THE WORLD OF LABOR — September 8,2012

By Harry Kelber

Lufthansa to Shun Cheap Contract Labor

Lufthansa has agreed not to employ cheap cabin crews, meeting a key union demand, as a 24-hour walkout grounded 900 flights, Europe’s biggest airline announced. Unilaterally and without further preconditions, Lufthansa announced the employment of external cabin crews by the airline’s chief executive, Christoph Franz.

Flight attendants of a temporary employment agency, Aviation Power, employed by the airline, “will be offered a full-time position with the Lufthansa group next year,” the company said. Talks between the management and the union resumed on Aug. 25.

Chaos had been averted because the airline had informed passengers beforehand about cancellations via text messages, and it had also posted information on its website, a company spokesperson said. No further strikes have been planned for the next few days, said Nicolay Baublies, head of the UFO union.

Global Unions Have Called for a Job Stimulus

An Economic Assessment by the OECD has called for a job stimulus, as it reported a weakening of the global economy and spreading recession in Europe. The OECD has revised its statistics of last May and it now estimates that Italy, France and the U.K. are already in recession, while Germany is forecast to be in recession in the final two quarters of 2012.

Commenting on the figures, Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade union Confederation (ITUC), said: “The renewed downturn — particularly in Europe — demonstrates once and for all that the severe austerity policies supported by the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are doomed to failure.”

Unemployment is expected to rise again “with adverse effects on income growth, confidence and activity,” the OECD report stated. At the G20 summit at Los Cabos in Mexico, governments committed to support demand for a stimulus if the global economy weakens. The economy has weakened and the governments must honor their commitments to stimulate jobs and investment,” said John Evans, general secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD,

Thousands of Foreigners go down in Turkish Mines

Thousands of foreign miners are going underground every day in Turkey, including those from Turkic-speaking countries, the Middle East and China. This influx of foreign miners keeps local Turkish miners from getting a regular job.

The number of qualified miners in Turkey is around 250,000, with about 100,000 of them unemployed, a union source said. Normally, you would expect employers to hire local people. The number of Chinese workers in Turkey is between 700 and 800. Some 200 of them work in the Bartin-Amasra mine, an enterprise in a holding company in the Black Sea province of Bartin.

Employers say that the work at Bartin requires specifications that Turkish workers and engineers do not currently hold, and many coal-drilling activities in Turkey, even those of the state-run company, are done by Polish or Chinese workers.

Chicago Teachers Strike for First Time in 25 Years

Thousands of teachers walked off the job on Monday in Chicago’s first school strike in 25 years, after union leaders announced that months-long negotiations had failed to resolve a contract dispute with school district officials by a midnight deadline.

The walkout in the nation’s third largest school district posed a tricky challenge for the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he would push to end the strike quickly as officials figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.

Some 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to join the picket lines. Union leaders and district officials were not so far apart in the negotiations on compensation., said Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis. But other issues, including changes in health benefits and a new teacher evaluating system stillremained unresolved.

Alcoa Italy Workers Clash with Police over Jobs

Hundreds of workers from aluminum-maker Alcoa’s Sardinian smelter clashed with police on Sept. 10 to protest against the factory’s closure as the Italian government sought to avert the loss of more jobs.

About 600 workers whose jobs are threatened beat their hard hats in the streets and set off large firecrackers to vent their feelings in protest.

Swiss industrial group Klesch offered a possible lifeline by expressing interest in the plant, but Alcoa, in an e-mail later, said it had “not received any expression of interest that are viable or different from those previously considered.”

Baton-wielding police beat back workers trying to break through their lines outside the industry ministry in Rome. where government officials, labor unions and Alcoa executives met in a last ditch effort to head off the shuttering of the unprofitable factory.

Amnesty U.K. Workers to Strike for First Time in 20 Years

Employees of Amnesty International U.K. will be taking strike action on Sept. 12 to protest against the refusal of senior management to enter into meaningful negotiations over an ill-conceivedcost-cutting program, including a significant number of dismissals,

The employees fear that international human rights work will be hindered by the financial cuts proposed by the board. They insist Amnesty U.K. is not facing a financial crisis and continues to grow financially, yet the management wants to cut millions of British pounds from programs to balance next year’s budget.

Amnesty International U.K. is regarded as one of the best performing branches of the entire organization. As well as delivering high-profile and successful human rights campaigns, the branch has posted 2 percent year on year of growth, in spite of the global recession.

To keep informed about workers and their unions in foreign countries, read our weekly “The World of Labor,” posted here and on our two web sites: : http://www.laborsvoiceforchange.org and http://www.laboreducator.org.