LabourStart in Numbers – December 2017

This is the first report in six months – sorry for the delay. The next report will come out in three months.

Some highlights:

* Our mailing are growing smaller; this happens when we use them a lot, and MailChimp deletes subscribers whose email addresses are no longer valid. The only way to get around this is to recruit new people to our lists, which we are doing, but not fast enough. The only list to show significant growth was Ukrainian, which nearly doubled in size.

* We’ve had slow growth on Facebook, except for our Turkish and UK pages, which have grown spectacularly, as well as our LabourStart TV Facebook page.

* On Twitter, we’ve seen good growth for main English global feed, and massive growth thanks to the efforts of Derek and Roy, to the USA feed, which has nearly tripled in size.

* Traffic to the websites is growing. We had about 56,000 unique visitors to the news site, and the same to the campaigns site, in the last six months. The main sources of traffic continue to be the USA, Canada, and the UK.

In the list below, the first number is the current total, the second one is our previous total.

Mailing lists

English: 84,753 – 86,489
French: 8,993 – 9,051
German: 6,279 – 6,274
Spanish: 5,509 – 5,525
Turkish: 4,217 – 4,262
Italian: 3,871 – 3,947
Korean: 3,773 – 3,995
Norwegian: 2,709 – 2,755
Russian: 2,580 – 2,579
Dutch: 1,667 – 1,696
Swedish: 1,243 – 1,243
Chinese: 1,074 – 1,086
Portuguese: 877 – 869
Polish: 798 – 798
Finnish: 643 – 643
Arabic: 495 – 496
Japanese: 494 – 493
Indonesian: 392 – 335
Hebrew: 276 – 279
Ukrainian: 268 – 142
Farsi: 232 – 232
Tagalog: 225 – 227
Esperanto: 169 – 172
Hungarian: 158 – 164
Danish: 97 – 100
Czech: 79 – 82
Thai: 67 – 67
Greek: 58 – 58
Romanian: 41 – 41
Hindi: 37 – 37
Vietnamese: 25 – 25
Slovakian: 20 – 20
Bulgarian: 18 – 18
Creole: 12 – 12
Sinhalese: 1 – 1


Like page (English): 12,379 – 12,208
Members of LabourStart group (Global Labour News and Information): 8,874 – 8,797
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 2,506 – 230
Like LabourStart UK page: 2,037 – 516
Like LabourStart page (French): 578 – 564
Like LabourStart page (German): 496 – 491
LabourStart TV – 401
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 163 – 158
Members of LabourStart Vostok (Russian): 117 – 108
Friends of LabourStart Brasil: [could not update this time]


English: 18,488 – 17,678
Canada English: 7,745 – 6,953
Australia: 2,653
USA: 1,898 – 677
Canada French: 1,872 – 1,780
Italian: 538 – 524
Swedish: 370 – 372
Indonesia: 360 – 367
Portuguese: 278 – 253
French: 230 – 230
German: 92 – 94
Spanish: 70 – 69
Japanese: 21 – 21
Russian: 19 – 19
Norwegian: 19
Turkish: 16
Dutch: 12
Arabic: 8

Website traffic (1 June – 30 November 2017) (news)

Unique users 55,884 – 35,345

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 21% – 22%
Canada 16% – 15%
UK 12% – 11%
Australia 5% – 5%
India 5% – 8%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 48,545 – 26,088
USA – English 20,156 – 7,655
Canada – English 8,527 – 5,146
India 5,175 – 4,710
UK – 3,465 (campaigns)

Unique users 56,231 – 33,249

Top countries (by sessions):

UK 14% – 14%
Canada 12% – 9%
USA 12% – 14%
Indonesia 7%
Germany 6% – 7%

Most popular pages – page views:

The number in brackets is the total number of those who have signed up to support the campaign.

Indonesia: 4,220 striking miners fired – 23,380 [14,714]
Colombia: Drop sanctions against trade union leader – 11,723 [7,703]
Cambodia: Support abandoned workers in their struggle for lost wages and benefits 8,214 [8,465]
Indonesia: Every child must go to school – ICTSI must stop targeting union members – 7,012 [7,291]
Libya: End campaign of intimidation against Nermin Al-Sharif – 6,795 [6,857]

Linked In

LabourStart group: 2,042 – 2,051


Union group on Flickr: 829 – 827


Correspondents: 873 – 864


Big victory in Libya campaign

As I will be travelling from 13-24 December, this will probably be the last update to Inside LabourStart before Christmas. I’d like to wish all of you a merry Christmas and happy Chanukkah.

The big news this week is that our campaign helped force the Libyan government to return Nermin’s passport and to apologise to her. This is a big win for us and the ITF, and the ITF has acknowledged this in their statement. We have begun informing all of our mailing lists about this victory. (Unlike other organisations, we don’t use every victory — or even every mailing — as an excuse to fundraise. Sometimes, you just want to share good news, full stop.)

While we didn’t launch any new LabourStart campaigns this week, we did do a mailing to promote the IUF’s current Iran campaign, as well as promoting that on social media. As we often get complaints (a handful each time) when we do this — why am I getting this mailing twice? why am I being asked to support a campaign that I already signed up to? — I included a sentence this time explaining that this is an IUF campaign, not a LabourStart one, and we cannot know who has supported it, and so on. As a result, we got only one complaint letter this time.

