25 Jan 2007

Death of a Trade Unionist


The Green Party today condemned the brutal murder of Guatemalan trade unionist Pedro Zamora. Zamora, the General Secretary of the Guatemalan STEPQ dockers' union was shot 20 times by multiple assailants in the company of his two young sons, one of whom was injured in the attack in which 100 bullets were fired at the family. this is from Green Party statement.

I am aware of the stats that show with globalisation, that growth in income is going to a minority and that ordinary workers (i.e. most of us on this planet) are getting a smaller and smaller share.

Strong unions are vital to maintaining equality and moving towards a socially just planet...the world over trade union rights are under threat and in many parts of the world trade unionists are actually being killed.

The situation in Guatamala is particularly shocking, remember how a couple of days ago I reviewed El Norte, an 1980s film about peasants under threat from death squads escaping to America.

Remember how the 1954 coup in Guatamala, engineered by the CIA for United Fruit, led to the destruction of a socialist government and helped radicalise Che.

Now in 2007 the bloodshed continues.

To do something go to

Even the Economist are concerned that the 'level of exploitation' is on the increase, this is from their leader this week, incidentally while I don't agree with their neo-liberal politics, they are always a stimulating read (take with schnews though or dave osler who also has recently discussed this issue on his excellent blog as well as alert me to the story here).

These are the glory days of global capitalism. The mix of technology and economic integration transforming the world has created unparalleled prosperity. In the past five years the world has seen faster growth than at any time since the early 1970s. In China each person now produces four times as much as in the early 1990s. Having joined the global labour force, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries have won the chance to escape squalor and poverty. Hundreds of millions more stand to join them.

That promises to improve the lot of humanity as a whole incalculably. But in the rich world labour's share of GDP has fallen to historic lows, while profits are soaring. A clamour is abroad that Mr Nardelli and his friends among the top hundredth—or even the top thousandth—of the population are seizing the lion's share of globalisation's gains. Meanwhile everyone else—not just blue-collar factory workers but also the wider office-working middle class—shuffles along, grimly waiting for the next round of cost-cuts. They are not happy.


This is from one of their online articles

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