‘Ethical’ employer issues arrest warrants for protesting workers

Workers from a West Bengal tea plantation who participated in a protest last year against the abusive treatment of a pregnant 22 year-old tea garden worker could face prison sentences of up to 7 years, if India’s powerful Tata Group has its way.

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Algeria: Union headquarters shut down

On 12 May 2010, Algerian authorities effectively shut down La Maison des Syndicats (2 Rue El Oued, Bach Djarrah, Algiers), the headquarters of an important coalition of independent labor unions fighting for workers rights, including the Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP). Their website has also been shut down. 

SNAPAP logo.

The closure was justified on the grounds that the space was being used as a meeting place for young men and women, meetings were held that were not authorized by the government, foreign nationals were invited to some of these meetings without government authorization, and a general disruption of public order by the occupants.

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Teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was secretly executed

Teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was secretly executed over the weekend. The international trade union movement cannot be silent. Please send your message today and spread the word:


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25 per cent of NDP voters support Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan

From page 11 of the PDF: The oppose/support split is 62/25 among New Democrats according to an April 8th Ekos poll.
My point: There is room for debate in our Party on this issue.  If the perception of Canada’s role is to be changed to a commitment to building roads, schools and hospitals, would the opposition to a Canadian presence be as strong?
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Canadian chairman of Afghanistan’s Electoral Commission in Ottawa March 9

The Canadian chairman of the Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission who blocked the fraud-plagued first round in last year’s Afghan presidential elections will join the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee on a growing panel of hard-hitting speakers in Ottawa on March 9.

Grant Kippen was a UN appointee to the ECC when it forced a second round in last year’s elections, heading off a possibly fatal political crisis in the country. Now, Afghan president Hamid Karzai has decreed that all ECC appointees will be made by the presidential palace.

Mr. Kippen brings vast experience and expertise to the “Canada and Afghanistan: Keeping Our Promises” event, hosted by the Free Thinking Film Society at the National Archives Hall in Ottawa. At the event, CASC will unveil its "Keeping Our Promises" vision for a renewed Canadian mission in Afghanistan post-2011.

His Excellency Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada, also agreed to join the panel earlier this week. Ludin has outlined the systemic challenges facing the Karzai government in tackling corruption, the security challenge and economic obstacles, noting the solutions will come in partnership with the international community.

Other panelists and speakers at the event are Major-General (Ret’d) Lewis Mackenzie; Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar City; Nasrine Gross, Afghan-American writer and human rights activist; Dr. Nipa Banerjee, currently a professor of international development at the University of Ottawa and former head of CIDA in Afghanistan (2003-2006); Dr. Douglas Bland, Chair of the Defence Management Studies Program at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University; CASC co-founders Lauryn Oates, a human rights and gender equity activist, and Terry Glavin, author and journalist.

The event will also raise funds for the Canadian International Learning Foundation and its collaboration with the Afghan School Project in Kandahar.

Event Details

March 9, 2010, 7:00 pm
National Archives/Library of Canada, 395 Wellington St., Ottawa
Tickets: $30 regular admission, $15 students

* Purchase tickets online:

* Purchase tickets in person:
Ottawa Folklore Centre (1111 Bank Street, Ottawa)
Compact Music (190 Bank; 7851 ½ Bank Street, Ottawa)

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Mexican electrical workers union faces destruction as police seize hundreds of installations

On Saturday, October 10, thousands of Mexican Federal Police seized control of hundreds of installations of the state-owned Central Light and Power Company (Luz y Fuerza del Centro), which supplies electricity to Mexico City and several neighbouring states.

Minutes later the government announced that the company was being liquidated and the 40,000 unionized workers dismissed.

If allowed to stand, the government’s decree could lead not only to the privatization of the country’s electrical industry, but also to the destruction of the Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union (SME) and elimination of its members’ collective agreement and pension benefits for 15,000 retirees.

The SME is one of Mexico’s oldest independent trade union organizations with one of the best collective agreements in the country. It has been playing a leading role in the fight against privatization, proposed regressive reforms to the Federal Labour Law, and other neoliberal policies.

Its destruction would therefore represent a major setback for Mexico’s independent labour movement and for all Mexican workers.

Please click here to send on your protest

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The ongoing struggle by Lipton Tea workers in Pakistan has turned ugly, as contractors collude with factory management to instigate violent attacks on the workers. The IUF is calling on Unilever (which owns Lipton) to stop the violence and negotiate with the workers. They need all of us to sign up to the latest online campaign:



Two of the world’s largest and most important trade union movements are holding their national congresses this week — the AFL-CIO is meeting in Pittsburgh and the Trades Union Congress meets in Liverpool.

Both organizations are making exceptional use of the Internet, with dedicated websites featuring streaming video, integration of social networking tools Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, and more. The TUC takes things a step forward by allowing visitors to the congress website to actually post comments and get involved in the discussion.

The sites can be found at http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/thisistheaflcio/convention/2009/ and http://www.congressvoices.org/


Several months ago we told you about the struggle being waged by Israeli Arabs employed by the country’s railways who were threatened with dismissal due to the fact that they had not served in the army. This week a long struggle by those workers and their supporters has resulted in a major win. According to a press release issued by Sawt el-Amel (The Laborer’s Voice), "This morning, [the] Tel Aviv Labour Court ruled that until a final court decision, Israel Railways cannot lay off any Arab railway crossing guard as a consequence of its new employment policy." For the full statement, go here:


We have also been telling you about the struggle of low-paid workers employed by the Israel Antiquities Authorties (both Arabs and Jews) who have become the latest victims of the process of casualization that affects workers around the world. Their struggle has included legal battles, street demonstrations and a big LabourStart campaign, In the next few weeks we should see some legal decisions — including results of the libel action brought by the employer against our partners in the Workers Advice Center (WAC). WAC has written up a detailed account which I encourage you to read:


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