Two Strikers Assassinated In Mexico

Press release from the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel & Related Workers of the Mexican Republic (aka Los Mineros)

Armed group from CTM (Confederation of Mexican Workersattacks striking mineworkers at the Media Luna mine in Azcala, Guerrero; two workers assassinated

Sunday 19 November 2017

On the night of Saturday, November 18th, armed death squads from the CTM attacked the striking workers of the Media Luna mine at a roadblock that the workers had set up in the town of Azcala in the municipality of Cocula, Guerrero near the mine, resulting in the death of two of the workers.

The workers went on strike 17 days ago because they refused to belong to the CTM, which does not defend their rights and constantly betrays, offends, harasses and attacks them; and is completely subordinated to the interests of the company, which is why they decided to affiliate to the National Mineworkers’ Union.

The National Union of Mineworkers holds the company responsible for this perverse and cowardly aggression along with the CTM and the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare.

The repression occurred while negotiations were going on between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Canadaian company Torex Gold Resources, the owner of Media Luna in Guerrero.

The National Union of Mineworkers demands that the mining concession under which this company operates in Mexico be withdrawn, as it has violated the law and social order and no longer deserves to have the right to operate in Mexico, a country whose laws it has violated without respect.

The actions of the CTM death squads are among the worst acts of repression directed at the mineworkers and local residents, for which reason the Union demands that the entities responsible (Torex Gold, CTM and STPS) be investigated and subjected to criminal penalties, so that this vile and cowardly aggression does not go unpunished.

Likewise, we hold responsible President Enrique Peña Nieto, Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, and the Army and Navy units that presumably protected the aggressors – according to the workers so that the full force of the law is directed against the intellectual and material authors of this aggression.

The repression occurred in the town of Azcala in the municipality of Cocula, Guerrero, near the Media Luna mine, where the workers had set up a roadblock, and brought on a  reaction that the repressors did not expect.  The workers of Media Luna, as well as the and the local residents, are outraged by these acts, and they demand that instead of the union election which was planned, the control of the collective bargaining agreement now be awarded immediately to the National Union of Mineworkers which they had sought to join from the beginning of this conflict.

The workers who died in this aggression are two brothers, Víctor and Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña. An army squadron detained the aggressors, but immediately released them due to an order from an unknown authority.

The striking workers at Media Luna identified the following persons as responsible for the attack by the CTM: local leaders Oscar Sotelo Gaspar, Marcelo Ríos Zúñiga, Marcial Barrios, Rodolfo Aldave Villalobos and the brothers Luis and Miguel Gómez Montiel; the last two – known as “the goats” – were the ones who directed the repressive operation.

The military patrol that intervened in the attack was Number 0827327, from the Military Zone of Iguala, Guerrero, whose members presumably participated in and are responsible for the disappearance of the 43 higher education students from Ayotzinapa, and was under the command of Lieutenant Erik Mondragón Serrano. At the moment of the attack members of the Gendarmerie (of the Federal Police) were present; these guarded the attackers and took them away, then released them in the area known as El Arenal.

The National Union of Mineworkers demands justice and a complete halt to the repression and attacks against the mineworkers in the State of Guerrero and throughout the country.

Note: The CTM is a supporter of ‘yellow’ unionism. It negotiates ‘sweetheart’ agreements with employers many of whom have granted CTM recognition rights without the agreement of the workforce.

Evidence shows that Mexican workers have usually received little benefit from these agreements. The CTM is seen as increasingly corrupt and right wing, and works to impede workers’ efforts to organize independent unions such as Los Mineros.

Los Mineros is a sister union of Unite The Union in the UK and Ireland and the United Steelworkers in the USA and Canada in Workers Uniting.

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Uber Loses Employment Rights Appeal

Uber the controversial the ride hailing app company has lost its appeal on the employments rights of its drivers, the GMB union has said.

The company was appealed against a previous decision by an Employment Tribunal that its drivers were entitled to basic employment rights.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected Uber’s argument that it is merely an ‘agent’ that connects drivers and passengers, and confirmed the Employment Tribunal’s decision that the true nature of the relationship is Uber drivers work actually for Uber. Uber says it will again appeal against the decision to the Court Of Appeal and possibly to the Supreme Court.

