Council Workers of Grünerløkka: A Spark in the Darkness

May 01, 2008 – What will the fate be of the newly-formed Workers council of Grünerløkka in Oslo, Norway?  This question has no clear answer, at least not yet for the enthusiastic activists who currently make up the council. To understand this council you must also understand the underlying class and anti-capitalist platform on which it was built.  
The world is full of anger, pain and revolt due to the invasion of global capitalism onto the livelihoods of the billions of people who sell their labour.  Global capitalists attack everywhere with full force while governments all over the world undermine the value of forced labour, paving the ground for increased surplus value, forcing billions of people into situations where they must choose this way to live in order to survive. 
Fear of losing jobs, lack of any kind of socio-political means of subsistence, and cutbacks in health care and education have become daily discussions amongst working people. The capitalist system uses every opportunity to further their merciless and cynical goals; from policing to the military and guns-for-hire security forces.
The entire political structure has become designed to accommodate predatory capitalism. The protector of the wage-slavery system on one side of the world uses extensive measures including war, torture and murder to eliminate any protest. On the other side different tools and mechanisms are used, amongst them the institutions we call Trade Unions. 
These days the organizations which operate under the pretence of protecting workers are utilizing efficient weapons. Global capital is used against any breath of anti-wage-labour class struggle.  These institutions extinguish any voice of dissent by workers in the negotiations between labour and capital.  It has become a routine of concessions at the expense of the working class. This has efficiently built barriers against any anti-wage labour struggle. On the global level the working class movement is forced into different brutal sectors of the bourgeoisie.  In short, they do whatever they can to prevent the emergence of the working class movement. 
The workers council of Grünerløkka is a spark in the darkness of ruling capitalism, in one of the world’s most powerful Trade Union nations.  We who make up the Workers Council of Grünerløkka are worker-activists in Norway. We have tried to push back the daily onslaughts that pummel our lives and through many years we have tried to diffuse all of the betrayals by the Trade Unions.  It has become apparent that we have to find another way out. 
Most of us who are forming this council are working in our neighbourhood day-care in Oslo.  We witnessed the continually decreasing quality of living in favour of capital, and the loss of jobs in favour of profits alongside increased workloads and stresses for the remaining employees.  Our response to this brutal slashing was to protest, but all of our activities were stopped by the Trade Unions. 
An example of this occurred in January 2008 at a union meeting in Grünerløkka. The public service union of Norway in its recent bargaining negotiations with management had agreed to freeze wages for two years.  Most of the workers at the day-care demanded increased wages along with other demands.  We asked our union representative to report these demands to our union.  On January 31st we sent our workplace representative to our local union to present our demands.  We found that the union had brought other unionists, even retirees, to present themselves against us. 
We, the representatives of workers, could not find any opportunity to represent our workplace.  All of the union people, in the name of workers, made the decisions, not us.  We who formed the worker council of Grünerløkka are continually facing attacks by both union and management.  A few of us have even tried to influence from within the union but have not succeeded. Therefore we decided to resign from the union on a particular date.  Up until now, many other workers from other day-cares have supported us and joined our council.  The council has had two meetings thus far; and every time we experienced our members’ determination to continue and develop the movement.  On our last meeting on March 28th we decided that the council would announce its formation on May 1st.  The formation of such a council within a society that is a hub of right-wing reactionary reformism is a hope for many workers and activists that are fed up with Trade Unionism. 
The Worker Council of Grünerløkka has published it’s first manifesto which emphasizes the internationalist approach.  The founder of the council announced their ambition to connect with other workers across Norway and in Scandinavia in order to develop an organized cross-country council of workers against capitalism and the wage-slavery system.  The council also emphasizes its process of creation as an inseparable linkage to the class struggle.  Furthermore, we are going to respond to other cases of exploitation that are taking place in Norway and around the world. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all workers everywhere in the struggle against global predatory capitalism.
To send letters of support and find out more information, please contact:
Malak Pir-Kezeri or Thomas Tislov


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