According to the National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru (CNDDHH), in the past 50 days of social protests, 56 people, including seven minors, were killed and 912 people were injured. In Peru’s capital Lima, massive mobilizations have occurred daily for the past week to demand the resignation of de-facto president Dina Boluarte, the closure of the right-wing dominated Congress, early general elections, and a new constitution through a Constituent Assembly. Peaceful mobilizations were also recorded in Piura and Tacna regions. On Thursday January 26, protesters marched along the Panamerican highway from the north of Lima to Plaza Dos de Mayo and Plaza San Martín. The marches in the capital have seen widespread participation from students and workers in the city, but have been largely composed of the delegations of peasant, Indigenous, and trade union organizations who arrived to Lima from Puno, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and other regions to bring their demands to the seat of government.
Demonstrations and strikes began in France on Thursday, January 19, as President Macron pursues his bill to raise the legal retirement age to 64 years. Trade unionists estimate that by noon local time, approximately one million people across the country had taken to the street to oppose the bill. By the end of the day, almost two million people participated in protests in different cities, with 400,000 marching in Paris alone, according to approximations from the General Confederation of Labour (CGT). Macron’s proposal is part of an attempt to adapt the Social Security Finance Bill, a discussion that the French Parliament will tackle from January 29 until March 26. In case the government does not back down from its plan, mobilizations are certain to expand and continue throughout the duration of the parliamentary debate. The next strike has already been announced for January 31.
Massive mayhem is ahead in France, as unions and protesters call for a “Black Thursday” countrywide strike over the government’s pension plans this week. The day of protest will be the first significant challenge that will establish the extent of the public’s will to pressure French President Emmanuel Macron to back down on plans to increase the official retirement age. To this end, French union leaders have urged for “massive mobilization.” Three-quarters of teachers are anticipated to join the strike, disrupting schools, transportation, and healthcare services. Most trains will not operate, the Paris metro services will be significantly impacted, and flights are expected to be canceled. Truck drivers, couriers, petroleum refinery workers, and delivery businesses have all announced they will be joining the strikes.
Industrial action looks set to intensify after Britain’s largest teaching union announced walkouts over pay. Meanwhile, the government is seeking to limit strikes with a controversial bill. The National Education Union (NEU) said its members “voted overwhelmingly” to strike on 1 February, with more than 90% voting yes. Its demands call for an above-inflation pay rise to meet soaring prices and energy bills. Following the day of national strike action at the start of February, the union will also hold a series of more-regional strikes over six other days in February and March. The NEU said strikes will impact each school for up to four days. It will affect state school teachers in England and Wales, support staff in Wales, and sixth-form teachers in England. The NEU’s leaders will meet with education minister Gillian Keegan on 18 January.
While Railroad Workers United (RWU) finds it despicable – but not surprising – that both political parties opted to side with Big Business over working people yesterday and vote against the interests of railroad workers - not once, but twice, within hours. We suffered a one-two punch at the hands of, first the Democratic Party; the second served up by the Republicans. First, responding to the wishes of President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House voted to legislate a contract that the majority of U.S. freight rail workers had previously voted to reject. The Senate would quickly follow suit. In effect, their actions simply overrode our voices and desires. Rail workers – like all workers – should have the right to bargain collectively and to freely engage in strike activity if and when the members see fit and when they democratically elect to do so.
As the date for a possible national railroad strike nears, President Joe Biden stepped in this week to force a contract on the railroad workers. On Monday, November 28, the While House released this statement, which begins with: I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown. After some encouraging words from progressives Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Jamaal Bowman on Tuesday, Lauren K. Gurley reported today that the Congressional Progressive Caucus intends to fall in step behind President Biden. The pushback by railroad workers and their supporters was swift.
Despite the intervention of the Biden administration, after nearly three years of contract negotiations, workers who operate the nation’s freight railroads are poised to go on a nationwide strike as early as next Friday. “Our members, and all rail labor in general, are frustrated,” said Matt Weaver, a Toledo-based rail worker and member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED). “It feels like there’s no respect for us.” Last week, the two largest rail unions announced a split decision on whether to approve a tentative, five-year agreement brokered ahead of a strike that was previously set to begin in September. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) narrowly ratified the agreement with 53.5% of members voting in favor, while the deal was rejected by just over 50% of train and engine service members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD).
