Campaigns round up: Winter 2014

The latest success stories and actions from the world of campaigning

TAKE ACTION: Fair pay for NHS staff
NHS nurses’ pay has risen by an average of just 1.6% since 2012, while NHS executive pay has increased by 6.1%. Despite this, the government ignored a recommendation by the independent NHS Pay Review Body to increase pay for all NHS staff for the 2014/15 financial year by 1%. Sean O’Sullivan from the Royal College of Midwives said: “Staff should be paid fairly for the valuable work they do, but currently they feel taken for granted.”
Get involved: Sign a petition asking Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, to increase pay for NHS workers.

SUCCESS: Fashion brands commit to forest protection
Several major clothing companies have joined a zero deforestation campaign. In October Levi Strauss, Marks and Spencer, Portico, Aritzia, Under the Canopy and ASOS announced that they would commit to ridding their products of fibres sourced from old-growth and high conservation value forests. The Fashion Loved by Forest campaign, run by non-profit organisation Canopy since 2012, now has 25 companies signed up, equating to more than $75bn (£47bn) in annual sales. The campaign encourages the fashion industry to use more sustainable alternatives such as straw fibres and recycled fabrics.
Get involved: Find out more about Canopy and how you can help with the Fashion Loved by Forest campaign.

TAKE ACTION: Decriminalise abortion in El Salvador
A total ban on abortion in El Salvador, in force since 1998, means that every year thousands of women are unable to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Those at Amnesty International claim the law is a violation of human rights. Women who terminate pregnancies illicitly, or help others to do so, risk up to eight years imprisonment, and under the country’s homicide laws, those who miscarriage can face jail for up to 50 years if suspected of undertaking an abortion.
Get involved: Sign the petition calling on El Salvador’s government to decriminalise abortion.

SUCCESS: India bans animal-tested cosmetics
The Indian government has banned the import of any cosmetics tested on animals. The move makes India the first country in south Asia to do so and comes just five months after the country banned the manufacture of such products within its borders. Some 70,000 signatures were collected by Humane Society International India urging health minister Harsh Vardhan to implement the ban.
Get involved: Sign up to Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free pledge.

TAKE ACTION: Go peat-free
Britain’s peatlands cover 12% of the country and hold more carbon than the forests of France, Germany and the UK combined, as well as producing clean water and providing a unique habitat for wildlife. However, an estimated 80% of UK peatlands are in poor condition due to water drainage and peat exaction which is currently being carried out 200 times faster than peat is formed. That means this valuable resource and the ecological wealth it represents are under threat. The government is taking action to reduce the use of peat in industry, but consumers can also play a part by refusing to use peat in gardening. To help tackle this, permaculture organisation Project Maya is asking the public to make a simple pledge – to only use peat-free compost.
Get involved: Find out more about the campaign and take the Peat-free Pledge.

SUCCESS: Hove beats Gove
In March 2014, former education secretary Michael Gove proposed that Hove Park School in West Sussex become an academy. However local people formed a campaign opposing the plans. Called Hands Off Hove Park School (HOHPS), the campaign was made up of parents, carers, students, teachers and other members of the community. They claimed that academies “weaken governance and accountability and offer nothing in terms of raising standards or improving the educational environment”. After months of action, including protests, marches, social media campaigns and lobbying, the school’s governors announced in September that Hove Park would not become an academy. HOHPS representatives believe their victory will help inspire other campaigns around the country wanting to oppose the ‘academisation of schools’.
Get involved: Learn more about the campaign by reading the HOHPS blog.