Printers Strike Leaves France with No Newspapers on July 5

By Harry Kelber | The World of Labor | July 6, 2012

Printers Strike Leaves France with No Newspapers on July 5

The French were left with no morning paper to accompany their croissant and coffee on Thursday morning after a nationwide strike by printers protesting layoffs. Many editors had to publish their Thursday issues online, free of charges.

A switch to digit technology has resulted in large numbers of redundancies in newspaper printing. According to news reports, Hersani publishing house has fired 670 people, and one newspaper distributing company has dismissed 1,000 employees.

The newspaper industry workers have called on the French government to intervene, and demanded a moratorium on layoffs. While newspapers have been shut down, their competitors in television and online outlets continue to do a brisk business, union printers complain.

Unions Join Forces in Protection of Dockers’ jobs

ITF-affiliated dockers’ union of the Netherlands and the UK-based Unite have teamed up in a campaign to safeguard the role of dockworkers, increasingly faced with competition from outside the profession. They want to re-assert lashing as a docker’s job and, in the process, protect jobs for young people coming into the industry.

Nick Starn, national secretary of FNV Bondgenoten section, said: "We will start a long-standing campaign to take back our dockers’ jobs and protect our jobs in the ports. We have to. The Lisbon Agenda and the corporate greed of banks and multinationals are forcing us to pick up the fight."

It’s not the only campaign that Unite and FNV have worked on jointly to promote recently. Unite backed the Dutch dockers when they protested outside a tennis tournament in Eastbourne, UK, last week over their pension struggle with insurance multinational, Aegon.

Unions Stage 1-Day General Strike in Argentina

Thousands of striking truckers and other union members gathered in front of Argentina’s presidential palace on July 4 to demand tax cuts in a one-day general work stoppage, seen as a challenge to President Cristina Fernandez. The strike was called by Hugo Moyano, the head of the powerful General Labor Confederation, who was once a close ally of Fernandez.

The strike’s effect was limited, despite the thousands of people streaming into the Plaza de Mayo, where Moyano made a stirring speech. Public transit workers, including bus and taxi drivers, didn’t take part in the strike, so that traffic in Buenos Aires and other cities was largely unaffected.

South Korea Braces for Labor Unrest

The South Korean government is preparing for a fresh epidemic of labor unrest, as the country’s much-weakened unions prepare for a comeback with strikes and other actions. Unionists at GM Korea are threatening a three-day partial strike next week.

Counterparts at Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors are set to vote next week on whether to join the Metal Workers unions in a partial strike on Friday, July 13. If they do strike, it will be their first in four years, Also, the Korean Financial Industry Union is threatening an all-out strike at the end of the month at more than 30 financial institutions for higher pay, shorter working hours, a later retirement age and an end to temporary jobs.

Industrial action is also spreading to sectors rarely targeted by unionists before. Broadcast workers struck for months this past year, demanding freedom of expression, Taxi drivers staged a one-day shutdown for higher fares and lower prices for fuel. Truckers struck for improvements in working conditions.

Russian Auto Workers Union Signs Favorable Agreement in Kaluga

The International Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), an IndustriaLL affiliate, signed a collective bargaining agreement with Benteler in Kaluga, Russia, thus securing the success of the March strike at the plant. Benteler is a Volkswagen supplier in the dense industrial area in Kaluga. The workers there joined the ITUA and sought an agreement with the company, but management refused to negotiate

However, after a two-day strike, management changed its mind and agreed to a collective bargain contract that included a 20 percent bonus in the basic wage, with extended 5 percent increases in July and October of 2012. The agreement also includes a worker’s right to refuse work not specified by the job description, and provides guarantees for union security.

The contract language also limits precarious work to 15 percent of the total work force in normal conditions and 25 percent in periods of expanding production. Agency workers have to be transferred to permanent positions in three months.

I.A.M. and IndustriALL Global Union to Offer Praise at Air Show

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) will join with representatives from IndustriALL, the newly-formed global union, at the Farnborough Air Show on July 10-11 to remind the visitors, vendors and customers that there would be no aerospace industry without the contributions of thousands of highly-skilled workers who belong to some of the world’s most progressive trade unions.

"It’s time to give credit to the men and women at aerospace companies and vendors who consistently produce the world’s most technically-advanced products with a degree of skill unmatched anywhere in the world," said I,A.M. International President Thomas Buffenbarger, who also serves as one of three IndustriALL vice presidents.

The IndustriALL delegates will also consider establishing a national award to be named each year in conjunction with the Farnborough and Paris Air Shows to recognize the aerospace company that is best committed to working with its unions and honoring international labor standards to produce the best products in the industry.

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