Atlanta, Georgia - Around 55% of all US rail labor rejected a tentative contract agreement brokered in September, leaving the door open for a potential strike that could cost the country's economy an estimated $2 billion per day. According to Railroad Workers United Treasurer Hugh Sawyer, the decision was a long time coming. A locomotive engineer at Norfolk Southern with 34 years' experience, Sawyer has witnessed firsthand how working conditions on the railways have deteriorated over the last decade. He attributes those changes to private companies putting profits over people, as corporate execs and financiers bring in record sums while workers are left with scraps. The labor concerns on the rail lines extend beyond meager wages to quality-of-life issues stemming from punitive attendance policies, scheduling changes, and the inability to guarantee time off.
“He was my uncle. They killed him during the strike in the center of Puyo, here in Ecuador. He was my uncle, he was Oldemar Guatatoca Vargas.” Yolanda Vargas, a Shuar woman in her mid-30s, sits in her parked car in the remote jungle outpost of Palora, located within the province of Morona Santiago. She drove out there so she could get a cell phone signal to talk to me. The ride from her community takes roughly an hour over the dirt roads winding a narrow path through the Amazon. With everyone else in the community, besides her elderly and sick mother, in the capital of Quito taking part in El Paro Nacional—the National Strike—she’s had to bring her school-aged children with her, smooshed shoulder-to-shoulder in the front and back seats.
The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) on Oct. 26 became the second of 12 rail unions to reject a tentative agreement amending wages, benefits and work rules on most Class I railroads and many smaller ones. More than 60% of signalmen voted to reject the agreement, mirroring the 57% rejection rate of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters Union whose votes were announced Oct. 10. All 12 unions and the railroads previously agreed to maintain a status quo until “early December,” meaning no strike or management lockout until all 12 rail labor unions have completed the contract vote ratification process and made one last attempt to avert a strike or lockout. Unless carriers agree for a third time to offer deal sweeteners, a nationwide rail shutdown—the first since 1992—is looming, as a strike by even one union likely will cause picket lines to be honored by employees of all other unions.
After more than two weeks of mobilization, people’s movements in Ecuador reached an agreement with the government, bringing the national strike to halt. On Thursday, June 30, representatives of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), the Council of Indigenous Evangelical Peoples and Organizations of Ecuador (FEINE) and the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendant Organizations (FENOCIN) formally recognized a list of measures announced by the government, including a 15-cent reduction of the price of diesel fuel per gallon and a continuation of the discussion on the inclusion of Indigenous communities in debates that impact their livelihoods, like exploitation of land and water sources.
Monday, June 27 marked 15 days since the beginning of the national strike in Ecuador against the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso and his neoliberal economic policies. Since June 13, hundreds of thousands of people have been organizing protests and roadblocks across the country with a set of 10 demands that support the working class in the face of rising inflation and cost of living. On Monday, under the banner of “There are 10 demands, not 10 cents”, members of various peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations held a massive march in capital Quito to mark 15 days of the national strike and reinforce their social demands. The demands include: reduction and freeze of fuel prices; employment opportunities and labor guarantees...
The Ecuadorian people, with the indigenous and peasant movement at the forefront, have taken to the streets to express their resistance to the adverse impacts of the extreme neoliberal policies implemented by the government of banker Guillermo Lasso. The peaceful nationwide mobilization is demanding from the government response to critical aspects that affect the people in their daily lives, such as the lack of employment and labor rights, a moratorium and renegotiation of personal and family debts, fair prices for peasant production, control of basic prices and an end to speculation, fuel prices, respect for collective rights, no privatization of strategic sectors and public patrimony, funds for healthcare, limits to mining and oil extraction, education for all and effective security and protection policies.
On the 10th day of the national strike in Ecuador, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), Leonidas Iza, presented four conditions to the government of Guillermo Lasso before entering negotiations. The most significant condition was the end of police repression and cancellation of the nationwide state of exception. The indigenous leader also requested assurances that the government would not impose new decrees during the national strike, an end to attacks on demonstrators, respect for the humanitarian protection zones. Government response to requests In response, Ecuador’s Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, said that the government would not give in to the requests made by the Indigenous movements as conditions to end the national strike, which began on June 13. In addition, Carrillo announced the administration’s decision to implement a night curfew in an attempt to reduce demonstrations.
On Friday, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) President Leonidas Iza ratified that his organization will maintain the national strike as long as President Guillermo Lasso does not repeal his neoliberal policies and measures. He also announced that more Indigenous communities will undertake a march from the province of Cotopaxi to Quito City in the next 48 hours, for which his organization is making arrangements to guarantee some food for the thousands of protesters. In response to what Lasso said during a national television channel on Thursday night, Iza recalled that Ecuadorian social organizations have expressed their demands on several occasions and tried to find solutions to them through dialogue processes. The government, however, has not listened to the citizens.