I have also begun including in our mailings, again, links to Tweet and post these messages to Facebook, as well as a special link to forward messages. If people just use their email clients to forward messages, as many do, they are forwarding messages that include a unique unsubscribe link, which anyone receiving the message can click on, and sometimes do. When that happens, the original recipient will usually receive a message from MailChimp telling them that they’ve been unsubscribed — and they sometimes write to ask us why this happened.

We — and the IUF — were having issues with some of our campaign messages being bounced; we have now learned why (our default messages were sometimes too long) and this has now been fixed, and we are monitoring this more closely now.

Finally, as I wrote last week, we’ve now formally nominated our candidates to receive the Svensson prize next year.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Libya campaign grows – but not fast enough

Nermin campaign: This is now up to 6,736 supporters and is in 15 languages. This is a gain of nearly 2,000 in the last week, in part due to a second mass mailing to the nearly 73,000 people who did not open the first message we sent. We can do this in languages other than English if translators are willing to help. Support for the campaign is still lower than we would have hoped, and the previous three campaigns all have more supporters than this one.

It seems that there has been a problem with long messages in our campaigns, which recently may have been causing some bounces. This is now fixed, we think.

Our mailing lists continue to grow; this week we added 164 new subscribers, most of them to the English list, but a significant number to the German as well.

Every day we share a number of stories on social media, and highlight one major one which gets publicised across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This week, those highlighted stories included a blog on gender-based violence within trade unions, a ban on strikes in Colombia, the announcement by South Africa’s new national trade union centre SAFTU that it was on course to have 1,000,000 members by the end of the year, Indian tea workers who demonstrated at the same time as there was a big UN conference in Geneva about business and human rights, and Friedrich Engels’ birthday.

We’re almost ready with a leaflet for the new year, just waiting on some photos.

Svensson prize: we’ve had a discussion about who LabourStart might recommend for next year’s prize, and this week we’ll inform the organisers.

Our next book is the second volume of Dan Gallin’s writings. We made progress this week, but are a bit stuck with some low-quality PDFs which need to be converted to text. Anyone who has ideas about how to do this, or is willing to help, please make contact. Meanwhile, one full chapter has now been formatted correctly.


New campaign launched on Libya, while Iran, Kazakhstan campaigns are closed down

We launched our Libya campaign in the last week and it already has 4,756 supporters; we’ve gotten it translated into 10 languages.

We closed two campaigns this week, both of which had been running for more than three months – Kazakhstan (6,311 supporters) and Iran (7,659 supporters).

I did my fortnightly review of translations of our campaigns and mass mailings, and have followed up with our volunteer translators where we are not caught up. The more campaigns we run, the harder it is for our translators to do all the work, and we need to find additional volunteers, I think, to help do this.

Some good news: As we launch new campaigns, our mailing lists grow. This week we added 272 new subscribers to the lists.

We need a new LabourStart flyer that everyone can use, and we have a draft nearly ready. If you’re interested in being involved with this, let me know.

We are in the process of preparing a US activists list in part because we’ve not been able to reach out to the US audience before, and also in preparation for participation in the upcoming Labor Notes conference.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list |

New campaign coming on Libya, and more …

We are about to launch a new campaign on Libya later today.

All our campaigns went offline for several hours earlier this week due to a hardware failure at our host in Iceland. Our hosting company, the Sheffield-based WebArchitects coop, was quick to set up an alternative server for us.

Svensson Prize: LabourStart has been asked who we proposed as possible recipients of next year’s Svensson prize (which we won in 2016). If anyone has any suggestions, please share with me by email.

Closing campaigns: We’ve taken the first steps toward closing down our campaigns in Belarus and Kazakhstan, but for now both campaigns remain live.

A US keylist: I’ve taken the first steps toward building a small database of our key supporters in the USA, which we can use to help plan our growth there.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

New campaign launched in support of workers in Georgia, and more …

  • We launched a major new campaign in support of workers in Georgia. It had 5,931 supporters by 12:30 today, and appears in 15 languages. I have encouraged our friends in Georgia to help with a Georgian language translation as well.
  • I closed our Cambodia campaign after three months. We’re still waiting to hear from our partners what effect, if any, our effort had.
  • We’ve had a problem for some time with our mailings in Germany and have come up with a solution. You’ll notice a small change in how we link to campaigns in future mass mailings — in all languages.
  • Derek has been leading a discussion with some of our North American correspondents about a LabourStart presence at next spring’s Labor Notes conference in the U.S.. Andrew has proposed a LabourStart presence at next year’s ACTU congress in Brisbane.
  • Our mailing lists grow by 209 this week, all of them new supporters of our campaigns.
  • At Derek’s suggestion, I’ve begun a review of all our existing Twitter accounts — some active, some not. We’re going to try to get a grip on these and grow them all, and add new ones.
Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Twitter |

