We will be using this page to preserve a history of our online campaigns which we have been running since 2002.
To see all current campaigns with a breakdown of supporters by langauge, click here.
For campaigns from before 2011, please click here and for 2011 campaigns, click here.
Campaigns with more than 10,000 supporters will appear in red.
- USA: Stop Siemens union-busting [United Steelworkers] – closed 7 September 2012 – 6,816 supporters. The union lost the election and issued this statement, thanking LabourStart among others.
- Turkey: New law aims to ban strikes in aviation sector [Hava-Is] – closed 3 September 2012 – 8,419 supporters. Kemal Ulker from the union wrote as follows: On behalf of Hava-Is family, I thank the LabourStart for your welcome assistance during our most hectic and difficult days of our ongoing struggle.
As you know, quite well Turkey already has draconian laws that virtually outlaw what other countries regard as normal democratic trade union activities. This includes a prohibition on strikes in a number of transport sectors, including land, sea, and rail, where these services are operated by state-owned companies and institutions.
Despite this, an amendment to the Turkish legislation on collective bargaining, strikes and lock-outs was signed into law in June 2012 adding the aviation sector to those sectors where strikes are banned.
Wanting to demonstrate against the attack on their legitimate trade union rights, aviation workers who are members of our union went on a day’s sick leave. 305 of them were sacked by text, email or phone in an extreme reaction by Turkish Airlines and Turkish Technic.
Our members and leaders of our union –including our president Atilay Ayçin- have not left the Atatürk Airport’s International Flights Terminal since then.
And on June 14 we received the 23rd period Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for Turkish Airlines covering the years 2011 and 2012 from the High Court of Arbitration (YHK). As we don’t have the right to strike anti-democratic and government + employers controlled YHK has the final say. As it was expected this is the worst CBA imposed upon our members. From the very beginning, it was clear that the ban would have a devastating impact on effective collective bargaining in the aviation industry.
Moreover, in the weeks following the sackings, a vast police operation was directed against the Turkish confederation of public workers’ unions, KESK, and the ITF affiliated BTS union among others. 71 trade unionists were arrested on as yet unsubstantiated terrorism-related charges. 43 were released, but 28 remain in detention. The LabourStart is campaigning for our brothers and sisters from the KESK as well.
Again, our heartfelt thanks to the LabourStart for the successful campaign.
- Spain: Striking coal miners on the front line of austerity fight [IndustriALL] – closed 23 August 2012 – over 5,000 supporters.
- Iraq: End harassment of oil union activists – closed 7 August 2012 – 3,951 supporters.We’re still waiting to hear from the union what the outcome of this dispute was.
- Algeria: Union leaders on hunger strike since 6 May – closed 31 July 2012 – 3,308 supporters. We’re still waiting to hear from the union what the outcome of this dispute was. The hunger strike was suspended after 6 weeks on 25th August.
- UK: First employer lock-out in over 50 years [Unite the union] – closed 26 July 2012 – 6,729 supporters. We’re still waiting to hear from the union what the outcome of this dispute was.
- UK: Support London bus workers [ITF] – closed 24 July 2012 – 965 supporters – workers won a huge victory. Bobby Morton, Acting National Passenger Officer for Unite, writes: “On behalf of Unite the Union I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you who sent messages of support through Labourstart to the London Busworkers who achieved a great victory in the Olympic solidarity campaign. I am convinced that if there was a gold medal for solidarity you would all be recipients. Thanks also to the International Transport Workers’ Federation, ITF, for their unstinting support and efforts during this campaign.” The ITF statement on the end of the campaign is here.
- Thailand: Free Somyot [ICEM] – closed 2 July 2012 – 5,533 supporters. Somyot’s trial has been postponed until 19th December 2012.
- Bahrain: Free jailed trade union leader Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb [EI] – closed 25 June 2012 – 8,525 supporters
- Colombia: End harassment of trade unionists [PSI] – closed 25 June 2012 – 7,898 supporters.
