Miners in Spain are marching to Madrid to oppose the destruction of their industry and communities. You can get updates from the Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Committee, and watch the progress of the Marcha Negra on this YouTube channel. In Norway, 700 of …

Walton Pantland

Miners in Spain are marching to Madrid to oppose the destruction of their industry and communities. You can get updates from the Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Committee, and watch the progress of the Marcha Negra on this YouTube channel.

In Norway, 700 offshore oil workers, working for companies including Statoil and BP, are on strike over pensions.The strike is in its tenth day, and has dramatically cut Norway’s oil production. The workers are striking over the right to retire at 62 on a full pension.Because the Norwegian government has the statutory power to end a strike that it believes threatens national security, oil unions have taken the decision not to escalate the strike and exercise their full power, hoping that the oil companies will see sense.

In Turkey, 71 trade unionists have been arrested and union offices raided by the authorities under the pretext that it was a raid on terrorist groups. How long will it be before UK trade unionists are accused by an increasingly desperate government of “industrial terrorism”, and subject to similar treatment? The right to organise is fundamental and must be defended everywhere.

You can send a letter to the Turkish authorities through this LabourStart campaign. LabourStart is also campaigning for justice for oil workers in Kazakhstan, who are facing harsh prison sentences after oil company managers contrived with the authorities to suppress a dispute.

In the Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen – which has also been subject to the uprisings around the Arab Spring – workers at Aden University are protesting the fact that their salaries are lower than counterparts at Sana’a University, and that 200 of them are retained on temporary contracts.

In Los Angeles, California, thousands of people have marched to protest the move by notoriously anti-union Walmart to move into Chinatown.The protesters argue that Walmart destroys local business and treats workers poorly.

In the Czech republic, union confederation CMKOS attacked government austerity measures and called for pro-employment policies. Czech unions are critics of the right wing government of Petr Necas, whose austerity programme is wreaking the same havoc in the Czech republic as workers across the continent are experiencing: indeed, the Eurozone unemployment rate has hit a record 11.1%, which is a terrible human tragedy for the continent. Austerity is not working.

The resignation of Bob Diamond from Barclay’s bank after revelations of fraudulent manipulation of interbank lending rates under his watch once again shines a spotlight on the unethical, corrupt and indeed criminal activities of the finance sector. The sector has continued to pay exorbitant bonuses to managers even when it has performed badly and thrown many ordinary bank workers out of their jobs. As Aditya Chakrabortty argues in the Guardian, every man, women and child in the UK has already each transferred £19,271 to the banks, who have grown so arrogant in their power that they refuse to show any remorse. It’s not a recession – it’s a robbery!

If you’re interested in alternate economic theories that challenge the neoliberal orthodoxy that has destroyed the world economy, why not join our web conference this Friday evening with Stephanie Kelton, who will be speaking about Modern Monetary Theory and how government spending is essential to end the recession.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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