New campaigns – Georgia, Bangladesh

We have a new campaign in the works, supporting workers in Georgia. We’re waiting for our campaign partners to begin their publicity and then we’ll launch ours, including writing to all our translators.
We’ve also been alerted to an upcoming campaign in support of workers in Bangladesh.
We’ve begun more intensive work on our next book – a second volume of the writings of Dan Gallin. Following up on some problems we had with CreateSpace (Amazon) we may be using an alternative for this one.
I resolved a longstanding problem with the second country names in our news stories not appearing in the edition’s language. This is now fixed.
We added 138 new subscribers to our mailing lists in 7 languages.
Finally, we wrote to our lists about our victories in Mauritius, Egypt and Canada.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Publications |

Another week, another victory: Mauritius workers end hunger strike

Mauritius campaign: This was one of our fastest and most successful. A hunger strike by union leaders and cleaners at schools ended after just a couple of days. We managed to get 5,570 supporters in that short time. We’ve been thanked by the union, and will be reporting on this win (and others) in a mass mailing to our lists today.

Cambodia campaign: This campaign will shortly close, but we were sent some new graphics by the Clean Clothes Campaign which we’ve shared on social media. This did not produce an immediate positive result (new supporters). The campaign is currently our largest with 8,317 supporters.

Georgia campaign: We were asked in a Facebook message to help with a struggle in Georgia and waiting to get details.

Mailing lists: We picked up 251 new subscribers this week.

Fundraising: I spent all day yesterday at a “Crowdfunding Academy” event, learning the basics of crowdfunding.

About page: We’ve done a redesign of this page on the site, and fixed some of the text. Other pages on the site will also need to be updated.

Finally, yesterday evening I was invited to speak for a few minutes at the launch of Space4, a centre for tech cooperatives in North London, and spoke about LabourStart.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Mailing list |

Victories in Canada, Egypt, Norway …

This week can celebrate a bit.  We have three victories to report on …

Toronto Pearson Airport campaign: This campaign was a win for the workers and we were glad to help. The strike is now over and the workers have won major concessions from their employer. Details coming soon.

Egypt campaign: Another win as all 9 trade union leaders have been freed from jail (on bail). Kamal Abbas of the CTUWS writes “Dear comrades, Many thanks for your support and solidarity in the LabourStart campaign to release the Egyptian nine Trade Union Leaders.”

Norway campaign: No, you’re not forgetting something. We very nearly had a campaign for Norwegian workers, but the workers won before we had a chance to launch this. (This is not the first time this has happened to us.)

Cambodia campaign: With over 8,200 supporters this is our largest current campaign. We’ve been asked to give it another boost next week with some new graphics supplied by the Clean Clothes Campaign, and will do so. In an effort to boost support for the campaign in its last weeks online, we ran a Facebook ad campaign. The campaign was shown 22,705 times and 375 people clicked on the ad, reaching the campaign page. Of those, only 27 seem to have supported the campaign, at a cost of $3 per additional new supporter — so not a great use of our money.

Indonesia campaign: We did a followup mailing in English to the 72,422 people who received but did not open the previous message. This led to a boost of 1,035 new supporters for the campaign, which is now over 6,000 supporters.

Mailing lists: Our lists continue to grow as we launch new campaigns. We picked up 451 new subscribers this week.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list |

Indonesia, Canada get new LabourStart campaigns – and moving toward 10,000 supporters

Indonesia campaign: We launched a campaign in support of Indonesian dockworkers together with the ITF. Initially take-up was quite slow, but the campaign is now up to speed and growing quickly. For the first time in many months, I include in the mailing a link to show readers which campaigns they have not yet supported. This should lead to more signatories to the existing campaigns, none of which have broken through the 10,000 barrier yet.

Canada campaign: We launched a campaign at the request of a group of unions at Toronto’s Pearson airport. At the moment this is a Canada-only campaign, but we may globalise in the next few days.

Egypt campaign: We did a followup mailing today to the more than 70,000 people who didn’t open the previous message; this is now standard operating procedure for us for all campaigns a week or so after we launch them. It would be useful to do something similar for the non-English campaigns as well, particularly for our larger lists.

Colombia campaign: As with Egypt, a mailing went out last week to the people on the English list who don’t seem to have opened the earlier message. This added about 1,200 new supporters to the campaign.

Cambodia campaign: This is our largest current campaign — by far — with over 8,200 messages sent. It appears in an unprecedented 18 languages. We are due to close it in about three weeks — but it would be great to see if we could raise the numbers here to 10,000 in the remaining days.

Mailing lists: Thanks to our newest campaigns we added 538 new subscribers to the lists. We had a problem with the Indonesian list, which was boosted by some 6,000 new subscribers earlier this year. It seems that many of these may not be valid addresses, no doubt added by enthusiastic supporters, and MailChimp is demanding that these addresses all be re-certified.

Outgoing mail: As we are now sending most messages directly from the 1&1 server, we’ve run into the problem that some spam blockers reject these messages. I’ve made a formal support request to 1&1 to sort this out.

Books: Work has begun on a second volume of Dan Gallin’s writings. We still need to sort out payments from Amazon and its CreateSpace subsidiary which remain problematic.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |

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