Organized uprisings erupt across the world
The intensifying international capitalist crisis causing grave hardships on the toiling people has caused global social unrest. Massive protest actions by unions and democratic organizations demanding higher wages, oil price rollbacks and economic rights and demands have erupted and is engulfing the world. Latin America’s Paro Nacional
The 18-day Paro Nacional (national strike) led by the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Conaie), federation of indigenous Ecuadorian groups, was a success. The strike ended on June 30 after Guillermo Lazo’s government responded to the group’s 10-point demand.
These demands include lowering of oil prices by 15 cents, price control on basic commodities, declaring a health emergency to speed up supply of medicines, subsidy for poor families, production subsidies and lowering of farmers’ debt interest, among others.
Since June 13, thousands of indigenous peoples and other sectors flooded the streets to prevent the traffic of vehicles and people. More than 20 major roads were paralyzed. At the height of the protests, human rights groups reported six killed, 300 wounded and illegal arrests in the series of police dispersals.
Unions and mass organizations in Uruguay also launched their own paro nacional beginning the second week of June.
Sectoral organizations mounted successive actions against social spending cuts. On June 9, the workers’ unions in the steel and milk industry demonstrated. Teachers and youth also took action on June 15 to fight the buget cuts in the education sector.
The following day, government employees held their strike. On June 29, construction workers demonstrated and maritime workers followed suit on July 5. They demanded job security, housing, collective negotiations and more.
In Panama, unions and broad alliances launched a national strike starting July 1 against neoliberal policies which according to them worsened during the pandemic. They faced the state’s violent response, barricaded the major roads and marched to large cities.
Their demands include lowering the prices of oil, basic commodities and medicine and higher wages and salaries. They also demanded an end to corruption, rehabilitation of schools, dismantling of four US military bases in the country and supporting national minorities.
Up to 80,000 Belgians participated in the strike launched last June 20. They demanded for government response to rising prices and costs of living. Protesters raised placards with slogans “More Respect, Higher Wages” and “end excise duty.” The protest paralyzed the local transportation including airport operations in Brussels.
In South Korea, at least 50,000 marched on the streets of Seoul last July 2 to call for the improvement of workers’ conditions. The protest was led by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. This was the first major protest launched in the country under the new government of Pres. Yoon Suk-Yeol.
In France, thousands of transportation workers held a strike on July 1 to demand wage increases in the face of rising inflation. At an airport, 17% of flights were temporarily paralyzed. The strike coincided with the first day of the country’s local vacation period.
In the United Kingdom, workers twice paralyzed the British train system. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers held a strike covering 14 railroad systems on June 16 and 23. It saw the participation of 40,000 workers and is said to have been the largest in the past three decades.
In South Africa, 4,000 contractual workers belonging to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa held a strike against three labor agencies that contract miners to Impala Platinum Holdings Limited. They demanded regularization of their jobs in the mining company, additional wages which according to them are far below what regular workers receive, and recognition of their union. Impala Platinum is the second largest platinum mine in the world.