LabourStart joins forces with Italian labour radio station

cgilRadioArticolo1 is an online radio station of the Italian national trade union centre CGIL.  According to the Wikipedia article, CGIL with its 5.5 million members is “the biggest trade union in Europe“.  That’s debatable, but it’s certainly one of the important ones, and one we’ve worked with before on campaigns, especially with their metal workers union.

Thanks to the efforts of our comrades Silvana and Andrea, RadioArticolo1 is keen to have a regular LabourStart program, and they’re starting with an interview with me.  Once it goes live, I’ll share the link — the program will be in Italian — and let’s hope this strengthens our work in Italy and our relationship with CGIL and the Italian labour movement.

Coming soon: A LabourStart intern

Applications are now closed for the paid LabourStart internship this year.  Three of us went through the 12 applicants who applied, and brought this down to a shortlist of just 4 names — and this wasn’t easy as there were several very good candidates.  Interviews will take place in London next week and I’ll report back here once we’ve made a decision on who to hire.  I want to thank Derek and Silvana for helping to sort through the candidates, and Roger Darlington for agreeing to help me with the actual interviews, as before.

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:


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:


UnionBook is no more

unionbookI have completed downloading as much of the content as I can, have written to all members of UnionBook, have instructed Ning that we do not wish to renew for $1,200, and have prepared a landing page for people going to (which isn’t yet working for some reason).

UnionBook, launched in its current form in December 2008, is no more.

UnionBook – the end?

Yesterday I posted this message on the UnionBook website and sent a very similar message to all 5,943 users by email:

The company which hosts this service has just DOUBLED their prices, effective immediately.  

This means that LabourStart now needs to pay nearly $1,200 a year for a service which was costing us $600 a year until now.

Because of this, and because there appear to be very few active users of UnionBook, we are thinking of closing down the service.  

If you or your union or organization are prepared to donate $1,200, we can continue for another year.

Alternately, if we see a sudden huge show of interest in the site, we will reconsider.  (That doesn’t mean five people like it — it means enough people to justify spending that kind of money.)

I apologize for the short notice, but we just heard this and have only days to decide.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

– Eric Lee, LabourStart

Subdomains – a useful shortcut?

LabourStart has five working subdomains – we used to have more, but our internet hosting company screwed these up, so I’ve rebuilt some of the essential ones.

As you can see from the list below, we can use these to point to our global editions in a particular language (e.g., Esperanto), or to a particular country (e.g., the UK), or a country in a specific language (e.g., Brazilian news in Portuguese). Here they are:

Would it be useful to create more of these?  They need to be done one at a time, but they could be useful especially when creating offline materials (these are shorter addresses to remember).

So for example, do we want in addition to ?

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.

Number of Facebook followers grows – but we have more work to do

We now have 11,258 followers of our LabourStart Facebook page in English — a big improvement.  We had 10,689 a little more than a week ago, so we’ve picked up 569 new ones in just about a week.  In the previous year, we’d picked up only 611, so this a very significant increase.  Nevertheless, we still have our work cut out for us.  Here are some similar pages on Facebook for comparison:

  1. ILO – 285,993
  2. UNI Global Union – 53,891
  3. Education International – 29,047
  4. Trades Union Congress (UK) – 25,178
  5. International Labor Rights Forum – 22,612
  6. IUF – 21,700
  7. LabourStart – 11,258
  8. Union Solidarity International – 10,794
  9. ITUC – 10,032
  10. IndustriALL – 8,528
  11. ITF – 6,478
  12. PSI – 6,397
  13. IFJ – 4,971
  14. European Trade Union Confederation – 2,756
  15. TUAC – 117