Category: Campaigns

Two campaigns closed, two big wins, and a new campaign launched today

In the last couple of days we’ve closed down two of our campaigns — and one of them was a big win for the union.  Today we launched a new campaign — or more correctly, a new version of a campaign we’ve done before.  And finally, we helped the IUF with one of the shortest campaigns they (or we) have ever run, resulting in a big win.

The campaigns we closed today are:

USA: IKEA must raise pay, offer full-time jobs which had 4,193 supporters. We asked the UFCW what the result of the campaign but haven’t yet heard back.

Colombia: Desperate fight for recognition of workplace accident This was a big win. Here is what IndustriALL told us:

“With sense of relieve and satisfaction we announce that Ruben Montoya had received his pension and has reached a financial settlement with Tenaris. Ruben Montoya is a worker who suffered a workplace accident 12 years ago that was never recognized by the company; who declared a hunger strike almost a year ago and attempted suicide twice asking for the pension that he has finally received. The persistence and courage of Reuben, the accompaniment and mobilization of SINTRATUCAR and the international support made it possible to reach a solution to this problem. From the Tenaris Workers’ World Council we sincerely appreciate the participation of all in this campaign and we hope that Rubén will receive medical treatment needed and have the deserved tranquility to recover from such a tragic event. The last meeting of the Tenaris Workers’ World Council approved several actions in support of Rubén. Those actions are no longer necessary.”

Today we launched a new campaign in defense of Huber Ballesteros– launched last week, on the eve of Human Rights Day, at the request of UNISON. We did a version of this same campaign a year ago, but as Huber’s case is still unresolved, we’ve been asked to do this again.

Finally, we also did some publicity last week for the IUF campaign demanding the release of jailed trade unionists in Hong Kong; our efforts and those of others helped secure their early release.

Trade union rights campaign that links to climate change

2594This is an interesting one — a campaign given to us by Public Services International (PSI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

It concerns a trade union leader in Peru (Luis Isarra, pictured left) who is being punished for his role fighting against water privatisation on the very eve of the UN Climate Change conference to be held in Lima next week.

This campaign could resonate with both our traditional trade union audience and climate change campaigners.

Please spread the word:

http://www.labourstart.org/go/cop20

The month in review – November 2014

It’s been a very busy month for us at LabourStart, with progress made on several important fronts.

Next generation LabourStart

androidOur Android app was finally launched on 11 November, 19 days ago, and has over 550 active users at the moment. Nearly all the reviewers have given it five stars in the Google Play store, and all the written reviews have been positive. We’ve been answering comments and noting suggestions for improvement.

We have also launched (today) an Android app in Esperanto, and next week will launch the Norwegian version. We’ll be approaching translators for the major languages (French, German, etc) in the next few days.

We’ve purchased an annual subscription to use Como, which will allow us to quickly create apps for iOS as well as Android and we hope to have the iOS version of our app available soon.

If you’ve not yet downloaded the app for your Android phone, please do so today: English / Esperanto

Retreat in Tunis – 20-23 March 2015

The first 20 people have been invited to attend.

We’ve finalized a survey for all LabourStart correspondents. This should go out next week.

We held a Skype conference call with organizers from North America, Europe and Australia to discuss this.  And Eric and Gisela have had a couple of separate Skype calls as well to discuss.

Campaigns

stopwizzWe launched only one new campaign in November — in support of Wizz Air workers trying to have a trade union. After just four days it has 7,200 supporters and has already been translated into 14 languages.  If you’ve not yet done so, please sign up to the campaign and spread the word in your union.

We did a big second round of publicity for our Deva (Turkey) campaign, and have boosted it to more than 10,000 supporters.

We closed the following four campaigns (details in posts below): Thailand – Andy Hall, Poland – LOT, Netherlands/Belgium – IKEA, Israel/Palestine – Zarfati Garage.

We discussed doing a campaign in support of Palestinian public sector workers with PSI, but nothing came of it.

We supported the IUF campaign on McDonald’s Korea with a mass mailing.  With our help, that campaign is now up to 8,800 supporters.

We have been asked to help with campaigns in Georgia, Nepal and Iran — waiting for our partners at the moment.

Internationalization

Swedish: Espen and I visited Stockholm – see the full report below. There are now a number of recent Swedish language news stories on the site, and we continue discussions with Swedish unions.  All our campaigns and mailings are now being translated into Swedish.

Italian: We’ve revived our Italian language campaigns and mass mailings — after a gap of three months — and launched three of these in November.  We have around 30 volunteer translators at the moment, which is fantastic.

Finnish: One of our new correspondents in Finland has agreed to coordinate efforts there, so he’s been given the contact details for the other seven.

Esperanto: We’ve also resumed sending out mailings and translating campaigns in Esperanto after a long gap; our list there is now nearly 100 subscribers.

