Tag Archives: campaigns

Make garment factories in Bangladesh safe

13 May

Bangladesh building collapseHundreds of garment workers were killed and injured when an 8 story building housing five textile factories collapsed on 24 April.

Large structural cracks appeared in the Rana Plaza the day before and an evacuation order was given. The building and factory owners ignored the warning and insisted work continue hours before the building collapsed.

This, the worst ever industrial accident in Bangladesh, comes only months after more than one hundred garment workers died in two factory fires.

Working for a minimum wage of US$38 per month, less than one percent of garment workers in Bangladesh are represented by a union. The Labour Law leaves workers unable to join a union and fight for safe workplaces, improved working conditions and better wages.

IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriALL Bangladesh Council is calling on the government to take urgent action to guarantee freedom of association and improve building and fire safety and the minimum wage for the more than 3 million garment workers in Bangladesh.

Send your message supporting these demands to the Bangladesh Prime Minister and Minister for Labour and Employment today. You can help by clicking here.

The Spirit Level – a documentary film

22 May

This is your chance: the film which will change the political debate and make the world a better place. Its message: equality works. Tax the bankers, cut the pay of the people at the top and pay more to the nurses, the cleaners, the MacDonald’s worker, the supermarket check-out staff, (well, let’s be frank – 90% of us) and the world will be a happier place, the economy will be more successful and we will live longer.

The gap between rich and poor is at its highest level for 30 years. Over the last year there have been protests from Cairo to New York to London – now it’s time for action, and a documentary is the most powerful way we can raise awareness and mobilise people.

WHAT IS THE SPIRIT LEVEL?

“The Spirit Level” is an award-winning book which uses rigorous analysis of 25 years of research to show how a more equal society is better for all of us, including the rich.  It shows how nearly all social ills – stress, poor educational performance, high crime rates, unwanted teenage pregnancies – are more common in those societies with a big gap between rich and poor.

Lynsey Hanley in the Guardian said, It’s impossible to overstate the implications of (this) thesis”,  The Economist stated “It is a sweeping claim, yet the evidence, here painstakingly marshalled, is hard to dispute”. The New Statesman listed it as one of their top ten books of the decade. It’s impact has been so great that it has provoked numerous attacks from  organisations that support low taxes for the rich such as the Taxpayers’ Alliance (“we oppose all tax rises”) and Policy Exchange (“the most influential think tank on the right”)

WHY IS EQUALITY IMPORTANT?

Inequality has suddenly become an issue politicians and commentators are talking and writing about, even the International Monetary Fund. Min Zhu, a deputy managing director of the IMF said in November 2011: “We see concerns about the link between tax and social justice almost everywhere we look. In the Occupy movement; in the Arab spring; in the debates on George Bush’s tax cuts in the U.S., on how to distribute the pain of austerity in Europe.” Min was saying this at a time when the IMF published a report saying that taxes should be used to reduce inequality, which their report showed was bad for economic growth.

The argument is being heard right now, with battles over austerity in Greece, and Obama saying “no challenge is more urgent” than inequality in the US.

WHAT CAN THIS FILM ACHIEVE?

Documentary films have the power to have a huge impact: An Inconvenient Truth created global awareness of climate change. The End of the Line, about the threat of over fishing, helped force companies and governments to change their policies through screenings at the United Nations, the European Commission, and US House of Representatives. Our executive producer was the driving force behind this film, and everything that we learnt from this, and other films since, about creating a social network to disseminate and distribute a film will be used on The Spirit Level.

We will make a film that is talked and written about, that gets into cinemas and televisions, so millions can see it. And, most importantly, this will help us achieve real, tangible change in policies and attitudes.

We strongly believe we are at a tipping point and a big international documentary about the need for greater equality can make a big difference.

WHAT WILL YOU SEE IN THE FILM?

The film will mix observational documentary, animation and commentary from leading world figures in politics, economics and health, to tell the story of how chasing the capitalist dream of materialism has led us to the point of social, economic and environment collapse. It confronts the critics, exposes the inconvenient truths, and puts forward a manifesto for a better world.

