The workers are defending Ukraine. The Ukrainian state is not defending workers’ rights

In the shadow of war, the Ukrainian government is pushing for labor reforms that had been planned for more than two decades, but – for various reasons – never came into being. And these are not the reforms that labor unions were fighting for. Perhaps the term “counter-reforms” would be more adequate: if the Ukrainian labor market was not a worker-friendly space long before the war, it is now going to get even more destabilized, deregulated and even more tailored to fit employers’ expectations.

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Pracownicy bronią Ukrainy. Państwo ukraińskie nie broni praw pracowniczych

W cieniu wojny rząd ukraiński forsuje reformy prawa pracy, które były planowane od ponad dwóch dekad, ale z różnych powodów nigdy nie zostały wprowadzone. Nie są to reformy, o które walczyły związki zawodowe. Bardziej adekwatne byłoby określenie “kontrreformy”: ukraiński rynek pracy nie był przyjazny pracownikom na długo przed wojną, a teraz będzie jeszcze bardziej zdestabilizowany, zderegulowany i jeszcze bardziej dostosowany do oczekiwań biznesu.

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Gael de Santis: Independent France or EU is not enough, they must be social

Emmanuel Macron won the elections and received ovations together his wife Brigitte, but the very same night protests unfolded in France, which were supressed by police (source: YouTube)

Cross-border Talks speaks to the international editor of the French left-wing journal l’Humanite about the recent French presidential elections, about the voters and the political style of Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon, about the ideas of independent and autonomous EU in international relations, French interests in Southeastern Europe and challenges in the second presidential term of Emmanuel Macron

Veronika Susova-Salminen, Vladimir Mitev

Gael de Santis is a French left-wing journalist, who has written extensively on populism in the EU, European affairs, defense matters, etc. He has discussed with Cross-border Talks about the current fracture of the French political system into three large currents – center (Emmanuel Macron), left (Jean-Luc Melenchon) and extreme right (Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour and others). He observes polarization between rural and urban areas, between older people with more capital and working population. Even though Macron won with a good majority, a number of challenges for  him as tries to affirm France’s independent voice in international relations. 

De Santis believes that in spite of the war in Ukraine the economic interests of France and Germany make them look for cooperation with Russia. He also sees the idea of “a strategic autonomy” of the EU as one that could return to the EU’s agenda if the crisis in Ukraine ends within 1-2 years. When asked about France’s interests in Southeastern Europe, he recalled the French special connection with Romania. And added that Macron and French public opinion are interested in countering negative tendencies such as social dumping (cheap labour) and corruption, while also affirming an independent EU defense. 

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What does the European left do to overcome the crisis in the EU?

The European left party is looking for alternatives to the current capitalist-ridden and crisis-laden model of development of the EU (source: european-left.org)

Is it possible to reform the European Union in a left-wing spirit? What are the tasks for the anti-capitalist left for the here and now? Heinz Bierbaum, president of the European Left Party speaks to Cross-border Talks

Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat

Heinz Bierbaum is a sociologist and economist and head of the International Commission of the party Die LINKE. In December 2019 he was elected new president of the Party of the European Left. He was a Secretary of the trade union IG Metall from 1980 to 1996, and his scholarly work focuses on industrial and social policy.

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Amerykańskie związki zawodowe mają pieniądze. Rumuńskie nie

The protest of the workers in the Bucharest’s land public transport disturbed the life in the capital (source: YouTube)

CbT, 01.04.2022

O ruchu związkowym w Stanach Zjednoczonych, o tym, jak wśród Amerykanów coraz słabsze są antyzwiązkowe uprzedzenia i jak związki zawodowe odpowiadają na obecny kryzys, wywołany rosyjską inwazją na Ukrainę, mówi Radu Stochița, rumuński aktywista związkowy, rzecznik centrali związkowej Cartel Alfa, obecnie studiujący w USA.

To jest wywiad wideo z polskimi napisami.

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Radu Stochiță: Spre deosebire de sindicatele românești, cele americane au mulți bani

Greva din 2022 ianuarie a lucrătorilor din transportul public din București a fost întâmpinată cu o rezistență puternică din partea cetățenilor și a celorlalți lucrători din București (sursa: YouTube)

Radu Stochita se ocupă de mișcarea sindicală din SUA, de prejudecățile din ce în ce mai mici față de ideile de stânga în rândul americanilor și de modul în care sindicatele răspund crizei, provocată de invazia rusă în Ucraina

Vladimir Mitev

Radu Stochiță este un student român în SUA, care urmărește o serie de inițiative legate de mișcarea sindicală americană și românească. El elaborează un newsletter pe teme de muncă, cercetează exploatarea din industria jocurilor de noroc, scrie articole și comunicate de presă pentru sindicatul românesc Cartel Alfa. 

Video înregistrarea interviului poate fi vizionată aici cu subtirare în limba română:

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Unlike Romanian labour unions, the American ones have a lot of money

The January 2022 strike of the public transport workers in Bucharest was met with strong resistance by the citizens and other workers of Bucharest (source: YouTube)

Radu Stochita takes on the labour movement in the USA, on the decreasing prejudice towards left-wing ideas among Americans and on how labour unions answer to the crisis, caused by the Russian invasion in Ukraine

Vladimir Mitev

Radu Stochița is a Romanian student in the USA, who pursues a number of initiatives related to the American and Romanian labour movement. He develops a newsletter on labour issues, researches the exploitation in the gaming industry, writes articles and press releases for the Cartel Alfa Romanian labour union.