Radio Labour

We continue to work together. In addition to having a Radio Labour page in the app, we now feature the latest Radio Labour broadcast on our home page in English, just under the top news stories.

Today in Labour History

While the database in French is comprehensive, we’re still missing data in English for many days — can anyone help with this?

Starting in January, we’ll begin work on a printed 2016 calendar which we’ll want ready for sale by Labo(u)r Day in North America.

Online campaigning course

We’ve submitted a proposal to the European Trade Union Institute, at their request, for a 3-day course for European Trade Unionists which will take place some time in 2015. More details soon.

Five campaigns!

One new campaign, one coming up, and three closed — it’s been a busy week!

Yesterday we launched a new campaign in support of the workers trying to form a union at Wizz Air, at the request of the European Transport Workers’ Federation and the European Trade Union Confederation.

Soon, we will be launching a campaign in support of striking Georgian railway workers.

Today we’re closing the Andy Hall campaign which has resulted in a partial victory.  Here’s what the campaign sponsor, Owen Tudor of the British Trades Union Congress, has to say:

The campaign helped keep his case in the public eye and on the diplomatic agenda. Thanks to the support and high profile Andy has got, the EU embassies in Thailand have begun to press the Thai government to take steps to stop their courts being used to harass human rights defenders like Andy. And together with other campaigns run on other websites resulted in the Judge throwing out the first case against him and delaying the second case for several weeks. However, that case hasn’t been stopped, and there are other cases that will start soon, so the campaign will continue in other ways. So we may be back….

Last week we closed two campaigns.

The first, opposing ‘social dumping’ by IKEA in Belgium and the Netherlands, got 10,672 supporters, making it one of our largest campaigns.  But we don’t know yet what the effect was, as the union hasn’t gotten back to us.

The second protested union busting at Poland’s LOT airlines.  It got 8,586 supporters and we have a report from Kemal Ulker at the International Transport Workers Federation on its effect on the ground — the bottom line is that we’ve not yet won this dispute:

On 25 July 2014, the vice-president of the ZZPP, Andrzej Je?ewski was dismissed by LOT Polish Airlines.

LOT has a bad record of similar anti-union practices. Over the last five years, the airline dismissed eight trade union leaders.

The ETF Civil Aviation Secretary tried to talk the CEO of the airline with no avail.

On 4 August 2014, the ITF and ETF section secretaries sent a joint letter to the CEO, demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed union leader.

On 20 August 2014, in partnership with the LabourStart, the ITF and ETF launched the protest letter campaign.

On 21 August 2014, the ITF and ETF general secretaries set a joint letter to the President of Poland.

On 25 August 2014, the ETF sent a letter to the chief executive of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), Athar Husain Khan, to ask him to intervene with the management of LOT to establish good and fair industrial relations with the trade unions.

Similar letters have been sent to 47 European Parliament members, reminding them of the role of trade unions in regaining freedom and sovereignty, as well as the country’s obligations as signatory of ILO conventions, and asking them intervene with the Polish government to resolve the issue: http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/10835

On 1 September 2014, the ZZPP received a response from Grazyna Wereszczynska, Director of Citizen Letters and Opinions Office, informing us on behalf of Mr Komorowski that our letter had been referred to the Ministry of State Treasury. 

On 26 September 2014, we received a response from the CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, refusing to comment on the dismissal of Brother Je?ewski as there is an ongoing legal proceeding. However, in his response the CEO emphasised that Je?ewski’s dismissal was “strictly on the basis of the Polish Labour Code”.

 On 9 October 2014, the ITF and ETF section secretaries sent a joint letter to the Minister of Treasury of Poland.

 The Minister of Treasury of Poland responded saying they don’t deal with labour disputes and repeating LOT’s arguments regarding why Andrzej was dismissed.

 

The month in review – October 2014

This report will be brief, but I hope I’ll be covering all the highlights of the month.

Next generation LabourStart: Our Android app is ready, and I’m making some final tweaks before submitting it to the Google Play store and elsewhere, and then publicizing it widely. I do think this is a huge step forward for us, we’ve gotten good feedback from those who’ve seen it, and mobile apps like this one are increasingly going to be our main platform.

2015 Retreat: We now have an organizing committee of 7 people, and have been putting together the basic elements. We’ll have a Skype conference call in November and will begin inviting people then.

Campaigns: We only launched two campaigns in October (as compared to 5 in September) — for the trade union at WIPO (5,813 supporters) and for workers at Zara in the USA (5,004 supporters). More campaigns are on the way, including another one from the ITF.  We gave a lot of help at the beginning of the month to IndustriALL, which was doing a Thunderclap on precarious work.

Fundraising: Some good news this month as the National Executive of Unison in the UK votes to give us £3,000 and the Norwegian union Industrie Energie votes to donate $5,000. In addition, Kevin Curran’s marathon run for us generated £1,202 (71 individual contributors).

