Retail Wholesale Union
- Published: 18 July 2013
- Published: 13 May 2013
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
We are facing one of the most important elections here in BC in many years. The disgraced BC Liberals are trying to hold onto power by running one of the most negative campaigns in BC history. They have tried to turn this into a referendum on the popularity of leaders and have continually attacked Adrian Dix and the New Democrats although their own record in office is one of the worst ever.
The New Democrats will bring balance back to the government of BC. It is time that ordinary people were listened to again. There is more at stake here than the Liberals phony argument about the economy and the balanced budget and debt.
Just remember this government has been in power for twelve years and has run up the most provincial debt in the history of this province and we have lost 30,000 jobs since they launched their Jobs Program. The only reason the budget is balanced is because they say so, it has nothing to do with the true state of our finances.
You may have seen the Premier on TV last week with the President of the BCMEA. If you did not see it the BCMEA has endorsed the Liberals!
Please make sure you get out and vote Tuesday.
ILWU Canada Officers
- Published: 28 March 2013
Take Action Today: Sugar Cane Workers in Colombia in Jeopardy
Hundreds of sugar cane workers at the Cabaña plantation and sugar mill in Colombia face new threats of violence and murder. Take Action Now.
Workers have faced threats of violence ever since they formed the union in November 2012. A key leader of the union, Juan Carlos Perez Muñoz, was murdered on January 28, 2013.
Workers reported this week that plain clothes security guards, employed by the company, have boarded buses that carry workers to the plantation, and with guns in hand, have threatened to kill workers if they support the union and join a peaceful protest that started on March 6.
The company has military installations on its premises. Its own armed private security guards were recently bolstered by the arrival of anti-riot national police.
Workers organized the union last fall to protest long days, wages below prevailing local wage, no vacation pay, and no overtime. The company responded by effectively firing nearly 100 union members, including the entire executive committee of the union. More workers have since been fired and another 500 have been forced to disaffiliate in order retain their jobs.
The Cabaña mill is one of the two last hold outs among a dozen sugar mills in the Cauca region that have not ended the practice of using third party contractors, a key abuse targeted in the Colombia Labor Action Plan signed in April 2011. Following a major strike in 2008, most other sugar mills in the region agreed to hire their workers directly. The Cabaña sugar mill, however, has continued to use intermediaries who employ workers on short-term contracts under far worse conditions, prompting the formation of the union last fall.
The union reports that for nearly four months it had been asking the Ministry of Labor to enforce laws banning intermediation but there was no response even as workers were being fired, forced to disaffiliate to keep their jobs, and threatened with violence and intimidation. Only when the union threatened in early March to strike did the Ministry respond, with the Vice Minister convening a meeting on March 4 at which the government asked for more time and failed to take any concrete action other than promise to investigate the situation within one week. As of March 20, the workers had not heard anything from the Ministry of Labor.
On March 5, the union voted overwhelming to strike but the serious threat of violence and lack of confidence in the government have forced most union members to stay on the job while peaceful protests are carried out by the fired workers.
The union is affiliated to Sintrainagro, the largest private sector union in Latin America, which represents thousands of other sugar workers in the region.
Take Action. Contact the Colombian Government to urge it to end violence against these workers and ensure respect for their basic rights.