- Mexico: Human rights defender kidnapped and tortured [Los Mineros] – closed 25 June 2012 – 5,948 supporters – workers’ advice centre was shut down as violence intensified; a new campaign is likely. This was our smallest campaign in 2012 and was live for only a month.
- Iran: Stop the execution of Abdolreza Ghanbari [Education International] – closed 8 June 2012 – 17,214 supporters – waiting to hear from the EI about results on the ground; our largest campaign ever with nearly 5,000 messages sent in languages other than English. Ghanbari is still alive but still awaiting execution.
- Egypt: Drop the charges against Kamal Abbas [ITUC] – closed 5 June 2012 – 7,448 supporters – In October 2012, Abbas was sentenced to six months in absentia for insulting a public official.
- Italy: Stop victimization of anti-fascist trade union leader Matteo Parlati [FIOM] – closed 22 May 2012 – 8,357 supporters – trial begins 25 May
- Canada: Get Rio Tinto Off the Podium [USW] – closed 17 May 2012. 6,111 supporters – in combination with the earlier campaign brought the IOC into meetings with the union.
- Greece: Trade union leaders arrested following protests [GSEE] – closed 30 April 2012 – 9,916 supporters – inconclusive result
- Netherlands: Support striking cleaners [UNI] – closed 25 April 2012 – 10,984 supporters – Victory – read this
- Peru: Stop union-busting, reinstate sacked union leaders [CGTP / Solidarity Center] – closed 23 April 2012 – 6,624 supporters
- Serbia: Free jailed Kosovar union leader Hasan Abazi [IMF] – closed 22 April 2012 – 7,585 supporters -Hasan was released on bail and returned home 17 days after the launch of the campaign.
- Canada: End the lockout at Acadian Coach Lines [ATU] – closed 21 April 2012 – 6,756 supporters – Negotiations start April 29, according to the union.
- New Zealand: Support locked-out port workers [ITF] – closed 23 March 2012 – 6,868 supporters -According to the International Transport Workers Federation, “The news out of Auckland today is positive with the lockout notice from Ports of Auckland Limited withdrawn so that wharfies can head back to work in the port where they belong. Following an Employment Court hearing, management has called a halt to the contracting out plans which would have seen 300 workers made redundant and they are set to return to the negotiating table with the Maritime Union of New Zealand.” The online campaign lasted just seven days.
- Turkey: 69 trade union leaders to be tried for ‘terrorism’ [ITUC] According to the EPSU, 6 of women were released on 4th October, but only pending trial. Of the 58 trade unionists arrested in the second wave, no other information seems to be available.
- Morocco: Free Said Elhairech [ITF] Said El Hairech, General Secretary of the Moroccan Merchant Mariners, was arrested in June 2012 on trumped-up charges relating to national security. His real crime had been to organise and win better conditions for dockers and seafarers in the western Mediterranean.
Our online campaign gained over 5600 supporters, alongside solidarity actions that the ITF organised around the world. Said was freed on 1st October. Said said of the ITF’s campaign: “‘When I was in jail I knew the whole world was behind me. I thought, they cannot resist such a campaign.”
- Swaziland: Stop the Crackdown on Public Workers [EI, PSI, ITF] Public sector workers in Swaziland went on strike in June 2012 for a modest 4.5% pay rise. The government responded by using riot police to attack workers’ protests, and sacking hundreds of teaching union members. The strike lasted for seven weeks and was known as the waya waya (‘ongoing’) strike.
In September, the government removed sanctions on over 100 members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers who had been sacked illegally during the strike.
- Peru: Union leader sacked for speaking out [CGTP] Agricultural workers’ leader Fidel Polo Sanchez was fired for speaking out against terrible working conditions at Agricola Viru. Unfortunately, I can’t find any further updates.
