Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Message From LabourStart

In the last couple of hours, tens of thousands of you received our appeal for help for Colombian public sector workers. Thousands of you responded to that appeal - and were greeted by error messages and blank screens.

What happened, as far as we can tell, is that the Colombian government began to block a couple of the email addresses we were targetting. This generated a large number of error messages which returned to our server.

Our web hosting company -- without consulting us -- decided that we were sending out spam messages. And they then proceeded to shut down the entire LabourStart website. We have now explained what happened, and they have restored our site -- including our Colombia campaign.

Their decision could not have come at worse time, as so many of you were eager to support that campaign.

I apologize to all of you for the inconvenience and hope that you will try again -- because our messages are getting through to other addresses in Colombia, including the union which needs to know that they are not alone, that people all over the world support them.

Thanks again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Canada: End the lockout at Acadian Coach Lines

The 3-month long lockout, affecting the areas of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, began in December 2011 when Acadian Coach Lines, a subsidiary of French multinational Keolis, locked out their employees because of a labour dispute. This has resulted in no intercity bus service in these provinces of Canada leaving many who rely on buses to get to and from cities in these provinces stranded.

The dispute began in late November 2011 when Acadian presented a concessionary contact to the workers, members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1229. The bus drivers, mechanics and sales agents had been working without a contract for months. The insulting contract was overwhelmingly rejected by 88% and workers gave their 72-hour strike notice to the company. Acadian then decided to lock out the workers.

The union has made numerous offers, most recently on February 12, 2012, to go back to the table with the help of a federally appointed mediator and return to work immediately, but Acadian has rejected all offers. The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and French transportation unions in CGT, CFDT and FO federations have expressed their solidarity with the ATU and its locked out workers.

The Amalgamated Transit Union has been waging a campaign working to build coalitions with transit advocates, labour organizations and other groups to bring attention to the corporate greed at Acadian and bring and end this lock out that has a major impact on working people and their families throughout New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Join the campaign HERE.

Egypt: Drop the charges against Kamal Abbas

On February 26 a Misdemeanor court in the city of Helwan sentenced Kamal Abbas, the general coordinator of CTUWS, in absentia, to six months imprisonment for “insulting a public officer” during the 2011 International Labour Conference in Geneva. The sentence refers to Thursday 9 June 2011, when Kamal Abbas interrupted Ismael Fahmy while he was delivering a speech to the Conference.
Kamal Abbas, who attended the Conference as a representative on the ITUC delegation, is accused of expressing his objection to the claim that the old state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation truly represented Egyptian workers.

The international trade union movement is extremely concerned by this sentence against Brother Abbas, and its implications for Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression, and democracy in Egypt.
We ask you to take part in this campaign to pressure the Egyptian authorities to immediately withdraw all charges, annul the sentence, and to refrain from any further harassment against trade unionists or other civil society representatives for the exercise of their legitimate activities.

Join the global campaign HERE.

Iran: Stop the execution of Abdolreza Ghanbari

Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 44-year-old lecturer of Payam e Nour University, was arrested at his home in Pakdasht on 4 January 2010. He was charged with Moharebeh (enmity towards God) for receiving unsolicited emails from an armed opposition group, to which he does not belong. While in detention at the notorious Evin Prison, Prof. Ghanbari was interrogated for 25 days in a row and forced to confess under duress to unproven charges.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was his lawyer until she was herself condemned to a six year sentence in Evin prison for "propaganda against the regime" and "acting against national security". In 2007, Prof. Ghanbari had already been detained for 120 days and sentenced to a six-month suspension from teaching and exiled from Sari to Pakdasht. Prof. Ghanbari has no known political connections. He was previously involved in teacher union activities until his union ITTA was dissolved in 2007.

 Prof. Ghanbari's death sentence has been confirmed by Tehran's Appeal Court, Branch 36 in April 2010. He has since been waiting on death row. A request for pardon was rejected on February 28 by the Commission of Justice in Tehran. It means that authorities are allowed to proceed with the execution. The Education International calls on the Iranian authorities to stay the execution of Prof. Abdolreza Ghanbari and revoke the death sentence; to drop all charges against all detained trade unionists and release them immediately; to comply with the international labour standards and respect the rights of Iranian workers to freedom of association, assembly and expression.

Go HERE to join the gobal solidarity campaign and help save this trade unionist's life.