Category: Campaigns

Campaign drought?

At the moment, LabourStart is running just 4 campaigns — and we’ve not launched a new one for a month and a half.

Today we closed down the WIPO campaign (see here to see how that turned out) and our Avon campaign from Turkey (we’ve not yet heard back from the union.

The four current campaigns are not blockbusters, having been launched during the quieter summer months (in the northern hemisphere).  Here are the current totals:

campaigns190916

If you know unions that could use our help with a campaign, this might be a good time to suggest it.

WIPO: How our campaign helped

Brett Fitzgerald from the Federation of International Civil Servants’ Associations (FICSA), wrote to us yesterday:

On behalf of the Presidents of FICSA and the WIPO Staff Association, please accept their sincere gratitude for having run this LabourStart campaign.

As you will see from reading the statement delivered by US Ambassador Pamela Hamamota, on behalf of a group of WIPO Member States, at the Extraordinary Session of the WIPO Coordination Committee (of Member States) held on 12 September 2016, this LabourStart campaign helped to contribute to the call from a group of WIPO Member States for the release of the report of the investigation conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) concerning allegations against the WIPO Director General.

FICSA has learned that the WIPO Coordination Committee (of Member States) decided at Monday’s meeting that the OIOS investigation report must be released by no later than 26 September 2016 so that WIPO Member States can have time to read the full report in preparation for the annual Assemblies of WIPO Member States which will begin on 3 October 2016.

Ambassador Hamamota’s statement delivered on behalf of a group of WIPO Member States is available at the following link: https://geneva.usmission.gov/2016/09/13/joint-statement/

 

Victory in Turkey

Today we closed our 3-month-old campaign in support of forestry workers in Turkey, launched at the request of BWI. The campaign had 6,736 supporters and appeared in 15 languages.  We have been thanked by BWI for our efforts, and sent this statement:

Turkey: Win for workers struggling to save the forests in Cerattepe

The mining project that risks destroying the forests, jobs and water for the people in the Artvin province in Turkey has been halted following a court decision. The local people and members of the union TARIM ORMAN-IS who have supported the struggle is celebrating a big victory after the Council of State in July rejected an expert report that claimed that they would be able to protect the environment while mining.

Since 2012, the Turkish company “Cengiz Holding” has tried to mine gold, silver and copper in “Cerattepe”, a small district of Artvin province in northern Turkey. Local people have been resisting the mining plans to protect the natural resources in their village with the support of various NGOs and political parties. The forestry workers’ union and BWI affiliate TARIM ORMAN-IS has supported the struggle in the area since the beginning of the resistance. More than 6600 people signed the online petition that the union initiated to protect workers’ rights and environment in Cerattepe.

In December 2014, 264 complainants, including lawyers, associations, political parties, Green Artvin Association and TARIM ORMAN-IS, opened a case against the Environmental Impact Report which claimed that there are effective methods to protect ecologic conditions while mining. In 2015, the local court rejected the report that favored mining activities. Following this, the company appealed the decision to the Council of State – the highest court of cases related to administrative law – and requested a new Environmental Impact Report. These reports are prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation to assess the environmental impacts in order to reinforce or prevent the implementation of such projects.

In July 2016, the Council of State finally approved the local court’s rejection of the first Environmental Impact Report which means that the project is halted. Unfortunately, the decision does not mean that the mining project is cancelled completely. As the company has a new Environmental Impact Report which supports the mining activities in the area, a new case was opened in June 2015 with 751 complainants for the rejection of the second report — the biggest environmental case in Turkey. Therefore, people are now waiting for the final decision for this ongoing court case and hope that this will also be ended with a verdict similar to the decision of the Council of State to block mining efforts in Cerattepe.

The struggle for workers’ rights and natural resources has gained strength and addition to the abovementioned decision, the pressure on forest workers in Cerattepe has also been removed with the help of support from all over the world. In this regard, TARIM ORMAN-IS, Green Artvin Association and the BWI would like to thank all supporters who signed the campaign and showed their solidarity.

The August slump — and how you can help us cope

school-closedAugust is a month when many our readers go on holiday; some unions maintain only skeletal staffs.  The only comparable time of year is Christmas, when many union headquarters simply shut down for a week or two. As a result, our campaigns launched at this time of year tend to do rather poorly.

Of our 7 current campaigns, none have more than 6,700 supporters.  We usually have at least one with 10,000 or more, but that’s not the case in summer.