“This landmark decision is yet more vindication for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe,” said Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director. “GMB is delighted the EAT made the correct decision to uphold the original employment tribunal ruling. Uber must now face up to its responsibilities and give its workers the rights to which they are entitled.

“GMB urges the company not to waste everyone’s time and money dragging their lost cause to the Supreme Court.”

The ride-hailing app based company is also currently appealing a decision by Transport For London stop the company from doing business in the capital.

In September TfL said it would not renew Uber’s licence to operate in London.

Tfl have said that “Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.”

Further news items on this important decision will be tweeted on @unionfreedom

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Aussie Cops Raid On Union: Workers Uniting Statement

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Aussie Cops Raid Union Offices – Sink To ‘New Low’

From Barry Camfield in Australia

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) is the Australia’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union representing over 100,000 working men and women and their families.

On Tuesday 24th October 2017, the offices of the AWU were raided by the Australian Federal Police. The police were acting on the instructions of a new anti-union organisation set up in May 2017 by the right wing Liberal Govenment under Malcolm Turnbull, the ‘Registered Organisations Commission’ (ROC). The ROC was set up with a single purpose, to smear and attack the trade union movement, and through that to smear and attack Bill Shorten, Labour’s leader.

A real and vicious witch hunt against unions and the Govenmentt’s political opponents has been launched by the Liberal (Tory) Government. The raids on union offices in Sydney and Melbourne has been described as clearly a political act.

The raid upon the AWU sought to seize documents relating to an investigation into the union’s donations. The ROC says it is looking into whether donations of $100,000 made to an NGO ‘GetUp Limited’ during the financial year ending 2006 were approved under the AWU rules. The AWU say this:

“The AWU has always provided support to different campaigning and community organisations. We were proud to be early supporters of the formation of GetUp! All donations are processed and disclosed as appropriate, and that’s certainly the case here. The support we gave to GetUp! was endorsed by national executive at the time.”

One of two payments of $50,000 was authorised by the current leader of the Labor Party, Bill Shorten, then Secretary of the AWU. Here is the connection to the political attack on the Labor Party, from an authorised donation made 10 years previously by an independent trade union. “We made declarations that we had made donations to it (GetUp) and yet, fast forward 10 years and we had 32 AFP officers raiding our offices yesterday”

ROC is also investigating a $25,000 payment to Bill Shorten’s election campaign back in 2007, and other donations to Labor campaigns at the time.

Sally McManus, General Secretary of the ACTU said: “The ACTU condemns the nakedly political use of the AFP in today’s action against working people and their representatives. Using the police in such a way, while refusing to do anything to prevent money laundering by terrorists and drug dealers by the big banks, demonstrates the government’s appalling priorities. This is the sort of action you would expect to see by an authoritarian dictator, and it has no place in Australia. All Australians should be disgusted. Malcolm Turnbull’s grubby political tactics and abuse of power to attack those who oppose his anti-worker policies is a new low.”

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary (which represents 181 million workers in 163 countries with 340 national affiliates) said: “Media outlets were given advance warning of the raids, presumably by the government, to maximise publicity. The raids are apparently about allegations that the union gave financial support to a progressive community group ‘GetUp’ along with political candidates more than a decade ago. This is an abuse of power by a government that is behind in the polls and is turning to union bashing to try to bolster its flagging fortunes. We are used to seeing these kind of tactics in dictatorships, not democracies”.

 Luke Hilakari, Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council said: Michaelia Cash (the Liberal Govenment  Minister for Employment) told  Parliament five times that neither she or her office had any idea about the raids that were about to take place at AWU offices earlier this week. But then.. she admitted her staff had leaked to the media. Make no mistake, these raids were staged. …Trying his best to divide us, Malcolm Turnbull is actually bringing us all together. Today and every day, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Sally McManus who is leading our fight and with the AWU members under attack.

Michaelia Cash, along with the Liberal Party asked for an investigation into Bill Shorten and that’s what the ROC has delivered, complete with police and media crews who had been tipped off ahead of time.

The raid represents the misuse and abuse of police powers for political ends. This is not about criminal behaviour, this is not about whether the AWU made donations to GetUp or Labor, these donations were never a secret and were well understood by everyone in the union at the time. No, the ROC is investigating whether the correct paperwork was filed 10 years ago! This is a smear campaign by a right wing Government, against unions and its political opposition – pure and simple.

