The anarcho-syndicalist union in Spain, (Confederacion General de Trabajadores (CGT) has doubled its vote in the latest elections for union representatives to RENFE, the State rail company.
The way representatives are elected in Spain is to allow the workers to vote for which union they would like to support them, and the union then gets that proportion of representatives.
CGT is now the second largest union with 31% of the vote, after CCOO (Comissiones Obreres), the communist-dominated union. The rise of the anarchist vote is due to its more militant stand compared to other unions, in its fight to stop the privatisation of RENFE and its demand to keep it as a single company.
The CGT has also increased its vote recently in the SEAT factory in Martorell, Spain, from 7 to 12 delegates, due to its superior strike support work.
THERE IS A media myth that all Serbians are warmongers and ultra-nationalists. It is not true. The independent Serbian union federation Nezavispost (Independence) condemns the war against Bosnia, and organised a protest in Belgrade shortly after the war began. Several nationalists and members of "opposition" parties backing the war resigned from the union (and some went to the front) to support the war.
Nezavispost president Branislav Canak has no use for their talk of a "Greater Serbia" and the conquest of the former Yugoslavia, "I can't accept this... For me, this is the end of civilisation. All of us will be the losers". The union claims 200,000 members in mining, food processing, engineering and hotels. Government affiliated 'unions' have been trying to break them by offering cash payments to members who agree to tear up their membership cards.
Source: IUF news bulletin & Libertarian Labour Review
US Labour Secretary, Robert Reich, recently told an international gathering that sanctions should be enforced against only the very worst violators of workers rights. This means countries that rely on prison labour, suppress independent unions, or use force to break strikes.
The US fails even this relaxed standard. The economy increasingly uses prison labour (such as making furniture, processing airline and hotel reservations, and doing outsourced clerical work for wages ranging from $1 to $10 a day). The government routinely suppresses strikes (airline attendants, railroad workers and teachers have all been ordered back to work by government decree in recent months). A growing number of US unions operate under court-appointed "leaders".
Source: Libertarian Labour Review
ABOUT 350 people turned up for the 'Visions of Freedom' anarchist conference in Sydney, Australia, last January. Workshops dealt with anarchist media, workplace organising, womens struggles, privatisation, and more. During the conference a small computer centre connected to the Internet was set up. The entire Spunk Press archive (which includes articles, pamphlets and policy statements from the WSM) was available to participants on either computer disk or on paper.
Originally published in Workers Solidarity 45, 1995