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Danièle Obono: Mamy kryzys egzystencjalny, rynek go nie rozwiąże 

Tysiące żółtych kamizelek (Gilets Jaunes) protestuje w Paryżu, domagając się obniżenia podatków od paliw, przywrócenia podatku solidarnościowego od majątku, podwyższenia płacy minimalnej oraz ustąpienia Emmanuela Macrona ze stanowiska prezydenta Francji, 09 lutego 2019 r. (źródło: Norbu Gyachung, CC BY-SA 4.0)

O szansach Jeana-Luca Mélenchona w nadchodzących wyborach prezydenckich, o tym, jak francuska lewica przekonuje do głosowania tych, którzy nie zamierzają głosować wcale i o tym, kto jest prawdziwym wrogiem pracowników rozmawiamy z Danièle Obono, parlamentarzystką Nieuległej Francji

Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat

Danièle Obono jest posłanką La France Insoumise od 2017 roku. Była rzeczniczką Jean-Luca Melenchona, a także partii. Ma tytuł magistra historii i pracowała jako bibliotekarka. Urodziła się w Gabonie, a w 2011 r. uzyskała obywatelstwo francuskie.

Kilka lat temu na ulice wychodziły miliony Francuzów. Ruch Żółtych Kamizelek ożywiał stare rewolucyjne hasła, domagał się równości, braterstwa, sprawiedliwości społecznej. Podstawowa intuicja podpowiada, że są to hasła lewicowe. Gdzie więc jest teraz francuska lewica, w przededniu wyborów prezydenckich? Co się stało z tamtą energią i wolą zmian?

Danièle Obono: To paradoks, ale faktycznie – po dwóch wielkich ruchach społecznych, największych w moim pokoleniu, notowania lewicy są dalekie od najlepszych w historii wyników, jakie potrafiła osiągać. Mówię o dwóch ruchach, bo oprócz Żółtych Kamizelek był jeszcze ruch sprzeciwu wobec reformy emerytalnej – innymi słowy, na porządku dziennym stanęły wszystkie kluczowe wyzwania naszych czasów. Miliony ludzi głośno wołały o sprawiedliwość społeczną, walkę o ratowanie klimatu i o to, by zmiany gospodarcze z nią związane nie pociągnęły za sobą nowych, drastycznych nierówności. Nieuległa Francja wspierała każdy z oddolnych ruchów. Protestowaliśmy też przeciwko brutalnemu pacyfikowaniu Żółtych Kamizelek przez policję. Nasza reprezentacja parlamentarna walczyła, korzystając z dostępnych narzędzi, przeciwko reformie emerytalnej. A jednak nie przełożyło się to na radykalny wzrost poparcia.

Kandydat Nieuległej Francji, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, jest obecnie w sondażach trzeci, za Macronem i Marine Le Pen. Wiele jeszcze może się zmienić. Pewne jest tylko jedno: jesteśmy jedyną lewicową alternatywą dla różnego rodzaju prawicy i skrajnej prawicy.

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Danièle Obono: We have an existential crisis and the market will not solve it 

Thousands of yellow vests (Gilets Jaunes) protests in Paris calling for lower fuel taxes, reintroduction of the solidarity tax on wealth, a minimum wage increase, and Emmanuel Macron’s resignation as President of France, 09 February 2019 (source: Norbu Gyachung, CC BY-SA 4.0)

On Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s chances in the upcoming presidential election, on how the French left is talking to those who do not intend to vote at all and who is the real enemy of the working people – Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat  talks to Danièle Obono, MP of La France insoumise.

Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat

Danièle Obono is MP for La France Insoumise since 2017. She used to be the spokesperson of Jean-Luc Melenchon and the party as well. She has a master degree in history and used to work as a librarian. Born in Gabon, she has become naturalized French citizen in 2011.

Mrs. Obono, A few years ago, millions of French people took to the streets. The Yellow Vest Movement revived old revolutionary demands, among which equality, fraternity and social justice. Basic intuition suggests that these are leftist slogans. So where is the French left now, on the eve of the presidential election? What happened to that energy and the will to change?

Danièle Obono: It’s a paradox, but indeed – after two great social movements, the greatest we have seen in France, the left’s ratings are far from their highest. I am talking about two movements because, apart from the Yellow Vests, there was also a movement against the pension reform – in other words, all the key challenges of our time stood on the order of the day. Millions of people have  called for social justice, climate justice and economic justice. La France insoumise supported each of the grassroots movements. We also protested against the brutal pacification of the Yellow Vests by the police. Our parliamentary representation fought against the pension reform. However, this did not translate into a radical increase of support.

La France insoumise candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is currently third in the polls, behind Macron and Marine Le Pen. A lot can still change. Only one thing is certain: we are the only left-wing alternative to all kinds of right and extreme right.

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The Solaris strike: workers fight, the management remains silent

One of the key strike sites in the Solaris compound, shot in peaceful times: the building with manager’s offices with working halls behing (source: Solarisbus.com)

A report on the ongoing protests at the Solarus bus plant in Bolechowo, Poland

Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat

This article was published on 9 February 2022 at the Polish site Strajk.eu.

When they stood behind the factory barrier, with their flags, some serious, others happy and full of verve, it was as if the old images of the workers fighting came to life. For the core of the conflict is as old as the capitalist system. Solaris workers had been negotiating with the management for several months, they demanded pay rises but were ready to make some concessions. The employer wanted to give even less – so on 24 January they went on strike, and the strike goes on.

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