Your daily round up of trade union news from around the world.
Our trade union video of the day is this beautifully shot footage of students in Montreal protesting against tuition fee rises in Montreal in March this year.
The International Labour Organization has selected a new director general, Guy Ryder. Ryder, who is British, was formerly general secretary of the ITUC and is now in charge of the UN agency working to improve labour conditions around the world.
Australian mining and construction unions are fighting government and employers’ plans to undermine their terms and conditions by bringing in large numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled migrant workers to work in the sector. The tension was exacerbated when the head of the Qantas airline announced it was considering putting on commuter flights for South East Asian workers.
“I think there is a huge amount of disquiet among working Australians, particularly blue-collar Australians, manufacturing workers and tradies, about why Labor would engage in what is actually a sell-out of Australian jobs in the interest of a few greedy billionaires,” said Dave Noonan of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.
The powerful German metal workers’ union IG Metall has secured an historic above-inflation pay rise for engineers and metal workers, demonstrating that even amidst austerity, union victories are possible.
In Nottinghamshire, UK, rank and file electrical workers – ‘sparks’ – staged a demonstration at the Ratcliffe on Soar power station, claiming management had victimised a union activist. The sparks won a major victory earlier this year when they saw off an attempt by employers to undermine a national collective agreement.
There has been conflict between unions in at least two countries. In Ulsan, South Korea, members of the militant Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) clashed with organisers of the new Korea Labor Union Confederation (KLUC). KLUC was formed because it claimed the KCTU was “overly political”. South Korea now has three trade union confederations.
In South Africa, there have been ongoing clashes between the powerful Cosatu affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the rival Nactu affiliated Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) over recognition at the Impala Platinum mine. AMCU has a greater footprint among lower skilled workers, and accuses NUM of complacency.
Also in South Africa, municipal unions SAMWU and IMATU raised the possibility of strike action after accusing the South African Local Government Association of unilateral action.
All union centres in Tamil Nadu, India, have expressed solidarity with 13,000 contract workers on strike at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, and plan state-wide protest tomorrow.
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