Italy’s Beaches Are Empty as Umbrella Men Strike <p&g= t;<strong>By Harry Kelber | The World of Labor | August 5, 2012</st= rong></p> <h5>Italy’s Beaches Are Empty as Umbrella Men Strik= e</h5> <p>Italian beaches were denied of their usual August crow= ds on Friday as beach clubs staged a short strike, the latest in an emotive = conflict over right of access to the Mediterranean country’s sun-soaked coas= t. The strike, organized by the beachworkers’ union during the peak season, = to protest against the government’s plan that would see the right to operate= patches of seafront decided by auction from 2016.</p> <p>Althou= gh it is state property, access to much of the Italian coast has long been c= ontrolled by the beach clubs, which blanket the sands with umbrellas and sun= -burgers, and charge beach goers to use them. Access to beaches is a hot pol= itical issue in Italy, where it is traditional to abandon the sweltering cit= ies for the coast during the August holiday season.</p> <p>But a= s temperatures edged up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) on Friday, row= s of colorful beach umbrellas the length of Italy remained unfurled.</p&g= t; <p>Environmental groups have long protested that the beach club’s g= rip illegally prevents free public access to the sea, staging protests to re= claim the beaches in a campaign which the Italian media have dubbed &quo= t;the beach umbrella war.&quot;</p> <h5>German Union Vows No= Closing of GM’s Opal</h5> <p>General Motors said this week it h= opes to soon reach a &quot;comprehensive&quot; agreement with its Ge= rman unions to restructure its troubled Opel subsidiary, as union leaders in= sisted that plant closures were &quot;off the table.&quot;</p>= <p>&quot;Opal management and German unions are continuing to disc= uss a broad range of issues to help ensure the sustainability of the busines= s, including productivity, cost and capacity&quot;, said chief executive= Dan Akerson. &quot;We expect to have a comprehensive agreement this fal= l.&quot;</p> <p>In response, the IG Metall union said bluntl= y that it would not discuss plant closures. Rainer Einenkel, head of the Wor= ks Council at Opel’s Bochum plant, &quot;We will do everything in our po= wer to make sure that no other European plant closes in Spain, England or Po= land,&quot; he added.</p> <h5>Crackdown on Striking Swasilan= d Teachers</h5> <p>King Mawali, one of the last of the African m= onarchs, has demonstrated many times in recent years that he is not one to b= ack down in the face of protests. He has proven it again. Five weeks into an= exceedingly bitter strike by teachers, the Swazi government has done what i= t does best: to silence its opponents.</p> <p>In a normal countr= y, the government would have seriously negotiated with the teachers, who are= demanding a 4.5 percent salary increase for three years, and a way below th= e inflation rate. which currently stands at 9 percent. But Swaziland is not = a normal country. It is an absolute monarchy, and the king absolutely refuse= d to show his government negotiating with teachers.</p> <p>The m= inister has cut wages far beyond what conservative countries consider accept= able, and even worse, he has fired 250 teachers who had participated in the = five-week strike.</p> <h5>Spain’s Anti-Privatization Rail Strike= Disrupts Train Schedules</h5> <p>Hundreds of trains were cancel= led throughout Spain amid a one-day strike by rail workers protesting agains= t privatization plans. The government wants to sell off half the country’s r= ail sector in a drive to slash the public deficit.”</p> <p>The = workers also oppose minimum service levels being imposed on hiring than thos= e before–and not only on passenger trains. One Madrid passenger, sympatheti= c to the rail strikers, a civil servant worker hard hit by the country’s aus= terity program, said the government should &quot;make more cuts at the t= op, then we’d react differently.&quot;</p> <p>The unions cla= im that privatization could jeopardize the safety and quality of public tran= sport and affect about 100,000 jobs. They are planning another nationwide st= rike on September 17,</p> <h5>A Proposal for the Largest Private= Sector Union in Canada</h5> <p>The blueprint for the creation o= f what would be Canada’s largest industrial union was released Aug. 4 at a p= ress conference in Toronto. Representatives of the Communications, Energy an= d Paperworkers unions of Canada (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers Union (C= AW) approved the final report of the joint committee for the creation of a n= ew union.</p> <p>The new union will represent more than 300,000 = union members across Canada with a strong presence in every province. It wil= l make organizing in the private industry a top priority for new members. by= setting aside a $50,000 fund for organizing purposes.</p> <p>&a= mp;quot;The proposal for a new union was built on principles of democracy, t= ransparency and progress for working people&quot;, said Dave Coles, pres= ident of CEP. This report is the first step toward reaching out beyond tradi= tional workplaces and increasing the political influence of working people i= n Canada.&quot;</p> <h5>Egypt’s Transport Authority Workers = End Sit-in After Talks</h5> <p>Dozens of Egyptian Public Transit= Authority Workers ended their sit-in at the Authority headquarters after me= eting a delegate from President Mohamed Morsi, who promised them that the pr= esident would personally intervene to resolve the crisis, they said.</p&g= t; <p>Tareq al-Beheiri, spokesperson for the Independent Syndicate for= Authority Workers, said the protesters have handed the president’s delegate= a statement of their demands, which he promised to deliver to the president= . The move comes ahead of an expected presidential decree that would either = delegate the Authority to the Transportation Ministry or turn it into an in = independent holding company.</p> <p>The President has ordered th= e Authority managers to resolve their problems and to overcome all obstacles= that hinder their work. Workers were told that the Authority’s management h= ad decided to adopt paid sick leave and to increase the distinctive drivers’= incentive LE-7 to LE-10 per driver per day.</p>
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