Sorry for the delay in getting this report out, but I spent a full week away from London doing research for my upcoming book. Nevertheless, it’s been a busy 20 days — and for want of a better idea, here are the main stories in alphabetical order:
Campaign initiatives: We’ve asked BWI about possibly supporting striking forestry workers in Gabon; Andy passed this one on and we’re waiting to hear back. We asked the ITF if there’s any Iranian campaigns coming up, as some comrades in the UK have been keen to get us involved in that issue again. We approached Unite in the UK to try to get a campaign going in support of their effort to block the docking in the UK of a ship named for a Nazi war criminal; Shell eventually backed down and there was no need for a campaign.
Donations: We’ve gotten substantial commitments from unions in Norway and Canada; thanks very much to Derek and Espen for making the push. We received a generous donation from IndustriALL.
Greece: We did a mass mailing several languages in support of the German trade union leaders’ appeal. Several thousand people responded but many had difficulties both with the language (much of the appeal was not translated from the German) and the software, which was unreliable. Nevertheless, our effort was appreciated and thanks to Andrea, Silvana, Gisela and the comrades in Berlin for encouraging us to do this.
Mailing lists: We picked up a fairly large number of new subscribers to our English list thanks to the Rio Tinto campaign, and we now have 86,705 subscribers to that list. The French list, our second largest, is up to 8,224. In the last year, the English list has had a net gain of about 1,500 and the French one has gained 800.
New correspondents: Among new correspondents we’ve added recently is a Norwegian trade unionist based in Palestine; I hope this will help improve our coverage of Palestinian trade union news.
Right to strike: We were asked by a Canadian union to do a special mailing to support their campaign on the right to strike, and did so yesterday. We’ve also been providing news coverage of actions around the world.
Rio Tinto campaign: We launched this two weeks ago and had an immediate reaction from the company. Working together with our partners in IndustriALL and two NGOs, we’ve sent the company a very short letter in response. More details coming soon. At the moment, the campaign has 8,822 supporters and appears in 12 languages.
Support for existing GUF campaigns: We publicized both a BWI and IUF campaign in a recent mailing. The IUF campaign focusses on Sheraton and highlights the struggle in Addis Ababa — the local union leader there will be familiar to some of you as he attended our conference in Berlin last May; we have been passing on details of their fight to the IUF and are delighted to have helped support them.