Countdown to Toronto: 108 days to go

torontoskyline-250pxThis post, which will stay on top of Inside LabourStart for a while, will serve to update you about our upcoming Global Solidarity Conference in Toronto, which opens on 6 May 2016.  Questions about the conference? Email [email protected].

D-108 – 19 January 2016: We’ll soon have a draft agenda and list of topics and speakers.  We’ve invited four prominent speakers from the USA, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.  We’re up to 256 people registered to attend the conference already. Continue reading

Campaigns, conference, donations, mailing list growth – and much more

We’ve asked the ITF for permission to close the Estonia campaign after 3 months. The campaign had over 8,900 supporters and appeared in 15 languages. Once this closes, we’ll only have 3 active global campaigns running.
As our Spanish translator has been ill, we need to find a new one urgently. I’m working on this today. None of our recent campaigns have appeared in Spanish, unfortunately.
We closed the Kyrgyzstan campaign after more than 4 months. The campaign had 7,752 supporters and appeared in 15 languages.
We posted translations our China campaign in several more languages. The campaign currently has just over 7,000 supporters and appears in 16 languages.
We publicized an IUF campaign (on Turkey) to our list, and used the opportunity to explain why we’d closed our recent Iran and China/Israel campaigns (with victories in both cases.)

The conference opens in 108 days. We have 256 people registered from dozens of countries. In the next week or two we’ll have some details about workshops, topics and speakers and will do more publicity.

UNISON in the UK has decided to donate £1,000 to LabourStart.
We’ve also been in discussions with the FNV in the Netherlands about joint work, possibly including a donation.
I will be following up with GUFs which have not donated recently.

Mailing list:
We picked up 624 new subscribers this month, mostly to the English list.

Everything is coming together for our next book, edited by Joe Atkins, on migrant workers. We should have all we need by the end of this month, and the book should be available sometime in February (and of course for sale at our conference in Toronto).
I wrote to colleagues at the International Institute for Social History (where I participated in an all-day workshop in December) about collaborating on various projects, including a Global Labour Calendar.

We’ve been asked by WINS (the Workers Independent News Service, based in the US) to contribute a 2.5 minute program every week and will do so. They’ve partnered with National Public Radio in the US and believe that their show will now reach an audience of 750,000 to 1,000,000. In addition to this, we continue to work closely with, and provide a weekly show for, RadioLabour based in Canada.

Ratify the Protocol:
We promoted this ITUC campaign to our mailing lists in English, Swedish and French, managing to crash their server in the process. Our efforts have more than doubled the number of people who’ve signed up. We also arranged translation of the campaign into several additional languages for them.

We had an exchange with a couple of senior staff at Twitter about a possible LabourStart involvement in their new Moments project; at the moment, this won’t happen but may down the road.

The last two weeks of 2015

Arthur Svensson prize: At the very last minute, LabourStart got nominated for this prestigious prize sponsored by a Norwegian union. Nominations came in from Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Sweden the UK, and at least three global union federations.


  • Annual report – I’ve written a draft annual report and shared it with members of the LabourStart Executive and am waiting for their responses before releasing a public version.
  • Egypt – we’ve had a campaign request from the CTUWS; they need to edit their text further and we can then launch it.
  • China – we launched a major new campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.
  • Iran – at the request of the Education International, this campaign was suspended.
  • Kyrgyzstan – I’ve once again asked IndustriALL for permission to close this campaign after 4 months; they had earlier asked for an extension.

Fundraising: We received an additional donation from the FDHT in Geneva, and have submitted a detailed proposal to UNISON in the UK. We’re also following up with GUFs which have not donated for more than a year.

Global solidarity conference: See above.

International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam): I was one of three external “experts” brought in last month to discuss with archivists there the IISH’s collection of labour and socialist archives. Ways LabourStart and the IISH can work together were also discussed.

Twitter: The company has launched a new initiative called Moments which aims to reproduce something like the Facebook news stream; they are looking for content providers to act as partners. I made contact with a senior Twitter executive about this and we’ve exchanged a couple of emails about possibilities.

Wikipedia: LabourStart’s page is under threat. I’ve reported this to members of our Executive and hope that we can take the necessary steps to prevent its deletion.

Campaign updates from Iran, Israel, China, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Turkey – and more …

The first two weeks of December were a busy time for us, especially regarding campaigns.

2016 conference:

Updates will appear on top of Inside LabourStart as we get them.


At the suggestion of Andy, I’ll be drawing up a short report on how we did with campaigns in 2015, and we can circulate this early in the new year to our lists.

Iran: At the request of the Education International we launched a campaign 3 days ago demanding the release of a jailed teacher trade unionist. But within 1 day, we received reports that he’d ended his hunger strike and was released. We are now waiting for confirmation of this and will then close the campaign.

Israel/China: The deal to import tens of thousands of workers from China to Israel as bonded labour has fallen through, and as a result we’ve been asked to close the campaign. The campaign had 6,263 supporters in 14 languages despite having been online for little more than one week. We’ll be releasing a statement shortly.

Korea: The campaign continues to grow, and as of this morning has over 10,200 supporters, 1,359 of whom supported the Korean-language version.

Kyrgyzstan: I have asked IndustriALL for permission to close this, as more than three months have passed. We’re still waiting for a green light to do this.

Poland: We closed the ITF Poland campaign after three months. The campaign had 7,910 supporters; we don’t have a final message from the ITF about results of our efforts, despite having asked for such a report.

