Category Archives: Labour

Change coming to OPSEU

On March 18, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union met in seven regional assemblies across the province to elect members of the union’s executive board, as well as to fill equity seeking committees and send delegates to affiliated labour bodies.

A campaign for “class struggle and union democracy”, launched in Toronto, succeeded in electing socialist Julius Arscott to one of three executive board seats in the Toronto region. The 188 delegates also elected militants Myles Magner, who is the Regional Vice President, and Jessica Sikora. Seven candidates contested the election, offering a spectrum of views from left to right. The successful candidates, all on the left, won on the first ballot, each garnering over 50% of the votes cast.

Myles Magner received a strong 76.5% after declaring that, if elected, he would run for President of OPSEU against incumbent Smokey Thomas who is mired in controversy over concessions bargaining, bad relations with staff, and possible collusion with a community college boss to have a union activist fired.

A clear mandate for change emerged from the Toronto Region 5 meeting of OPSEU. There are indications of this sentiment across the province. Elected are eight new Executive Board Members, some 40% of the top executive. This result comes at a volatile time, rife with intimidation tactics directed against union activists. One case is currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Trudeau clings to Harper’s odious refugee (and other) laws

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, can designate innocent groups of individuals arriving in Canada for discriminatory treatment. Designated Foreign Nationals (DFNs) are subject to mandatory detention for lengthy periods, with minimal review. There is no right of appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division for those whose refugee claims are denied. Even if a claimant is eventually recognized by Canada as a refugee, he or she cannot begin the process of bringing relatives to this country for at least five years — a violation of the fundamental right to speedy family reunification. Continue reading Trudeau clings to Harper’s odious refugee (and other) laws

Video: Jeremy Corbyn and the New Politics of the British Labour Party. 

Guest speaker, Michael Chessum from London, England opened the NDP Socialist Caucus / NDP Momentum Conference on 10 December 2016.

Michael’s presentation was on Jeremy Corbyn and the New Politics of the British Labour Party.

Michael is a member of the Momentum Steering Committee and has been a socialist activist in and around the Labour Party for a number of years. He was previously an organiser in the student and anti-austerity movements of 2010 and thereafter. He currently works as the national organiser for Another Europe is Possible, which was the radical Remain campaign in the EU referendum, and writes for the New Statesman, Guardian and other publications.

Michael’s presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxfnwywJHCY

The Q&A session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcMYezlXFxg

Corbyn set to beat Labour right wing, again

by Barry Weisleder
British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is on track to retain his job and defeat the right wing challenge to his leadership. The leftist Corbyn, 67 years old, campaigns for re-nationalization of public utilities and railways, and for unilateral disarmament of nuclear weapons. He beat out six other MPs to become Leader in October 2015, after attracting hundreds of thousands of new members to the party. Now he faces an all-members’ vote, with the result to be announced on September 21. The election was triggered by non-confidence expressed by about 70 per cent of the Labour MPs just after the Brexit referendum in late June. They accused Corbyn of failing to campaign for the ‘Remain in the EU’ side with sufficient enthusiasm. Now it is clear that it is the majority of LP MPs who are out of touch with the rank and file. As Corbyn speaks to huge support rallies across Britain, his remaining opponent, MP Owen Smith, is fading. Another adversary, MP Angela Eagle, pulled out of the race on July 19, and endorsed Smith.
In August, the British High Court ruled that people who joined the Labour Party after January 12 must now be permitted to vote for Leader. Labour officials were granted a right of appeal, but the court is unlikely to reverse its decision. More members with the right to vote is seen as a plus for Corbyn, who continues to attract new members who seek a radical political alternative to the Tory coalition government, now led by Theresa May, and to the Blairites.
Meanwhile, LP members elected a new National Executive Committee. All six pro-Corbyn, Momentum-backed candidates for the NEC won, thus making for a clean sweep. In addition, the vast majority of Constituency Labour Parties (local electoral district LP associations) voted to re-nominate Corbyn for Leader. Smith obtained the support of only 11 per cent, less than the number of CLPs that expressed no opinion.
In another development, Labour MP Sarah Champion, who was one of several who quit Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet right after the Brexit vote, has been reinstated after she “unresigned” back to her old post. Others who walked out on Corbyn are now rumoured to be looking for a way back. The tide is turning.
Supporters of the pro-war, austerity-friendly, ex-LP Leader and former Prime Minister Tony Blair have posted angry messages on the party’s official facebook page. Many threaten to stop their monthly automatic donations to the party. Their money may be missed more than their odious politics, but the swelling movement for a socialist, working class agenda can easily make up for all of it.
Speculation is rife that a split in the parliamentary caucus and the party as whole is imminent, especially as numerous MPs behind the failing coup against Corbyn face de-selection in their constituencies prior to the next general election. A split by the right wing, as in 1981, will produce a rump that will eventually seek refuge in the Liberal Democratic Party, perhaps even in Conservative ranks. Thus, this prospect opens up the possibility that the LP under Corbyn will move further to the left, posing a significant challenge, not only to capitalist austerity, but to capitalism itself.

Trans Pacific Partnership – Charter of Rights for Big Business

by John Orrett

Alongside burgeoning global trade is the concentration of power in giant Trans National Corporations (TNCs) able to move production to places where labour costs are the lowest. En route, those firms bully, threaten and reduce the wages and benefits of their workers.

Continue reading Trans Pacific Partnership – Charter of Rights for Big Business