In 1913, sixteen to eighteen percent of all women over fourteen in and around Barcelona worked in textile factories and related industries. Spinning and weaving workshops usually employed fewer than 40 women and these women worked eleven to twelve hour days. In contrast, male workers usually worked only ten-hour days. Male wages varied between 3 and 3.75 pesetas while female wages were between 1.75 and 2.50 pesetas, with few women earning over 2. Some women worked from the home, manufacturing corsets, paper boxes, shoes, and garments for employers who provided them with piecework.
During the 1950s, Honduras was characterized by a large gap between the few rich citizens and the many poor laborers. In 1952, Honduras held its first ever agrarian census. The wealthy landowners, who only consisted of 4.2 percent of the total population, owned an astonishing 56.8 percent of the arable land in Honduras. Meanwhile, the poor farmers of Honduras, who made up 65.1 percent of the population, only owned 15.7 percent of the arable land. To make matters worse, the wealthy landowners who possessed the majority of the land did not use it effectively.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the political atmosphere in Kenya was characterized by brutal government repression and terror. Under the single-party rule of President Daniel arap Moi, any form of political dissension was swiftly met with government interrogation, detention, and torture. Many students, journalists, lawyers, and human rights advocates were among those imprisoned for perceived anti-government statements, ideas, and actions.
In the late 19th century, Russia’s autocracy, led by a Tsar (also czar), came under increasing attack. Alexander II was forced to liberate the serfs, but he was still assassinated in 1881 by a group called The People’s Will. His heir, Tsar Alexander III was badly shaken by this and launched a massive crackdown. In 1894, Nicholas II became Tsar and attempted to make a number of liberal reforms. For most, however, the reforms didn’t go far enough. In addition, a disastrous war with Japan from 1904-1905 shattered confidence in the Tsar’s ability to rule.
The Seattle General Strike was the first general strike in the U.S. and marked the beginning of a post-WWI era of labor conflict.
The general strike in Ådalen, Sweden, in 1931 was part of a much larger industrial struggle between the Swedish Employers’ Federation (SAF) and the Swedish Union Federation (LO), a struggle that had been continuing since the late 19th century, if not longer.
The Kingdom of Tonga is a small island nation in the South Pacific. It is one of the few that did not undergo formal colonization, though became a British-protected state in 1900. Despite this, however, it has retained its own system of government: monarchy. The political structure of the country had barely changed since King Taufa’ahua drafted the constitution in 1875. The cabinet and 2/3 of the parliament are appointed by the king, so the people of the country have very little representation.
In 1977, Guyana was in the midst of a long power struggle between the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which had ruled the country until 1964, and the People’s National Congress (PNC) led by Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, who had ruled since before the country’s independence from Great Britain in 1966. Since 1966 the PPP had been trying to regain governmental power from the PNC. Trade unions in Guyana were often at the forefront of this struggle, and would begin strikes for both political and economic reasons.
In May 2007, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a 34 percent salary increase for all civil servants in Burundi. This increase, which the government was to implement in July 2007, followed a year after the government had more than doubled the salaries of military and security personnel. Despite President Nkurunziza’s promise, the International Monetary Fund, which provided much of the international aid to Burundi, urged against the salary increase. Citing lack of funds, by September 2007 the government had still not implemented the 34 percent increase while Nku
In 2009, thirty-three stevedores were dismissed from their jobs in various ports throughout Finland, and by January of 2010, they still had not received sufficient compensation as reported by the Transport Worker’s Union (AKT). At the beginning of the month, the union began talks with the national employers to come to an agreement about severance pay and other issues such as wage increase and regulatory job protections; however, by mid-month the negotiations had slowed down to a near halt. The union threatened a 24-hour strike. On 21 January, they carried through on their promise.
Following the end of World War I, Trinidadians faced unfair labor policies and low wages. They also dealt with inflation and racism. Unhappy Trinidadians formed the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association (TWA) in response to the problems they faced. The TWA advocated for the working class in Trinidad and agitated for higher wages.
In 1980, the government of Guam employed over 9,000 workers, or 27% of all jobs on the island. Approximately half of these public workers were teachers. 2,400 teachers were members of the Guam Federation of Teachers (GFT), the largest union on the island. As teachers’ pay consistently lagged behind the national average salary, the GFT organized a petition drive in 1980 to hold a referendum on whether government employees should receive a 30% cost-of living wage increase.