Internationalization: We’re doing a lot of work to make sure the languages we campaign in and post news in stay alive, even when individuals who were doing the work drift away.  Big efforts were made to recruit new correspondents in Denmark and Finland this month with good results in the latter country.  Italian remains our biggest mailing list that is not getting regular mailings, so we appealed this week to our entire Italian list producing dozens of volunteer translators.

Once again, the UN system fails on workers’ rights

moncefFor the second time in the last 13 months, we’ve been asked to launch a LabourStart campaign in defense of workers’ rights in a UN agency — this time at the World Intellectual , Property Organization (WIPO), where Moncef Kateb (pictured), the head of the staff union has been sacked because … he was a troublemaker.

Last time this happened, we helped persuade the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to change his mind and eventually agree to recognize and negotiate with his staff union.  (See the campaign – which attracted over 14,500 supporters – here.)

Please sign up to this campaign and help us spread the word.  Thanks.

Big victory following LabourStart campaign at NXP in the Philippines

A big victory followed an international campaign, including LabourStart’s ActNOW appeal.

Remember this campaign?  (“Philippines: Stop union-busting at NXP Semiconductors”).

It generated 8,500 messages of protest, 885 Facebook likes, 61 Tweets and appeared in 13 languages.

And this week we learned that we have won — a big victory for the workers.  

Full details are here.

The month in review: September 2014

Things picked up in September even though August was hardly a quiet month for us.

Office: LabourStart is now firmly planted in Muswell Hill as I learn to once again work from home (with some days working in the British Library).

Finances: Our finances have improved a bit this month. We have received a substantial contribution from Fafo in Norway, from the FDHT in Geneva and also many individual donations raised on behalf of Kevin Curran’s marathon run for LabourStart in October ($1,894 so far from 67 contributors). The promotion of Fastmail as a Gmail alternative on 19 September has generated very little income for us. Unison’s National Executive is due to consider a proposal to make a donation to us this month.

Campaigns: We launched five new campaigns in September:

  • Canada: Nova Scotia labor law
  • Turkey: Union busting at Deva Holdings
  • Colombia: Ruben Montoya
  • USA: IKEA – play fair with workers
  • Colombia: Luis Cardenas / Prosegur

We have been able to announce a victory at Autogrill (Germany) and will soon be able to announce another from the Philippines at NXP. We closed the Swaziland campaign after hearing that the Prime Minister has decided not to strangle trade union leaders. I also closed campaigns in Turkey and Korea after three months; the unions have not gotten back to us with updates.

In addition to promoting our own campaigns, we have helped the following organizations with promotions of their campaigns which we do not host: Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Trade Unions, IUF, IndustriALL (Thunderclap) and BWI. Most other campaigning organizations will generally not do dedicated mailings to promote other organizations’ campaigns, but we do this regularly.

All our campaigns are now also in Swedish, and this is what now shows on the Swedish home page.

Books: Book sales are just under 5,700, which is very good, and some Amazon payments have started to come in. I continue to work on our next book, which consists of speeches given at the Berlin conference. Derek has been working on a Canadian edition of our Global Labour Movement book. And we’ve reached agreement with Joe Atkins to publish his collection of essays from activists around the world on migrant labour in late 2015.

LabourStart Offline:

  • I spent a couple of days at the DGB training centre in Hattingen, Germany doing a course on online campaigning with the European Trade Union Institute.
  • Derek has done some courses with Unifor in Canada.
  • In November, Espen and I will be in Stockholm meeting with Swedish trade unionists to discuss cooperation (which has already begun).
  • In early November, I’ll be in Vienna attending an OSCE conference, which I will cover for Equal Times, and have already written to LabourStart subscribers there suggesting a meeting.
  • The FES Media project in Africa has shown interest in cooperating with us and I had a 30 minute phone call with their staffer in Windhoek, Namibia about this.
  • Pete Moss, one of our Australian correspondents, visited Indonesia and wrote up a report – see below.

Retreat: We have begun some internal discussions about possibly hosting a LabourStart retreat in Tunis in March 2015. More details coming soon. We are trying out a new online tool called Trello to coordinate this.

Ello: Finally, LabourStart is probably the first labour movement institution with a page on Ello, the new social network.

For details on most of these, see the posts from throughout September on Inside LabourStart.

Another campaign targetting union busting in Turkey

Petrol-Is: Host of the 2011 LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul.

We’ve been asked by IndustriALL to launch this new campaign targetting union-busting in Turkey.

The union being busted is Petrol-Is, the energy workers’ union which hosted the 2011 LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul.

Petrol-Is were very helpful and generous towards us when we needed them; now it’s time to show them how supportive we can be when they need help.