Turkey: We closed down the SF Leather/Mulberry campaign after more than four months with the agreement of IndustriALL. It was a large campaign with 11,571 supporters.


I have been invited next week to participation in a small workshop at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam; they are keen to discuss their relationship with the global labour movement and the question of archives.

In February, I’ve been invited to speak in Gdansk at a meeting of European trade union communications officers, organized by the European Trade Union Confederation and the European Trade Union Institute.

Facebook & Twitter:

Our group (not page) is increasingly dominated by a handful of individuals some of whom seem to think that we are connected somehow to the British Labour Party. I have written a sticky post on top of the group for all to see encouraging people to post items about the labour movement. It has had limited success.

Meanwhile, our Canadian feed on Twitter continues to thrive, with over 5,000 followers. (See Derek’s post below.)

Canada Milestone

Derek Blackadder here. A minor celebration (I’m having caffeinated coffee for a change!) this morning as the English-language Canadian Twitter feed just passed the 5,000 followers mark.

It tweets automatically (I load Hootsuite each morning with stories from the Canada English-language page) once an hour starting at 0700 Eastern and continuing until 1900 Eastern 7 days a week.

Our French-language feed lags a bit numbers-wise at 887 so we’ll be putting on a bit of a push over the next while to get that past the 1,000 followers mark. It tweets once every 2 hours starting at 0800 and ending at 1800.

From what I have read the frequency of tweets is a significant (but not the only) factor in the followers that a feed picks up and so I’m trying to figure out if the French-language feed can move to once an hour as well.

LabourStart in Numbers – September-November 2015

Growth is indicated below in green, and declines in red.  The second number, where available, is from the previous quarter.

Android app downloads (totals)

First number is current, second number is total installs. The numbers in brackets are from the previous quarter.

English: 408 / 721 [428 / 686]
Norwegian: 37 / 43 [33 / 31]
Esperanto: 30 / 88 [28 / 76]

Total: 475 current installs [489]

Mailing lists

English: 85,588 – 85,962
French: 8,325 – 8,299
German: 5,785 – 5,793
Spanish: 5,448 – 5,462
Italian: 3,970 – 3,998
Turkish: 3,719 – 3,755
Korean: 3,068 – 2,996
Norwegian: 2,782 – 2,749
Russian: 2,433 – 2,384
Dutch: 1,774 – 1,775

Swedish: 1,256 – 1,239
Chinese: 1,103 – 1,103
Polish: 793 – 734
Finnish: 687 – 687
Japanese: 488 – 483
Arabic: 463 – 463
Portuguese: 416 – 373
Indonesian: 346 – 346
Hebrew: 282 – 282
Tagalog: 254 – 254
Farsi: 242 – 242

Social networks

Twitter followers

English: 15,395 – 14,881
Canada English: 4,962 – 4,613
Canada French: 876 – 803
USA: 563 – 524
Italian: 421 – 330
Indonesia: 360 – 341
Swedish: 306 –
French: 229 – 225
German: 90 – 75
Spanish: 74 – 76
Portuguese: 47 – 8
Japanese: 21 – 21
Russian: 18 – 19


Like page (English): 10,177 – 10,078
Members of LabourStart group: 8,611 – 8,526
Like LabourStart page (French): 483 – 478
Like LabourStart page (German): 447 – 433
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 169 – 165
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 148 – 145
Members of LabourStart Vostok [Russian] – 82


Members: 5,909 – 5,885


LabourStart group: 1,970 – 1,948


Union group on Flickr: 791 – 790 [updated numbers not available]


Correspondents: 798 – 789 (news)

Unique users – 22,366 – 18,711

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 29% – 27%
Canada 15% – 15%
UK 9% – 8%
India 5%
Australia 5% – 6%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 41,764 – 33,294
USA – English 13,941 – 14,883
Canada – English 6,294 –  6,543
Home page – Norwegian – 2,807 – 870
Home page – Indonesian 2,576 -1,401 (campaigns)

Unique users – 35,723 – 39,436

Top countries (by sessions):

UK 17% – 15%
Canada 16% – 19%
USA 14% – 15%
Germany 5% – 6%
Australia 5% – 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

UK: Support strikers at the National Gallery in London – 8,819
Estonia: Reinstate Sergey Mastepan – 8,493
Kyrgyzstan: Stop union-busting, reinstate Zhanaydar Ahmetov – 6,991
Korea: Stop attacks on trade unions now – 5,778
Libya: Protect female activists now! – 5,737

Bit of Outreach in Canada

Derek Blackadder here.

I spoke in Vancouver at a fringe event at the convention of the Confederation of Canadian Unions, the smallest of the 4 central labour bodies here. About 160 present. I had about an hour, including time for questions, on the theme of ‘LabourStart Behind the Scenes: what we do, how we do it and how we can help’. Continue reading

Report on the LabourStart Retreat in Brussels last month

This report was drafted by Martina and edited by Eric. Comments are open — please feel free to make comments and ask questions below.

The LabourStart Retreat had the character of a working meeting. Presentations by Dan Gallin, Martina Hartung, Eric Lee and Gisela Neunhoeffer prepared the basis for discussions and we worked concretely on specific subjects in working groups or in a World Café format. This mix of presentation and discussion enabled the successful integration of all participants on all subjects and the result wasa detailed and concrete future action plan. Unfortunately, one speaker had to cancel due to illness in the short term. Besides that, there weren’t any further changes to the program. Continue reading