The AWU have said this “For 131 years conservative governments have tried to destroy the collective voice of working people and they have failed every time. You can rest assured that we won’t be intimidated and we won’t back down in the face of government threats”.

 

 

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Mexican Presidential Candidate Says He Will End Persecution Of Union Leaders

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Below is a translation of an article from La Jornada Zacatecas (October 16th) reporting on a speech from Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in support of Napoleón Gómez and Los Mineros.

López Obrador visited Sombrerete, Miguel Auza and Rio Grande. Section 201 of Los Mineros in Sombrerete, where this speech was made, has been on strike against Grupo México for over ten years.

“Ending the persecution of union leaders, in the mining sector was one of the commitments made on October 14th by the national leader of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), Andrés Manuel López Obrador, during his meeting in Sombrerete..

Taking advantage of his presence in Sombrerete, a mining town, he said that not only is this change of attitude a commitment of those who fight for justice in Mexico, but he has received requests in this regard at the international level.

He recalled that during his visit to the United Kingdom at a meeting on September 6th addressed by General Secretary Len McCluskey and Assistant General Secretary Tony Burke of Unite which supports the “strongest party defending the workers” (the Labour Party) he said that: “I was asked by the leaders of the union not to abandon those who are being persecuted by this corrupt government of Enrique Peña Nieto, as they were persecuted during the corrupt government of Felipe Calderón.”

He made explicit reference to Los Mineros union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia and said that: “He will be able to return to live in Mexico without any persecution, it is a commitment because he has been persecuted by the mafia in power.”

Also, on the trade union issue, he pointed out that Morena when in charge of the Federal Government would guarantee freedom and democracy within companies with the presence of unions so they do not have ‘yellow unions” but unions which defend the interests of workers.

“We will support all the leaders and in particular will guarantee freedom to the mining unions and that if the workers decide, there will always be elections so that the union leaders listen to the workers; so that they are not “charro” leaders who serve only the bosses; so that they really defend the workers and that there is trade union democracy,” he said.

As well as addressing the miners, he also mentioned the Zacatecan teachers, assuring them that with the triumph of Morena “the so-called ‘Education Reform’ is going down the drain.”

He added that “privatizations are going to end. Education will not be privatised, health will not be privatised. On the contrary, there will be a welfare state. It will guarantee the safety of the Mexican from birth until he dies, from the cradle to the grave. “

Morena’s guarantee, he emphasized, is that “the government will not be in the hands of corrupt people; we are all going to assert honesty. Corruption will no longer be the example to follow, but honesty as a way of life and as a form of government. “

On another issue, Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke about the re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which are currently underway.

In this regard, he considered that it is “very risky” that Mexico has entered into these discussions on the trade agreement with the United States and Canada because President Enrique Peña Nieto “is very weak and Donald Trump is acting arrogantly.”

Thanks to Ben Davis of the United Steelworkers.

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CWU – High Court Injunction – “A Sinister Development”

Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom

Commenting on the decision by the High Court to grant the Royal Mail an injunction against the CWU taking strike action following a properly balloted strike and overwhelming supported by their members Campaign For Trade Union Freedom President Professor Keith Ewing, one of the UKs leading employment law specialists said:

“This is a potentially sinister development, catching unions with a new legal restraint even when they overcome the hurdles of the Trade Union Act 2016. “

“The lesson to unions is that they need to be very careful about the terms of collective agreements so that they do not inadvertently empower employers to restrain industrial action.” 

“The ingenuity and enthusiasm of the courts to find novel ways of restricting industrial action continues unabated down the centuries.”

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CWU Says Dispute Postponed Not Cancelled

Following the decision by the High Court to grant an injunction against the CWU stopping strike action – despite members returining a massive vote in favour of action – in both the turnout and a yes vote – the CWU issued the following statement.

“Defiant cheers greeted CWU leaders this afternoon (October 12th) as they vowed to fight on despite a legal ruling against us at the Royal Court of Justice.

Royal Mail’s legal bid for an injunction preventing the union from striking next week was granted by the judge, Justice Supperstone, in a verdict, which our general secretary Dave Ward said would make members “disappointed and angry.”

The company had “acted in bad faith,” said Dave, adding that the injunction granted had set a formal timetable for negotiations and that, unless the company shifted it’s position “significantly and quickly” they would soon have to face “the reality of industrial action.”

Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger accused the business of “trying to stop the democratic rights of our members.

“But they haven’t cancelled this dispute, they’ve just postponed the dispute,” Terry added.

And in a stern warning to the people at the top of Royal Mail, the DGSP said that unless the renewed negotiations achieved a fair deal, “the industrial action will be back on.”

* the union’s national leadership will meet as soon as possible to discuss the next steps forward.

*For the avoidance of doubt the strike action planned for 19/20 October has been withdrawn.

The Royal Mail argued in court that the Communication Workers’ Union had fallen foul of the law by not going through ‘dispute resolution’ procedures agreed at the time of privatisation. Union reps denied this claim.

Campaign for Trade Union Freedom chairman Tony Burke told the Morning Star: “This is unbelievable given the size of the vote in favour and a turnout that  passed the 50 per cent mark by miles. It’s ludicrous that the High Court has granted the injunction.”

CTUF will be posting/tweeting updates and news on the decision by the High Court and information from the CWU.

Please support the CWU in their fight against this decision which is designed to stop a legitimate dispute overwhelmingly supported by members of the union.

 

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CTUF – IER Fringe at Labour Conference

There has been an error regarding details of the CTUF- IER Fringe on Monday lunchtime (25th September) – the event has been omitted from the official printed fringe guide.

We are trying to make sure the Fringe is included in the Labour Party Conference app.

Go to App Store and search for Labour Conference.

Easy to use and  download to an i-phone – choose a meeting you want to attend and the app will transfer the information to your calendar with alerts, etc.

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CTUF Manchester Rally – Cancelled

This to advise all of our supporters and affiliates that the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom Rally, due to be held in association with the People’s Assembly “Take Back Manchester” initaive on 1st October has been cancelled.

We apologise to listed speakers and others who have been contacted to speak at our rally and those supporters who indicated they would be attending.

The People’s Assembly has kindly offered that speakers from the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom Rally the opportunity to speak from the main People’s Assembly platform on the day.

Please pass on this message if possible. 

 

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John McDonnell statement read at CTUF – IER Fringe at the TUC

Brothers and Sisters, first of all apologies for not being with you tonight. I have had to return to London as I have a constituency engagement that has clashed with this meeting. We also have a heavy Parliamentary week ahead of us.

I want to set out briefly the work we are undertaking to develop our plans for government with respect to securing a renaissance of employment rights in this country when Labour returns to power.

We are now taking the policies outlined in Labour’s Manifesto and for each policy preparing a detailed implementation plan including the design of structures and mechanisms for implementation and the drafting of any legislation to implement the policy agenda.

This also means developing the detailed plans for any structural changes in the machinery of government.

As you know thanks to the tremendous work undertaken by Carolyn Jones, John Hendy and Keith Ewing the IER supplied us with a pretty detailed and comprehensive set of proposals for reform in its booklet whose launch I had the privilege to speak at in the House of Commons.

We are taking that booklet as the basis for our implementation manual in this field.

That includes preparing now the detailed plans for the setting up of a new ministry of labour, its full terms of reference, internal structures and remits and its ministerial and staffing structure.

This ministry will be charged with spearheading the legislative programme to establish firm employment rights once again in this country and the return of effective collective bargaining.

During this preparation for government period we will need to draw throughout on your expertise and experience to ensure that we secure the legislative proposals, structures and mechanisms to be put in place as soon as we return to government.

We envisage working closely as ever with you.

As we do this work we obviously cannot take the election of a Labour government for granted.

That means our campaign to win people to our aims, policies and programme continues apace.

In the past some in the Labour Party have viewed campaigning on employment rights and supporting trade unions as vote losers.

Some have distanced themselves from a close relationship between Labour and the trade union movement.

We think our campaign for decent employment rights, support for trade unionism and the principle of a society based upon solidarity is a key vote winner that lays the foundations of support in our wider society that any Labour government needs if it is to succeed.

If there is one thing that I would like people to take away from this TUC week, it is this.

We are all members of the Labour and Trade Union Movement. It is one movement and never again should we let any one divide us.

I want once again to thank the IER for its sterling work on behalf of our movement and state very clearly that we will continue our close working so that when Labour goes into government, we all go into government.

Solidarity

John McDonnell MP

Shadow Chancellor

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Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, UK Employment Rights | 2 Comments