In 1959, French, British, Italian, and German interests established a mining and steel-making consortium- Societe Anonyme des Mines de Fer de Mauritanie (MIFERMA)- with the purpose of extracting and exporting resources from Mauritania. MIFERMA became a dominant force in Mauritania’s industrialization. International press celebrated the new iron ore mines as Mauritania’s entry into the 20th century.
Throughout the 90s, Bolivia came under increasing pressure from the World Bank to privatize public goods in order to fulfill loan conditionality. In September 1999, in response to this pressure, the Bolivian government auctioned off the municipal water system ‘SEMAPA’ of Cochabamba, a city of 800,000 residents. When the auction drew only one bidder, the government signed water resources over in a 40-year concession to Aguas del Tunari, a foreign-led consortium of private investors dominated by the Bechtel Corporation.
From September to October 1990, the Congolese Trade Unions’ Confederation (CSC) conducted several strikes aimed at ending privatization, increasing wages, achieving legal trade union independence, and stopping lay-offs. The CSC almost exclusively used strikes to further its demands.
Between February and July of 1951, up to 22,000 waterfront workers (wharfies) in New Zealand struck for better pay and shorter workings hours.
In the beginning of November 1996 and for the next several weeks, high school students boycotted classes to demand the establishment of a registry, improved study conditions, and the means for obtaining a good education. Students also protested the lack of job prospects. The Trade Union of Education Workers of Guiana (UTG) declared its support for the students.
On June 26th, 1958, workers from the Sindicato de Trabajadores Ferrocarrileros de la República Mexicana (STFRM, Union of Railroad Workers of the Mexican Republic) initiated a series of escalating strikes led by Demetrio Vallejo. Vallejo had formed a General Action Committee after participating in a Union wage-price study committee that had determined a proper increase in wages of 350 pesos ($28) per month based on the decrease in real wages due to inflation.
Bolivia contains significant natural resources, but also has a long history of exploitation by foreign powers. One of these resources is natural gas. Just like the precious metals from Potosí, however, the gas was mostly exported (partially due to low demand within Bolivia) as a raw material, meaning very little wealth stayed in Bolivia, and the wealth that did remain was concentrated in a few, mostly white, hands. In protest of this policy tens of thousands of Bolivian activists, who mostly came from indigenous backgrounds, worked toward the nationalization of the nation’
In response to labor strikes on banana plantations throughout the country, which were a result of a large drop in wages for plantation workers, Chiquita Brands International closed its plantation in Tacamiche and three other farms in June of 1994 due to their heightened involvement in the strikes. The closure was not only devastating to the strike, which soon after conceded to a pay increase, which due to inflation was far below the amount from before the strike, but also for the people living on the plantations.
In the mid-1990s, basic government functions were being restored in the Republic of Chad after years of violent political turmoil. President Idriss Déby entered into deals with the World Bank and the IMF to carry out economic reforms, including oil exploitation in June 2000. By 2001, Déby’s first-round ‘reelection’ victory was riddled with corruption, fraud, and intimidation of political opposition.
For the first eight months of 1968, the Czechoslovak Communist Party engaged in limited but significant reforms known as ‘Prague Spring,’ including declarations of freedom of expression and organization. The reform movement began in January, when moderate Alexander Dubcek replaced the Party’s hard-line First Secretary.
In the 1950s, many young Fijians moved from far-flung island villages to Suva, the largest city of this small British colony. In Suva, they found a stagnant economy that was unable to provide work for the influx of residents. For those lucky enough to find employment, the de facto minimum wage was less than the cost of living. The British colonial government was not concerned about labor unrest, however—racial barriers had always served to dampen dissent. Fiji was populated at this time by a mix of local Fijians, Europeans, and laborers from India and elsewhere in As
The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, commonly known in English as Ivory Coast, is a Francophone West African county that plays a key role in transit trade for neighboring landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
Since the beginning of 2010, the Ivorian government increased diesel prices twice to 645 CFA francs ($1.34) per liter. This raise set Côte d’Ivoire as the highest fuel price in Francophone West Africa.
French-occupied Syria was facing darkening hopes for more independence from France at the end of 1935. The major Syrian nationalist party, the National Bloc, was losing power, the Syrian Parliament was adjourned and the government in power was under the unpopular Shaikh Taj al-Din al-Hasani. France was also refusing to negotiate a new treaty with Syria. In a move to squash the National Bloc altogether, the French authorities closed the office of the National Bloc in Damascus on January 20, 1936, and arrested two leaders from the Bloc: Fakhri al-Barudi and Sayf al-Din al-Ma’min.