Filmed across the globe, we see at first hand how people in different countries – including Sweden, Portugal, the USA and UK,  are tackling the same basic issues but with different results and why the differences are due to inequality. We will tell the human stories of fear and empathy, of gated communities, the huge rise in anxiety, fatter populations, street gangs, and the lives and futures of our children. It is through the stories and voices of the people in the film that we get a window into how the tide of inequality is affecting us in the developed world.

Over the course of the film, we will hear from expert voices in academia, politics and journalism as they weave together these human stories with hard evidence to explain why we’ve bought into chasing economic growth, and how this has led to rising inequality in our societies.

The film’s clear purpose is to achieve social change. It is linked to a campaign and has clear “asks” at the end of the film: what you can do as a consumer, what you can do as a citizen and what you can do as a campaigner.

WHAT DO WE NEED?

There has been an enormous amount of support from organisations and individuals for the film and its message – ensuring we have a solid foundation for wide distribution. Because we have the film rights to the book and the full co-operation of its authors, we’ve also done an enormous amount of research. Now we need to raise the money to hire a professional film crew to start filming here and overseas – and we hope to raise £30,000 in this campaign (that’s 50,000 dollars)

It’s a lot of money by crowd funding standards but then over 100,000 people have bought the book. You can make this film happen by pre-buying the down load of the film. Just 2,500 people worldwide need to pay £12 (20 dollars) for this now, and we will achieve our target. This may seem to be a lot of people, but we are appealing for supporters in all the countries of the world where the book has been sold. And you can give more if you want – see the different ways to support the film opposite.

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY

It really isn’t. Yes, we do need it (for obvious reasons), but whether you can support us financially or not you can help us by spreading the word via facebook, twitter and blogs.

This film is about a movement and a campaign, and by participating, you can help make it happen. Together, we can do for public understanding of inequality what An Inconvenient Truth did for the public understanding of climate change. A better life is possible for all of us.

TELL your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, students about this campaign and share this page: Indiegogo.com/spiritlevelfilm

SHARE it through Facebook

SHARE through Twitter with our handle @SpiritLevelDoc

SIGN UP to our mailing list for updates on the campaign as it progresses

BLOG, TWEET, RETWEET.

If you believe in a better future for everyone, please help us get the message out.


 Katharine Round, Director

Union Solidarity International launches tomorrow

30 Apr

by Amy Jackson


Union Solidarity International, a brand new initiative to build links with trade unions and other organisations across the world, symbolically launches on Labour Day tomorrow. Using online tools and communication, USI aims to ‘ encourage links with trade unions and other organisations across the world based on thematic issues such as the financial crisis, global supply chains, industrial disputes, tax evasion and off-shoring providing a social-media glue for participating trade unions and networked organisations.’ As USI states on it’s website, ‘Trade unions know that it is increasingly difficult to maintain a strong media presence against the backdrop of the current economic, social and political conditions. New media give us an opportunity to bypass traditional media and speak directly with people with an interest in our point of view.’

Supporters of USI include major British trade unions such as Unite, GFTU, Thompson’s Solicitors, RMT and GMB. USI also has the official support of a number of Greek unions, such as UCBF, SEETH, SYPAM, and the  Network of Precarious Workers and Unemployed. Their General Secretaries have offered their full support. Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite said, ‘Unite is proud to support USi. I believe it has the potential to involve trade unionists all over the world through social media. Unite looks forward to strengthening our internationalism with USi and it has our full support.’ 

In a time where trade unions and workers are being attacked by austerity drives across the world, organisations like USI are seriously in demand. Despite the fact USI doesn’t officially launch until tomorrow, they are not wasting any time. Campaigns are already under way, with issues ranging from ‘Solidarity with Greece’, domestic workers and brick kiln workers in India.

Our congratulations to USI for what promises to be an exciting and valuable contribution to the union movement, building grassroots international union solidarity.

You can join up to USI here, and follow them on Twitter at @USILive.

USI Live

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