Major new campaign launched: Gaza – ceasefire now

We’re amplifying the ITUC’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza with a LabourStart campaign launched today.  It’s a very short text and a very clear message, and I hope this will be a HUGE campaign with many thousands of supporters, united in our belief that the killing must stop right now.  The campaign is here:  Please spread the word.

Our comrades in Morocco thank us, and more

We’ve just gotten the translation of this report from the UMT Morocco after our Total Call campaign.  Here’s the bit about us (but it’s worth reading the whole thing):

Coordinating with the Comrades from the Solidarity Center and UNI-ICTS, LabourStart was solicited to start an international campaign via the “ActNow!” campaign. The latter organisation received the necessary explanations and did not hesitate in supporting the UMT’s activists.

The icing on the cake came, when Comrade Mostapha Berrchid – the general secretary of the Total Call union local – was invited to participate at the “Global Solidarity Conference” in Berlin from the 22nd to the 25th of May 2014, where he was applauded and welcomed as a hero after having made introductory remarks at the opening of the conference to explain the situation and obtain support from the delegates for trade union activism in Moroccan call centres.

In addition to activists, correspondents, and supporters of LabourStart from around the world, dozens of Moroccans have been able to – for the first time ever, participate in an on-line LabourStart campaign. And record numbers were achieved, not only for the participation of Moroccans, but in the level of support for a Moroccan trades’ union cause – with 8,527 signatures.


But one thing is certain, and that is that the management of Total Call cannot continue to play dumb, especially after the hard knock they have received as a result of the LabourStart campaign against their repeated violations of trades’ union rights and freedoms.

The month in review – 28 May – 8 July

Well, it’s been more than a month — but as I was away on holiday from 22-30 June, I wasn’t able to get this done in late June. In future, I’ll try to have this done monthly. Here are just some highlights …

Campaigns: We launched five campaigns in the last six weeks. These were in support of Korean workers (Samsung), Turkish workers (M&T Reklam), and Peruvian and Argentinian workers (LATAM) – which we won. This week we added two more campaigns in support of workers in Poland. We’ve also closed four campaigns in the same period — Georg Fischer (Turkey), Colombia, Aeroflot (Russia), and Total Call (Morocco).

Conference & finances: We had a bit of followup including media coverage, which is documented elsewhere on Inside LabourStart. I’ve now completed all payments relating to the event — and can tell you that the conference was great, but also costly. We need to raise quite a bit to refill our coffers.

Books & other publications: We’ve now sold well over 3,000 books. As Google offered us a very big prize if we started running ads again, we’ve launched a modest campaign to promote our most recent book. I’m working on producing the conference book, Global Crisis, Global Solidarity. It should be ready by late summer. We won’t be doing a 2015 Global Labour Calendar (it’s too late in the year now to get it right, and on time), but we are discussing doing a 2016 version.

Correspondents: We added a number of new ones from the USA, Spain, Israel, Germany, and Poland. One or two complained that they submitted applications which we never saw. I’ve not been able to figure out how that could happen, but instead have put in a warning to people applying to become correspondents that if they don’t hear from us shortly, to email me directly.

About LabourStart: This page hadn’t been updated for years — I gave it a quick refresh last week.

First of the month problem: The French news page, which is now modelled on the English one, was behaving badly, not showing news, on the first of every month. This has now been fixed.

Staff: Our second intern, Tom, is no longer working for us. Gisela, who was on the payroll for a few months building the Berlin conference, is now happily unemployed (for a while at least).

Office: We’ll need to move by the end of October. I’m looking into alternatives now.

And we win one!

This just in from the ITF:

SITALANPE says THANK YOU to LabourStart supporters!
This Tuesday, LAN Peru’s mechanics signed a ground-breaking new collective agreement with the company. After years of unequal treatment, and a pay freeze for the last ten years, the workers have reached an agreement with the company which guarantees job security and improved conditions. Highlights of their agreement include:
  • Precarious workers have new fixed term contracts
  • An improved work-life balance, with a more transparent allocation of shifts and rotations
  • An increase in basic salary
Over 6,500 of you supported the mechanics in their pursuit for equality, and this result would not have been possible without you. Thank you for your support for the Peruvian mechanics!
As we write, LAN Argentina’s flight attendants are struggling against the company’s refusal to negotiate an agreement. We ask you to remain alert and ready for action to support our brothers and sisters in Argentina.
In solidarity,

You wait all day for a bus, and then 2 come along at once


Sorry, but I couldn’t resist that headline.  

