Climate change and Africa
By New Worker correspondent
THE ANNUAL general meeting of Action for South Africa took place in East London on 29th October with speaker from Swaziland, South Africa and the British trade unions, one month before the UN conference on climate change in Durban.
The debate raised issues, like decent work, poverty alleviation, human rights which are the heart of the climate change debate.
Africa is being hit harder by climate change than much of the world. Severe weather patterns are already disrupting agriculture systems, resulting in droughts, food shortages and migration.
These effects will only worsen unless drastic steps are taken to reverse global warming. According to the intergovernmental Panel on Climate change the continent of Africa will warm one and a half times than the global average.
Michael Fletcher, delegate from Colchester Unite central branch, raised the issues of peace and war and how it affected climate change, with the burning of oil terminals in Iraq are Libya, producing more carbon dioxide and called for Trident missiles to be abolished and the money spent on war to be channelled into climate change.
One of the motions passed at conference was to fight for the human rights of gay and transsexual people in Africa.
Michael spoke about the victory of the people in Britain in stopping the privatisation of forests here and this was a contribution to the international struggle. The conference ended in a friendly atmosphere of unity in the struggle foe climate change.
Farm workers protest
AGRICULTURAL Workers from across Britain demonstrated at the Houses of Parliament on 25th October to urge MPs to oppose the Public Bodies Bill.
The Bill, if passed, would allow a process to start to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), the mechanism for fixing legally enforceable minimum wages and conditions for agricultural workers in England and Wales.
The agricultural workers' union, Unite, called the demonstration to try to persuade MPs to oppose both the inclusion of the AWB in the Bill and the entire Public Bodies Bill. The opposition Labour Party is already committed to maintaining the AWB so the targets were Liberals and other non-Conservative MPs.
Unite national officer Cath Speight commented, “The abolition of the AWB will force thousands into poverty in rural areas. Wages will be slashed if the statutory floor of protection is removed. The AWB provides a framework for a more sustainable form of farming, not least in respect of attracting the future workforce and supporting skills and training”.