- Turkey: Togo Footwear workers sacked for forming a union [IndustriALL] – over 5,000 supporters. In May 2012, 35 Togo Footwear workers were sacked for union organising in Ankara, Turkey. The workers held portests outside the factory which led to repeated arrests. As well as our online campaign, workers in Ankara itself collected 12,000 signatures to present to the Labour Ministry, demanding reinstatement and collective bargaining rights. There has been nothing from IndustriALL about how the campaign turned out.
- UK: London Transport cleaners deserve decent wages and Olympic payments [RMT] – over 5,000 supporters. Cleaners, most of whom are on the minimum wage, were the only workers not to get an Olympic bonus from Transport for London. RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “RMT is delighted to have linked up with our friends at Labour Start to launch this important global campaign in support of the tube cleaners fight for workplace justice while London is the centre of world-wide media attention. No doubt it will help us apply maximum pressure to the Mayor, TFL and the cleaning companies to end this scandal of poverty pay on London Underground.”
Cleaners did not win an Olympic bonus, but the RMT’s campaign for better conditions for cleaners is ongoing, and they are now focusing on winning the London Living Wage from contractors like Carlisle.
- Turkey: Free jailed trade unionists now [ITUC] – 6859 supporters. 71 KESK-affiliated trade unionists were arrested on 25th June 2012 across 20 cities. 43 were released within a few days but 28 remained in detention.
- Kazakhstan: Justice for oil workers! [CFTUK, CLR, ITUC, IndustriALL] – 6632 supporters. A long running and bitter dispute in Kazakhstan’s oilfields led to the deaths of 17 people when police opened fire on strikers in Zhanaozen in December 2011. The state’s response was to arrest unionists themselves on fitted up charges. Although these trials have led to many incarcerations, they have focussed a spotlight internationally on workers’ rights abuses in Kazakhstan.
- China: Who killed Li Wangyang? [HKCTU] – 6312 supporters. Veteran worker activist Li Wangyang was found dead in a hospital on June 6th 2012. His body was immediately removed by police who claimed he had committed suicide. Public anger over the death in Hong Kong and around the world, including LabourStart’s online campaign launched at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, led to an official investigation. The official line on Li’s death was changed from suicide to “accidental death.”
- Turkey: DHL must recognise union, reinstate sacked workers. – 12235 supporters in 11 languages. No breakthrough in talks between the local union, TUTMIS, and management as yet. The ITF are holding an international day of solidarity with DHL workers on 12/12.
- China: Stop the crackdown on labour NGOs [HKCTU]– closed 16th January 2013. No word as yet from the HKCTU on what the effects have been.
- Mexico: Violent eviction at La Platosa mine [IndustriALL, Amnesty, and PRODESC]– closed 16th January 2013. There was some bad press in English language media about the behaviour of Canadian mine companies across America. IndustriALL told us that “That campaign did a good job in bringing us together under a joint banner. On 10 January there was an agreement between the various groups involved to work toward a settlement. I think it is fair to say that the online petition probably played a contributing factor in that.”
- Cameroon: Musicians’ Union march attacked by police [IFM] – Closed 22nd February 2013. Over 8,000 supporters in 12 languages. Nothing yet from the IFM about results.
- Bahrain: Free Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman [EI]– Closed 27th February 2013. 11,399 supporters. Jalila was released on 25th November 2012 but Mahdi remains detained, his appeal hearing has been pushed back again.
- Netherlands: Union organisers and MP arrested [FNV] – Closed 6th March 2013. 8,312 supporters. The FNV campaign in the care sector is ongoing, and they are considering lodging an ILO complaint about the incident. FNV said: “Members at Pleyade were very encouraged by the support and strengthened in their believe that their union did nothing illegal. ABVAKABO is very gratefull to all repondents and Labourstart. Although the case is not settled yet, LS encouraged the workers and contributed to a diiscussion on trade union rights in the Netherlands. It opened up new avenues to ensure basic trade union rights in NL.”
