Trade Unions - NI 495- September  2016 - New Internationalist New Zealand

Trade Unions - NI 495- September 2016

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A note from the editor

A striking thought

It might just have been because I had my ear to the ground, but while I was researching this magazine, it seemed to me that the world had gone on strike. News cycles in May and June were reporting workers on strike in Britain (junior doctors, transport), France (transport), Italy (teachers), Belgium (transport), New York (communications), Greece (farmers, transport), Brazil (taxi drivers)... the list went on. I, like many others, no doubt, cheered them on while keeping my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by their actions.

Then I realized that, though each group was protesting against a particular injustice, as a whole they represented our best bet against a corporate, globalized world gone mad. Workers don’t go on strike lightly – they know that they will sacrifice pay and may also lose public support, or their jobs, or, in some countries, their lives. They strike as a last resort – because governments and employers won’t listen and because, long-term, a lot is at stake if they don’t.

So next time my travel plans are disrupted, or my routine doctor’s appointment cancelled, I will be trying to rise above the irritation and remember that trade unionists are fighting not just for themselves, but for us all.

Also in this issue, Jo Eckersley and Ashwin Hemmathagama report from Sri Lanka on a country still struggling to unite seven years after the end of the civil war, and we meet Afghanistan’s inspirational ‘mother of education’, Sakena Yacoobi.

Jo Lateu for the New Internationalist co-operative.


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