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Labor Around The World

The CETA trade deal between Canada and the European Union made some headway last week when the European Parliament voted to approve it. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would eliminate 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU. This has been a controversial agreement. You can read more about the arguments against it here.

The effects of Brexit still loom on the auto industry. Ford is the latest carmaker looking for ways to mitigate the slowing growth in Europe, not to mention the anxiety over tariffs as their current business structure involves moving components freely between mainland Europe and the U.K. The company initiated labor talks with one of their plant earlier this month.

We’re seeing a steady growth in Chinese manufacturers setting up

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Labor Around The World

Australian union membership numbers are the lowest they’ve been since at least 1998, as reported by Roy Morgan, a research agency. At 17.4 percent, this number stands a little higher than the 15 percent reported last year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Whichever report you choose to give more credit to, one fact remains clear. The people of Australia are losing trust in their unions.

Taiwanese workers won big late last year when the decision was made that all citizens, by law, will be able to enjoy two days off work each week. The law went into effect on January 1.

January 1 was a big day for employees in France as well. On that day, a law went into effect granting employees the “right to disconnect” from work email and phone calls when they’re off the clock. Also in France, after 5 days of closure

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Labor Around The World

Canadian auto union, Unifor, has been renegotiating contracts with the Big Three automakers for the past several months. In late September, a deal was reached with GM. Just a couple of weeks ago, Fiat Chrysler avoided a strike when they settled with Unifor. The GM and FCA agreements are pretty similar. Ford workers are still holding out for a better deal on wages.

Prime Minister May

Prime Minister May

Trade Union Congress (TUC) is a federation of trade unions in Britain and Wales (similar to our AFL-CIO. They have called for the prime minister to require worker representatives be put on the boards of all companies. Mrs. May, Prime Minister, apparently made this pledge when running for office. TUC would like her to pony up.

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Labor Around The World

Undated image released Sunday Nov 25, 2007 by the Petrofac company of the Thistle Alpha oil platform in the North Sea. A major evacuation operation was launched after a fire broke out on a North Sea oil rig on Sunday. Ninety of the 159 people on board the remote platform, 120 miles(190km) north-west of Shetland, were airlifted to safety following the blaze. There were no casualties and the crews were returning to the rig, a spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/ Petrofac HO) ** HANDOUT UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE **

Just days ago, 400 oil platform workers in the North Sea stopped working for 24 hours. This is the largest industrial action the North Sea has seen in the last 28 years. Also this month, Han Sang-gyun, leader of

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Labor Around The World

Unfortunately for France, things didn’t settle down much this month. Last week, the police reported at least 75,000 protesters in Paris. Some of which threw stones and makeshift firebombs at police, ultimately causing the police to fire teargas.

The timing couldn’t have been worse as protests really picked up in the middle of the country preparing to host the UEFA Euro 2016 Futball tournament. As some workers rallied, cutting off fuel supplies, other workers were simply hoping they’d be able to get ahold of the fuel they needed to maintain and prepare the fields.

In other international news:

Ekiti (in north Nigeria) workers are protesting their government after the State hasn’t been able to pay their salaries in more than five months. A Netherlands union is being accused of knowingly hiding the fact that one of the factories their members worked in was exposing workers to

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Labor Around The World

Earlier this month Greek workers walked off the job to protest the country’s proposed pension cuts and tax increases. This work stoppage “halted public transportation services, shut down government offices and closed schools.” The strike, combined with additional weeks of sit-ins, has left trash piling up and blocked national highways.

Greece-strike

Protestors in Greece

On Wednesday, representatives from Greece, the International Monetary Fund, and the Eurogroup agreed upon “a series of loose measures to help restructure Greek debt when the country’s bailout deal concludes in 2018.” The country’s labor unions have not spoken out on these resolutions yet.

The French Cabinet has given Prime Minister Manuel Valls the go-ahead to push through highly-controversial labour reforms. These would make it easier for employers to hire and

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Labor Around The World

SAflagAfter a month-long strike, the South African Municipal Workers and Pikitup reached an agreement. This is excellent news for the people of Johannesburg, who have dealt with a month’s worth of waste accumulation on their streets.

frenchflagThings have gotten pretty dicey in France since President Francois Hollande and Manuel Valls proposed a reform to the French labor code. The part of the bill that people are taking issue with is the part that makes it easier to lay people off. When put that way, it’s easy to think it’s a bad thing. However, many believe that, as paradoxical as it sounds, this is a contributing factor to the mass unemployment in France. Nonetheless, the people of France are upset. Rioting is

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Labor Around The World

According to the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research, employees in Germany lost over 2 million work days last year to strikes or lock outs, the highest amount of time lost to labor action since the mid-1990’s.

In China, labor unrest continues to escalate as January continued to see a rise in strikes, particularly in the Guangdong province. As China struggles with economic issues similar to those faced by the rest of the world, Chinese unions mostly remain impotent and strikes are generally organized by employees themselves.

China-Strikes

Labor Around The World

A bill was introduced in the House of Commons in Great Britain last month requesting changes to the law which requires unions to disclose how they spend members’ dues money.

China has been cracking down on labor activists that “disrupt social order.” Three such leaders were arrested on December 3, 2015. Zhu Xiaomei of the Panyu Workers’ Center was finally released on bail February 2nd.

Argentine public sector workers are expected to strike on February 24th to protest the layoff of approximately 10,000 state workers since the beginning of 2016.

Labor Around The World

As China’s economic growth slows (2015 is likely to be the weakest recorded in 24 years), the country is seeing an increase in labor activism. The country has seen a 13-fold increase in strikes and protests since 2011. Chinese police have started arresting leaders of organized strikes.

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The UAW International Executive Board has nullified a resolution passed by its members. Local 2865 became the first American local union to endorse a boycott when 13,000 teaching assistants and student-workers at the University of California voted to do so in December 2014. Specifically, they have been supporting the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel that asks supporters to withhold financial investments in companies “complicit in severe and ongoing human rights violations as part of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.”