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The Global Chain Gang

Auto, a games industry worker and SolFed member, writes about the horrific working conditions of those at the other end of his industry's supply chain; workers in the infamous factories of Foxconn. He argues that despite being halfway around the world, we're not so different after all...

Last month I wrote an article about crunch time in the games industry; the large amounts of unpaid overtime that have become a common feature of the game development cycle. However, us tech workers in the west are simply the thin end of the wedge. If you want to see true horrors of exploitation, simply spin the globe and look at to the east. To China, Taiwan and all the other new darlings of the manufacturing industry.

International campaign wins first concessions against OTTO temp agency

Appeal to send protest faxes/e-mails till Monday noon

After a month of campaigning, pressure is mounting on the temp agency OTTO. SolFed's sister organisations in Poland and Slovakia, as well as the Dutch Vrije Bond, have picketed the agency after they learnt how they exploit especially Polish, Czech and Slovak workers doing temporary work in Holland.

Apparently, the company is trying to hush up the problem and satisfy the workers with partial concessions. However, no changes were made regarding for example housing conditions, and the CEO still claims there is no system of fines in the company. Also, more workers have contacted the activists and want to join the struggle, and the campaign is thus not over.

Revolution for Egypt

Below is the text of a speech given by a member of our Polish sister organisation, the ZSP-IWA, outside the Eyptian embassy in Warsaw.

The human urge for freedom and dignity burns intensely in Egypt. We support this urge for change, for greater freedom and a chance to shape ones own life. Only we ask the question: what next?

Stop the war

As Catalyst goes to press, the Bush-Blair war machine is cranking up. Such time can only bring more misery for millions of Iraqi's and others around the world. The Iraqi people have already suffered for years, from sanctions imposed by the west, adding to the terror they have endured under Saddam Hussain. It is worth remembering that the said dictator had the full support of the west, even when he was openly gassing Iraqi civilians in the 1980s. The truth is, it is all about oil, and the US throwing its weight around in the region.

Day of action against Starbucks

On 5th July this year, members of Solidarity Federation joined a day of action against Starbucks, after the coffee chain fired a CNT member in Spain and an Industrial Workers of the World organiser in Grand Rapids, USA. The action was called by the International Workers Association, (of which SolFed and CNT are affiliates) and the IWW.

Day of action for sacked Peruvian garment workers

Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation have held an informational picket outside Zara, in Liverpool One, and handed out leaflets to customers, staff, and passers-by.

Despite some attention from security guards, who informed us we couldn’t operate on private property, we were able to hand out all our leaflets and our action was generally well received. One woman even came over as we were packing away to inquire what we were up to, and offered her support when we explained what we had been doing and why.

This was part of international solidarity actions supported by the International Workers Association (IWA) for workers in Peru, in response to the sacking of 35 trade unionists. The union members were working in a factory for ‘Topy Top’, one of the major suppliers to high street store Zara, and also a supplier for Gap.

General strike 2010 – Barcelona

Two members of Liverpool SolFed recently visited Barcelona to show solidarity during the Spanish general strike of September 29th. They report:

During our stay in Barcelona we visited the Banesto building on Plaça de Catalunya which had been occupied for several days by anti-capitalists. They used the derelict space to celebrate resistance, as well as freely exchange information and radical ideas. However the building was later brutally repossessed by riot police.

On the day of the general strike, we joined a lively demonstration of several thousand organized by our sister organisation, the CNT, who put forward a much more militant message of resistance compared to that of the reformist trade unions.

Report back from IWA conference in León, Spain

Three delegates from the Solidarity Federation attended the conference mainly dealing with 'precarity', self-management and co-operatives. The conference was hosted at the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo's IX anarchist camp near León in northern Spain.

There were about 100 people at the camp and 60 participants in the conference. Ten sections were represented: CNT-F (France), FAU (Germany), Priama Akcia (Slovakia), ZSP (Poland), SolFed (Britain), SP (Portugal), USI (Italy), KRAS (Russia), NSF (Norway) and of course the CNT-E (Spain). There were also two guest organisations: MASA from Croatia and two delegates from the Peruvian newspaper La Humanidad, who however arrived several hours after closure of the conference due to immigration/visa problems.

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