workers their basic rights.
“On the occasion of your recent inauguration as president of Mexico,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka writes in his Feb. 19 letter addressed to Peña Nieto, “labor rights organizations from around the world have joined together to urge you to make every effort to resolve the systematic violations of workers’ rights across all industrial sectors and regions of Mexico.”
All the Global Unions and the International Trade Union Confederation are also supporting the Days of Action. Across national boundaries, union organizations are collaborating on pushing thru political agenda that does not appear to be a democratic one.
For those who don’t remember, President Obama awarded the former president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeny, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Sweeney was praised for bringing communists into his union leadership.
Activist and author Joel Kotkin, a fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, observed “No George Meaney-style bread-and-butter unionist, Sweeney is an advocate of European-style democratic socialism. He has opened the AFL-CIO to participation by delegates openly linked to the Communist Party, which enthusiastically backed his ascent.”
The U.S. Communist Party [CPUSA] says it is now ‘in complete accord’ with the AFL-CIO’s program.
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- Trade union leader crushed to death as 2-day strike begins (thehindu.com)
- Trade unions warn of bigger agitation (news.in.msn.com)
- Bharat Bandh: Response to strike overwhelming, say trade unions (ndtv.com)
- Unions seek stronger labour laws in US-EU free trade talks (leftfootforward.org)
- PM appeals to trade unions to call off strike (ibnlive.in.com)
- Nationwide strike cripples life in Tripura (news.in.msn.com)
- India: Nationwide trade union strike hits banks, Noida protests turn violent (revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com)