Two tactics of trade unionism in the face of global economic downturn

November 18, 2008

- Tim Bowron and Nick Kelly

trabajadoreschilenos2

trabajdoreschilenos1

Photos: ANEF (Chile)

On Monday November 17 over 400 000 public sector workers in Chile began an indefinite nationwide strike demanding a 14.5% pay increase to combat spiralling inflation (9.9% in the last year alone) and the rising cost of living. This was in response to the refusal of the centre-left “Concertación” government of Michelle Bachelet to significantly revise its original 5% wage offer since a 48 hour strike by public sector workers last week.

Meanwhile here in New Zealand where workers are also currently faced with a decline in real wages as well as the prospect of mass redundancies, the Public Servants Association has put out a grovelling press statement praising the incoming National government for its willingness to “engage” with them and offering to provide “constructive suggestions” to National’s promised review of government expenditure:

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Blue-Green

November 18, 2008
After committing to scrapping the ban on thermal generation and reviewing the ETS, John Key has discussed carbon tax as a market alternative. An adoption from the Greens, this policy would continue Key’s move to the centre. Overseas, it has been applied as a direct tax, affecting the pockets of road-users. The Workers Party opposes all measures that punish the consumer, as with GST, tax on cigarettes and the proposed levy on plastic bags.

More degradation occurs at production than consumption, and consumers have little influence over production. We must change the mode of production itself, so that it serves need rather than profit.


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