International unions

Myanmar week of action from 17 May

In the week beginning 17 May Momentum Internationalists and others will be organising street stalls and small demonstrations outside premises featuring big brands connected to the regime, including the energy giant Chevron and the high street clothing brands whose products are made in factories in cities like Yangon. Currently, actions are planned in London, Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle. Trade unionists in Myanmar in organisations like the All-Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU) have put out a call for supporters worldwide to put pressure on brands which are doing business with the...

Myanmar campaign to target brands

Activists in the UK labour movement are getting organised to provide solidarity to the workers of Myanmar who are on strike against the Tatmadaw military regime, which did away with elected government and democratic freedoms in a coup on 1 February this year. On 10 April, Momentum Internationalists (MI) and other Labour activists held a meeting with Khaing Zar Aung of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), Kyaw Ni of the All-Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU), and Htuu Lou Rae of the Anti-Junta Mass Movement (AJMM), as well as Andrew Tillett-Saks, an American labour...

Remember the class-war prisoners!

The noted international trade union leader Dan Gallin used to say that what the labour movement needed is a “May 2nd Movement”. In other words, after all the wonderful speeches made on May Day, we need to focus on what happens every other day of the year and how we put our ideas into practice. In that spirit, on Sunday May 2, LabourStart will host a major online event focussing on what we sometimes call “class war prisoners”. It’s an archaic term, a leftover from the 1920s, and had been used by — among others — groups with names like “International Red Aid” and “International Labor Defense”...

Support the strikers in Myanmar!

Solidarity asks all our readers to back the statement signed by John McDonnell MP, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, ACDU president Yaseen Aslam, and others; to put motions of solidarity through their union branches (same link, above); and to promote the fundraiser organised by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and supported by Myanmar’s unions here.

Kyrgyzstan: One step forward, two steps back

The workers of Kyrgyzstan have had very little experience of trade unionism. Under tsarist rule, unions were generally not tolerated. The Bolshevik revolution allowed unions to exist — on paper. But they were quickly turned into a “transmission belt” to pass on orders from the ruling Communist Party to the working class. With the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan declared independence in August 1991. This should have ensured, finally, a measure of democracy. And this would have meant free and independent trade unions, as had been created in other post-Communist states, most...

Amazon: organising after a defeat

See also Traven's follow up article "Thoughts towards strategic organising" in Solidarity 592 For the union to succeed in the historic drive to get recognition at Amazon’s facility in Bessemer, Alabama, USA, fifty-per cent plus one would have had to vote “yes”. Out of the 3,215 workers who voted over seven weeks up to 29 March, 1,798 “no” votes and 738 “yes” votes were recorded before voided and challenged ballots were counted. If the workers had won, they would have been the largest number of workers to certify a union in the private sector in three decades. The Retail, Wholesale and...

Vale Peter Simpson, 1963-2020

A tribute to Peter Simpson, lifelong activist with the Electrical Trades Union and Queensland state secretary 2009-2016

Myanmar trade unionists at online solidarity meeting

On 10 April Momentum Internationalists and Young Labour Internationalists held a solidarity meeting with speakers from Myanmar’s labour movement, which is continuing to lead protests against the military coup in the face of massive repression. The same day as the meeting, the Burmese military killed over 80 people in Bago, north of Yangon, the largest massacre in a single area since it killed over 110 in the working-class Yangon suburb of Hlaing Tharyar on 14 March. A young protester in Bago described being locked down by volleys of gunfire for an entire day: “We were surrounded on all sides...

Myanmar's workers appeal for solidarity

On 3 April Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that the Burmese security forces have killed 550 people, including 46 children, since the 1 February military coup. In parts of the country inhabited mainly by the minority Karen people, the coup regime has begun carrying out airstrikes, killing dozens and displacing tens of thousands. Still, many thousands, including striking workers, continue to protest in the streets across Myanmar. Corporations with suppliers producing garments in Myanmar have refused to accede to workers’ demands for protection if they continue to...

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