Unite, GMB, RMT among a range of organisations backing international campaign website being launched today, on International Workers’ Day

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Two of Britain’s largest unions are among a range of organisations backing an international campaign website being launched today, on International Workers’ Day.

Union Solidarity International (USi) says it intends to use social media to maximise the direct participation of trade union members and branches across the world.

The site – backed by Unite, GMB and the RMT, among others – is based in the UK, but has already established links with unions in the USA and Brazil, India and southern Africa as well as the Eurozone.

The project was first being considered more than a year ago, but it has taken several months to coordinate the secondment of union staff members who will update and organise the website.

USi says campaigns such as Unite’s protests outside stores and company AGMs over the lockout and sackings of 150 printworkers at MMP on Merseyside (pictured) are examples of how unions have used global supply chains to exert leverage on employers.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “I believe it has the potential to involve trade unionists all over the world through social media. USi has our full support.”

The website organisers hope that by offering services such as document translations and video conferencing, it will prove to be a practical and accessible tool for union members seeking to establish international contacts.

Pitching the project to potential supporters, USi live has been at pains to say it would not be a ‘think tank’, but that it hoped to demonstrate the intellectual depth to inform debate in the international workers’ movement, to ‘develop sophisticated analyses and alternative narratives to those that dominate public discourse.’

The industrial sectors USi intends to focus on reflect the interests of the UK and Irish unions supporting the project: from transport and mining, to textiles and steel as well as education, health care and the public sector.

It also hopes to work with students movements, the indignados anti-austerity movement in continental Europe, as well as #Occupy groups in the US, and altermondialiste New Social Movements in developing countries.

USiLive is officially launched today. The first full meeting of its Advisory Board is due to be held in London next month.


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