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Sunday, April 17, 2016

International campaign organisation LabourStart wins international prize for trade union rights

The 2016 Arthur Svensson prize for trade union rights has been awarded to the online news service LabourStart, which collects and disseminates information to assist unions and defend labour rights around the world.

The announcement was made on 11 April by the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights committee.  

The committee highlighted that LabourStart has run about 240 e-mail campaigns in 18 years directed at governments and companies that have failed to respect labour rights. During these years, the organisation has built up a global network of 140,000 individuals who receive information and can be mobilised to participate in campaigns within hours.


“It is probable that these campaigns have been crucial to several objects such as to free imprisoned union leaders and to make sure that companies put an end to harassment of union leaders and engage in collective agreements,” the prize committee noted.

It also emphasised that LabourStart maintains a close relationship with the international labour movement. Indeed, a LabourStart campaign is often initiated at a global union’s request, and LabourStart maintains close contact and collaboration with unions throughout campaigns.


“We are delighted that our efforts - your efforts - have been recognised in this way,” and “are deeply honoured to have received this award”, said LabourStart founder Eric Lee, adding that the 140,000 trade union activists who have supported LabourStart campaigns for workers’ rights are the real winners of the prize.

He went on to stress that it is also a reminder of the ongoing struggle for workers' rights everywhere, and asked for support for LabourStart’s current online campaigns.

EI welcomes award

Education International (EI) welcomes the awarding of the prize to LabourStart, through which it has launched several campaigns, including appeals for trade unionists in Iran and Colombia. Lately, EI and LabourStart celebrated the release from jail of Bahraini Teachers Association’s President, Mahdi Abu Dheeb, on 4 April 2016. Both organisations had been campaigning for the release of Mahdi and were able to help securing the reduction of his prison sentence from 10 to five years, after affiliates and many other concerned citizens worldwide mobilised through a LabourStart appeal.

The Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rightswas established by the Industri Energi union in Norway, and is awarded annually to promote and strengthen trade unions and trade union rights internationally. Last year, the Arthur Svensson Prize was awarded to Bahraini Teachers Association’s leaders Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman. 

The official award ceremony will take place in Oslo, Norway, on 15 June.

You can read the full statement of the prize committee here.
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