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Issue #1852      December 12, 2018

Global Briefs

RUSSIA-VENEZUELA: Caracas and Moscow have signed US$5 billion worth of contracts related to oil production during President Nicolas Maduro’s visit to Russia, Maduro tweeted a day after meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Maduro announced the deal on Twitter, thanking Putin and the people of Russia. “Contracts have been signed to guarantee investments for US$5 billion to increase oil production with Russian partners of joint ventures,” Maduro said. In addition, an investment of more than US$1 million was agreed for mining production in Venezuela, mainly of gold, according to Maduro, who was on an official state visit to Moscow last week. Russia and Venezuela run many joint projects in the energy, agricultural, geological, pharmaceutical, technology, and defence sectors. Russia’s investment in Venezuela exceeds US$4 billion, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

BANGLADESH: The company behind the brands Chupa Chups or Alpenliebe, Perfetti Van Melle (PVM), is the third largest global confectionery company. It is a multi-national based in the Netherlands. PVM workers in Bangladesh recently attempted to form a union. The company’s response was brutal and swift: workers are being visited in their homes and threatened with the loss of their jobs if they don’t sign a statement saying they were forced to join (a common tactic used by South Asian employers). Elected union leaders have had their work rescheduled to make it impossible to meet with and represent their members. The workers are determined to defend their union and their rights. To indicate your support visit iuf.org

DR CONGO: According to the country’s Ministry of Health, a total of 291 Ebola cases have been confirmed in DR Congo (DRC) and 201 deaths have been reported in a new epidemic of the disease. About half of the victims of the recent outbreak of the virus are in Benji, in the North Kivu region. The World Federation of Trade Unions has expressed its serious concerns over this alarming situation and has called for all measures to be taken for adequate health care for the victims of the virus and for the immediate vaccination of the population. On behalf of our 95 million workers in 130 countries around the world, we call on the DRC authorities and the World Health Organization to step in and step up their actions to protect the people of the DRC from this deadly virus.

GREECE: PAME, the All Workers Militant Front, held a general strike on November 28, with thousands of workers taking part in massive rallies and demonstrations around Greece, overcoming employer pressure and intimidation. The actions were part of the struggle to strengthen the fight for increases in wages, pensions, social benefits, to abolish all the barbarous memorandum laws and in support of collective contracts. Under the slogan “Our Needs in the Frontline – Not the Profits of the Few”, a parallel message was sent to the forces of employer and government unionism who, after failing to prevent the strike, tried everything to undermine the actions on all fronts. The GSEE and ADEDY (the members of the European Trade Union confederation in Greece) were once again strike-breakers in their branches. There was increased participation in construction, transport, metal, food industries, and telecommunications. Also positive is the participation by young workers from big companies in sectors such as telecommunications, finance and catering.

Next article – Voices from the student protests

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