This is the Union Solidarity International update 29 May 2013 – wage rises in Germany, Monsanto, and anti-mafia campaigns in Sicily.
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The German union IG Metall has won a significant wage deal with Volkswagen. The deal sees a 3.4% wage increase in September, with a further 2.2% increase in July next year. This is significant because it is well above the inflation rate of 1.2%. Perhaps it shows a recognition that austerity isn’t working, and workers need decent wages if we are to return to a growing economy. Trade union negotiators, take heart!
Saturday the 25th saw a March against Monsanto around the world. Monsanto’s business model is to attempt to control the world food supply through gene patents and genetically modified organisms, but why the focus now? Because of a newly passed law in the US. Section 735 of the Farmer Protection Act – drafted with the helpful assistance of Monsanto lobbyists – has been dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act, because it bars federal courts from stopping the sale of GMOs, even if they are proved to be harmful.
Sicily honours murdered trade unionist Placido Rizzotto, who was killed by the mafia 60 years ago for taking a stand against them. The Libera Terra group of cooperatives produce organic food on land confiscated from the mafia. The coop produces a range of wines named after the murdered trade unionist.