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Vol. 73/No. 17      May 4, 2009

On the Picket Line
600 Steelworkers in Ontario
strike against wage cuts

HAMILTON, Ontario—More than 600 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7135 went on strike here against National Steel Car April 6. The previous day, the union members had voted by almost 96 percent to authorize strike action when their contract expired at midnight.

USW Local 7135 president Gary Pedron, a welder at National Steel Car for 13 years, told the Militant that the key issues in the strike are company demands for “slashing wages by 25 percent” and attacking seniority rights.

Maurice Rozon, a 35-year veteran in the plant, said the company’s attacks on seniority “would allow foremen to work on the plant floor leaving workers like myself unemployed.”

About 760 workers at National Steel Car are currently on layoff, and the 600 remaining workers have been working only four days a week. In 2006, some 2,400 USW members worked in the plant.

—Beverly Bernardo

Ship demolition workers
in India win strike

Workers dismantling ships at the Alang/Sosiya shipyard in Gujarat, India, beat back an attempt by the company to reduce their wages, reported the International Metalworkers Federation April 9. The boss wanted to cut their pay by almost 20 percent.

On March 23 and 24 more than 20,000 members of the recently formed union in the shipyard put down their tools in protest. The federation statement said the company used the global economic crisis to justify its action even though the amount of work it demanded had increased.

During the strike the company attempted to obtain an injunction against union representatives entering the yard to talk with workers.

—Sam Manuel

Netherlands airport cleaners
end strike in victory

Cleaners at the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands ended their strike April 8 after the company acceded to most of their demands. The company has agreed to provide a travel allowance and to give the workers a 50-euro bonus (1 euro = US$1.32). The workers will also get a one-off annual bonus of 0.5 percent of their gross yearly income. The company agreed to provide workers with a suitable lunchroom.

The three-month campaign for the union’s demands included a four-day strike. Union officials said the campaign was in preparation for contract negotiations scheduled to start at the end of the year.

—Sam Manuel
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Workers in Greece say, ‘Bosses should pay for crisis, not us’  
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