- El Salvador: Airport workers sacked for joining a union [ITF] – Closed 22nd March 2013. 4,093 supporters in 13 languages. No word yet on how the campaign turned out on the ground.
- Nissan USA’s union busting is a global shame [UAW] – Closed 15th April 2013. 5,995 supporters in 13 languages.
- Philippines: Drop the Charges against union leaders [KMU] – Closed 3rd May 2013. 4,454 supporters in 14 languages. The KMU gave us their own considered view of the online campaign, which is published here.
- UK: London Underground is lying about the service on the Bakerloo Line [RMT] – UK only campaign.Closed 22nd April 2013 with 1793 supporters. Awaiting a write up.
- Korea: Union leader on indefinite hunger strike [KGEU] – Closed 24th April 2013. 10,541 supporters in 23 languages.
- Hong Kong: Defend dockworkers’ right to strike [ITF] – Closed 7th May 2013. 8,510 supporters in 15 languages. The strike was spreading with new workers joining just a few days before the final settlement. The dockers came to an agreement with the four main contractors after 40 days on strike. This included a 9.8% pay rise and written guarantees of lunch and toilet breaks. The full details are in an ITF statement here, which also says: “The passionate support and generous donations of the Hong Kong community, the international trade unions and organizations have helped us to sustain the strike for forty days. On behalf of our members, UHKD is thankful to all of you who have been giving us unwavering support. Together with you, we have demonstrated again the importance of workers’ unity in fighting not only for reasonable pay, but also our dignity and our future.“
- Mexico: Let PKC workers choose their own union [IndustriALL] – Closed 22nd May 2013. 9,578 supporters in 15 languages. The campaign is ongoing and the union will inform us if a new campaign is needed.
- Make textile factories in Bangladesh safe [IndustriALL] – Closed 22nd May 2013. 14,306 supporters in 14 languages. Our second biggest campaign ever, we closed it after just 26 days, announcing a win. The Rana Plaza tragedy received significant news coverage around the world, as did the various responses to it. We were helped by a viral image produced by the British TUC in response to the prevailing “ethical consumerist” attitude – this generation aver 1,500 extra messages for us and is a good example of what can happen when partner organisations help to promote our campaigns properly.
The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord drawn up by IndustriALL and UNI was signed up to by numerous international brands including Benetton, H&M, Primark and Tesco – WalMart being the notable exception. According to IndustriALL: “The new Accord is an historic victory and will immediately cover over 1,000 Bangladeshi garment factories, certainly a critical mass to be a game-changer. The LabourStart campaign was one of the important components in a powerful alliance of trade unions and leading NGOs which worked together to achieve this success. Unprecedented global anger and pressure built in the days after the Rana Plaza disaster and leading up to the 15 May deadline, and that pressure now continues on Gap, Walmart and other companies that disappointingly failed to commit.”
- Turkey: 100 public sector trade unionists arrested [ITUC, PSI, EI] – Closed 28th May 2013. 12,706 supporters in 16 languages. No word yet on an outcome – it seems all the defendants were either released soon after arrest, or will stand trial.
- Thailand: Drop the charges against labour rights activist Andy Hall [BWI, UNI] – Closed 1st July 2013. 9,105 supporters in 16 languages. Andy’s trial date has been consistently postponed as he was served with the required papers originally. The issue generated a fair bit of global media coverage which may have made the company back off slightly. We are awaiting word from BWI or UNI.
- Bangladesh: Change labour law – guarantee workers’ rights [ITUC] – Closed 16th July 2013. 6,472 supporters in 10 languages. This was a short follow-up campaign to the larger campaign after the Rana Plaza disaster. The country’s labour law was amended on 15th July, giving workers the rights to form a union but only if they had greater than a 30% density in the workplace. The law supposedly prevents the practice of transferring union organisers to other factories after labour unrest. It obliges employers to set 5% of their annual profits into welfare funds. However, HRW criticised the law for falling short – strikes are still severely restricted in foreign-owned companies. The ITUC are not happy with the new law either but Jeffrey Vogt did say: “we had a good showing, and the labour minister himself mentioned to me how many emails he had received when I saw him last week.”
