Global Strike Action Against War
Top Brazil Port to Boycott U.S., UK Ships
Labor unions at Santos, the largest port in Brazil and Latin America, are planning a 24-hour strike for peace by boycotting ships and goods under the U.S. or British banner, a union official said on Monday. Labor unions from Santos will meet to vote on proposals on how to voice our desire for peace and our distaste over the coming war in Iraq, said, Marcos Duarte, the president of the Urban Unions of Santos.
Representatives from 70 unions, including the petroleum, chemical, banking, shipping and metallurgical industries, should attend the meeting, set for Tuesday morning, said Duarte, who added that many had expressed firm support for the strike. We dont know when we will hold the strike but we will vote on proposals tomorrow, he said. I want to stress that the strike would not be a protest against the United States or Britain but rather against war and for peace.
The various unions in Santos will vote on proposals to suspend the loading and unloading of all ships bearing U.S. or British flags and to boycott all consumer goods from the two countries for 24 hours. We are proposing that no adherent to the strike drink a Coca-Cola or go into a McDonalds for lunch, said Duarte. He said the idea came from local TV reports showing U.S. and British bar owners pouring French wine onto the streets in protest of Frances threat to veto a new UN resolution that would give the go-ahead to a U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The protest was not a nationally organized movement and would only cover the municipality of Santos, said Duarte, but he hoped that other groups would follow suit in solidarity. The port of Santos accounts for about 30 percent of the countrys foreign commerce. The government and people of Brazil, Latin Americas most populous country, overwhelmingly oppose a war in Iraq.
Reuters, March 17, 2003
Plans for Antiwar Strikes in UK
War may provoke national strike. Antiwar organizers are confident that Britain will see an unofficial national strike, with workers deserting offices and factories if an attack on Iraq is launched. The Stop the War coalition said it expected workers to stage lunchtime protests and walkout for longer periods as well as join national demonstrations across the country when fighting begins. The group announced it will stage another huge demonstration in London on Saturday when it expects people from across the country to demonstrate again against the war. Peace protestors are also expected to congregate in town centersand Parliament Square in Londonon the first evening following the bombardment of Iraq.
The theme of the protest will be to stop the war, but there will be a second message calling on Tony Blair to resign. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) announced today it will be holding a special meeting of its general council on Wednesday to discuss the growing likelihood of military action. The union organization has already said it opposes military action without a second United Nations resolution.
Andrew Murray, chairman of the Stop The War coalition, told a news conference in London today: It now seems clear that following yesterdays war party meeting, war is very imminent even though it is still opposed by the great majority of the British people. We feel there is no justification for the British government taking part in this war. Tony Blair has had a year to make the case and he has failed. The group is calling on its supporters to demonstrate outside the House of Commons tomorrow and hopes that huge numbers of people will join Saturdays demonstration, which will follow a similar route to one held last month when more than a million people took to the streets of the capital.
Mr. Murray said he believes people will walk out of work, schools and colleges the moment military action begins. He said he hoped the TUC would give a lead on Wednesday and make it clear that unions will support any worker who takes action. Keith Crane, a local official of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: I have never known a time that is so charged within the civil service. There is a clamor among ordinary civil servants for us to take full part in any protest should war start.
Mr. Crane said he believed many civil servants who joined lunchtime protests will not return to work in the afternoon, adding: The strength of feeling is incredibly high. Departments where civil servants will take action include the Home Office, Inland Revenue and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Guardian, March 17, 2003
Australian Unions Plan Antiwar Strike Action
The NSW Labor Council has called on Sydney workers to leave their jobs at 5 p.m. (AEDT) on the day the bombing of Iraq begins to join a peace rally at Town Hall. Council secretary John Robertson said the Howard governments support for war on Iraq was undemocratic and against the interests of Australian workers and their families. Mr. Robertson said the council also supported Sundays peace rally, organized by the Walk Against the War Coalition, starting at 12:30 p.m. (AEDT) at Belmore Park next to Central Station.
In Italy, militants briefly took over the offices of the U.S. Esso oil company and pacifists temporarily blocked an Esso fuel terminal, as activists vowed to launch crippling strikes if war starts. When war starts, the world will stop, organizers said in a statement.
Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2003