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220,000 Scots children languish in poverty; nearly 180,000 families are trapped on social housing waiting lists and one in five workers are paid below the living wage, forced to earn their poverty. Another 120,000 Scots are on zero-hour contracts, denied security or basic rights like pensions and paid leave.

“...the tradition of working people in the UK uniting against their common enemies – today, bankers, tax dodgers and poverty-pay firms stripping workers of rights and security – must surely be strengthened...” Owen Jones?alt=rss
6 min 40 sec ago
Looking back at the years of fury and carnage, Colonel Angelo Gatti, staff officer of the Italian Army (Austrian front), wrote in his diary: “This whole war has been a pile of lies. We came into war because a few men in authority, the dreamers, flung us into it.” No, Gatti, caro mio, those few men are not dreamers; they are schemers. They perch above us. See how their armament contracts are
12 hours 11 min ago

Swazi Minister of Labour and Social Security, Winnie Magagula, has announced a Cabinet resolution deciding that, pending legal reforms, all federations should stop operating immediately. All trade union and employer federations will be effectively banned, a clear violation of ILO Convention 87, ratified by Swaziland, guaranteeing freedom of association for workers and employers. Federations were called upon to submit reports of their operations to date, including their prepared audited financial statements to the Commissioner of Labour.

Tripartite bodies such as the Wages Council, Labour Advisory Board, Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission, Swaziland National Provident Fund, Training and Localization Committee and the Social Dialogue Committee will stop functioning as a result.
Article 5 of ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize recognizes the right of workers’ organizations to establish or to join federations and confederations of their own choosing.

The Swazi government has ignored repeated calls from the international trade union movement to respect rights guaranteed under international conventions ratified by Swaziland. Instead they have suspended workers’ right to freely associate and to carry out trade union activities completely.

http://www.industriall-union.org/swaziland-bans-trade-unions
15 hours 11 min ago
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It’s been called by some to be a new form of colonialism. Others say it is outright theft.
Since 2000, over 37 million hectares of land, mainly in the world’s poorest nations, have been acquired by foreign investors “without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities” in what, according to Oxfam and other organizations, constitutes a “land grab.” It’s a portion of land twice the size of Germany, according to researchers.
More than 60% of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of for feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems. A report by the University of Virginia in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan says that a third to a fourth of the global malnourished population, or 300 to 550 million people, could be fed from the global share of land grabs.
Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugarcane, palm oil, and soy. The benefits of this food production “go to the investors and to the countries that are receiving the exports, and not to the benefit of local communities,” says Paolo D’Odorico, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He attributes the phenomenon to a global “commodification of land” and says the problem will only get worse in the coming years as food prices continue to rise globally.


Land grabs in the developing world create a system so unequal that resource-rich countries become resource dependent.
In Ethiopia, one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid, the problem is particularly acute. In a country where over 30% of the population is below the food poverty line, crops are exported abroad—primarily to India, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Multinationals buy up the land from the Ethiopian government for lease and bring in workers to farm it.
Favorable climate conditions and government relief have led Ethiopia to be chosen as a new production site by many flower growers present in Kenya. Bangalore-based Karuturi Global, the world’s largest rose exporter, has rose plantations in the country, and is planning the development of a 300,000-hectare lease in the Gambella area.
Alfredo Bini, an Italian photojournalist, examined Ethiopian land grabs in his recently released photo series, “Land Grabbing.” For the investors, Bini explains, the deals were not “land grabs” but opportunities to get huge returns on investments.
As Birinder Singh, the executive director of Karuturi in Ethiopia, plainly states in his interview with Bini: “When someone calls it ‘land grab,’ we call it ‘land development.'”
“These companies—mostly Saudi and Indian—are signing deals with the Ethiopian government to lease this land… for 25, 30, sometimes 50 years, depriving local populations of the ability to harvest their crops and feed themselves,” Bini told Quartz. “The government says the lands are empty and not being harvested but from what I saw and documented in my reporting this is entirely not the case.”

from here with photographs and video




15 hours 11 min ago