- USA: End the port workers lockout in Vancouver [ITF] – Closed 16th July 2013. 9,231 supporters in 13 languages. The lock-out continues and has grown increasingly bitter. No word from the unions on what effect the online campaign had.
- Canada ONLY: Send you solidarity to locked out funeral home workers [SEIU] – Closed 5th August 2013. 1,011 supporters in 2 languages. We received this message from a SEIU member:
Thank you to our supporters!!!!SCI (Delmoro Funeral Home) employees and members of SEIU would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you that supported us in such a difficult process, because of you, THE SUPPORTERS you made it easier knowing we had the following of such a great bunch of people. It’s nice to know that there are still people that care. We would have never made it through this whole ordeal without you and for that WE THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SEIU makes me proud to be a member!!!!SincerelyAma Gallucci
and the members of SEIU!!!!!
- Turkey: Stop police violence – allow the protests! [DISK, ITUC] – Closed 14th August 2013. 21,793 supporters in 23 languages, making this our biggest campaign ever.The ‘Occupy Gezi’ protest movement was, unlike most of our campaigns, a major world news story for weeks. While we were quick off the mark, eventually we were competing with other campaigns run on the likes of change.org. However, ours was the only one to foreground the demands of the country’s independent unions and explain the centrality of DISK in the formation of the Taksim Solidarity Platform. This campaign was the first in which we tried to use Twitter in a co-ordinated way, asking our English mailing list to tweet to PM Erdogan directly using some of the movement’s popular hashtags. This saw a slight uptake of the campaign in Turkish, although it wasn’t as big within Turkey as we would have hoped. We didn’t manage to get picked up by any of the movement’s largest supporters (some Twitter accounts had followings of 500,000+). Nevertheless, it was a way of further engaging supporters who had already sent their email. The campaign led to our Dutch list growing by over 50%, probably because someone did a mass mailing – another example of the difference it makes when unions take up and promote our campaigns themselves. The Dutch response, just short of a thousand, was comparable to the French and German. The movement ended when the government backed down, at least temporarily, over the redevelopment of Gezi Park.
- Philippines: Transport union leader murdered – demand justice and an end to impugnity [Alliance of Progressive Labor] – Closed on 12th September 2013. 11,717 supporters in 18 languages. Broke the 10,000 mark despite being a relatively low-key campaign with little information available. It was a partial victory, and helped them as part of a longer process. We received the following from the APL: “Please let everyone know that their letters have helped us in pressuring the Office of the President to direct the NBI, our pale version of the FBI, and the LTFRB to look into the matter immediately. We are far from receiving justice in these cases, and we might not even get it, but please let them know we will not stop until justice is served. We will continue with the campaign at the ground level. Currently, we are using the ongoing hearings for the national budget for 2014 to put pressure on government agencies to resolve the case. We will continue to dig up more information and use them as leverages to get the justice that Dodong Petalcorin and Kagi Lucman deserves.”
- USA: Tell GE to keep good union jobs in Erie [UE] – Closed on 18th September 2013. 8,803 supporters in 13 languages. The union’s ‘decision bargaining’ approach has not been successful and GE is still determined to move 950 jobs to Texas, beginning in October 2013 – the process will take up to two years.
- Justice for outsourced workers at the University of London [3 Cosas, SOAS Unison, Birkbeck Unison] – Closed on 23rd September 2013. 1,486 supporters in 3 languages. This UK-only campaign struggled after a decent start – we didn’t get the involvement of students we wanted, and we didn’t get an uptake in Spanish or Portuguese from the workers and their communities. However, the campaign was very much appreciated by the workers themselves, and we were told on several occasions that it had made a difference to morale. The “3 Cosas” campaign is set to continue into the new academic year following the arrest of one of its supporters for chalking slogans on a pavement.