The most recent campaign on Ecuador, where the government is trying to break the teachers’ union, is a case in point.  This would normally be quite a large campaign, and we would expect many members of teachers’ unions to be signing up.  But this is not the case.  (And teachers often do get a summer break, which may explain why many of them are not online to respond to the appeal.)

I’d like your help to promote this campaign — which is available in 13 languages — and to help bring it up from its current 5,104 supporters to a more respectable number.  How do we do this?  Here are some ideas:

  1. If you know anyone in the teachers’ union in your country or region, can you please write directly to them, sending a personal email encouraging them to get involved and sign up their members?
  2. Can you share the campaign’s URL – http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=3156 – in an email message to your trade union contacts, including those who are not teachers?  This is a major violation of workers rights and should be the concern of workers everywhere.
  3. If you have an account on Facebook, can you post that link, telling people that you supported this campaign and encouraging them to do the same?
  4. If you are fluent in a language which is NOT one of the 13 this campaign appears in, can you help us translate the campaign and mass mailing?  We are missing translations, for example, into Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Japanese, Arabic and Chinese and yet we have mailing lists in those languages, with thousands of names of trade unionists who would support this campaign if they only knew about it.
  5. Finally, can you print out the campaign page and a numbered list, and ask people at meetings if they would support the campaign?  If you get a list of people who support it, please send us their names and email addresses (ideally in a plain text file) and do indicate which language they speak, so we can add them to the correct mailing list.

Thanks very much!

We close our most popular campaign

Uktam Pardaev, fighter for human rights in Uzbekistan.
Uktam Pardaev, fighter for human rights in Uzbekistan.

Nearly four months after it was launched, yesterday we closed down our campaign in support of Uzbek human rights defender Uktam Pardaev.  The campaign, which ran in 15 languages, had the support of 10,474 trade unionists.  It was our largest current campaign and one of the rare ones to break the 10,000 mark.  We are currently waiting to hear what effect, if any, it had on the ground.

Meanwhile, our most popular current campaign is in support of UNI activist Orhan Akman who was deported from Peru.  That campaign is due to close in just a couple of days and has 7,632 supporters.  In a couple of weeks we’ll also be closing our campaign in support of forestry workers in Turkey, which currently has 6,676 supporters.

All the remaining campaigns have fewer supporters than these three.

So, how do we get campaigns to regularly have 10,000 or more supporters? Part of it has to do with the campaigns themselves.  Usually campaigns that focus on extreme violations of workers’ rights (such as the case of Pardaev in Uzbekistan) tend to attract more supporters than campaigns which focus on bread-and-butter issues such as disputes over collective bargaining and union recognition.  Nevertheless those campaigns, while not as popular, sometimes have a great effect on the ground.

While I was away …

Eric with Bernie and Larry.
LabourStart editor Eric Lee meeting Bernie Sanders and Larry Sanders in Philadelphia.

I spent the last couple of weeks in the United States, mostly attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, I managed to do a few LabourStart tasks:

TURKEY:

Following the abortive military coup and the increase of repression, I contacted our comrades in Turkey as well as a couple of global union federations about a campaign. So far, there has not been any interest.

DISK did issue a statement, which we publicized widely. We’ve also given extensive publicity to statements issued by global unions about the situation in Turkey.

A request came in for another Turkey campaign, unrelated to the coup. However, it appears to be an internal union dispute, so we will not pursue this.

I followed up with the International Federation of Journalists, which has launched an online effort in support of Turkish journalists, and they are considering working with us on a campaign.

AFP campaign:

I sent out the campaign mailing in additional languages. I also added a link to the LabourRadio interview. I did a followup email to English list; the campaign had 4,289 supporters; the follow-up mailing went out to 74,008 people. As a result, the campaign now has 5,341, a gain of over 1,000 people. It remains, however, a small campaign.

SFI campaign:

At the request of BWI, we’ve launched another campaign in support of forestry workers in Malaysia. It has 3,367 supporters as of today and appears in 9 languages with more coming. Our mailing also promoted the IUF’s current campaign on India, which has received a boost due to our effort. I publicized this campaign on Facebook and Twitter and sent out mailings promoting it in a number of languages.

Uzbekistan campaign:

As three months have now passed, I’d asked for permission to close this down. It’s our largest current campaign with well over 10,000 supporters.

USA:

I offered LabourStart’s help with a Philadelphia airport workers campaign. The strike however was settled on the eve of the Democratic Convention.

I’ve informed the Workers Independent News Service that I’ll not be submitting additional “Working World” broadcasts as I did for several months this year.