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.