Here’s what I just sent out to the LabourStart list:

It’s like the old saying about buses: you wait all day for one to come along, and then two appear at at the same time.

This week we have two new campaigns in support of retail workers in Poland, from two different unions, confronting two different global employers.

When I asked why this had happened, I was told it was no coincidence. Polish workers — like workers in so many other countries — are under attack.

In this case, we can help and we can make a difference.

The employers are the cheap LIDL supermarket chain, based in Germany, which will be familiar to many of you, and Aelia, which runs shops in airports and is part of the Lagardere Services group, based in France.

The famous Polish union “Solidarnosc” organized workers at LIDL more than a year ago, but the company is refusing to talk. The union has begun a series of innovative protests, including blocking cash registers by paying in small coins. Still, union representatives are being harassed and union leaders have been sacked. Solidarnosc, together with UNI Global Union, has asked us to send a strong message to LIDL — please take a moment to do so:

A newer and smaller union in Poland, Workers’ Initiative, has asked for our help in a campaign for union rights at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport. When workers at the Aelia duty free shop joined the union in May, the company reacted by sacking their elected representative and encouraged other workers to quit the union. This is yet another example of a multinational corporation ignoring workers’ rights. Let’s send them a powerful message too:

Now please share this message with your friends, family, co-workers and fellow union members.

Thanks very much!

LabourStart in Numbers – June 2014


* While most of our mailing lists are growing slowly or not at all, we saw a huge increase in our Korean list this month, now up to well over 3,000 addresses and our 7th largest list. The German list overtook Spanish to become our third largest list, as expected. A year ago, the German list had only 3,199 subscribers, so it’s gone up by over 2,000; the Korean list soared from 153 to over 3,000 in the same period. Meanwhile the English list has seen a net growth of just 5,000 in the same period.

* Our Twitter following continues to grow quite well. We’ve picked up almost 3,000 new followers to our main English feed in the last year.

* Traffic to our campaigns coming via mobile phones is soaring: we’re up to more than 1 in 4 people who visit our campaigns do so on a small screen device. More supporters of our campaigns come via iPhones than Mac desktops and laptops. Just three months ago, 18.6% of our campaign supporters came via mobile devices; today that’s 25.2%.


Mailing lists [with 200 or more subscribers]

English: 85,258 [85,334]
French: 7,859 [7,827]
German: 5,242 [5,147]
Spanish: 5,176 [5,150]
Italian: 4,097 [4,099]
Turkish: 3,450 [3,442]
Korean: 3,081 [2,122]
Norwegian: 2,889 [2,876]
Russian: 2,525 [2,525]
Dutch: 1,369 [1,355]
Chinese: 1,105 [1,073]
Finnish: 655 [655]
Japanese: 494 [494]
Arabic: 471 [469]
Portuguese: 356 [356]
Indonesian: 325 316 [265]
Polish: 269 [269]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Hebrew: 250 [246]
Farsi: 242 [242]

Social networks

Twitter followers

English: 12,455 [12,272]
Canada English: 3,273 [3,191]
Canada French: 465 [445]
USA: 344 [304]
French: 210 [209]
Spanish: 72 [69]
German: 58 [58]
Indonesia: 41 [32]
Japanese: 23 [23]
Russian: 17 [17]
Portuguese: 7 [7]


Like page (English): 8,763 [8,710]
Members of LabourStart group: 7,796 [7,691]
Like LabourStart page (French): 429 [421]
Like LabourStart page (German): 355 [344]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 137 [135]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 108 [108]


Members: 5,793 [5,780]


LabourStart group: 1,680 [1,646]


Union group on Flickr: 782 [778]


Correspondents: 725 [714]

Website traffic (Clicky)

Total visitors: 34,769 [43,005]

Where they come from:

USA – 8,200 [9,670]
Canada – 5,899 [6,694]
UK – 4,655 [5,711]
Australia – 2,313 [2,630]
Norway – 1,480 [1,665]
Germany – 1,160 [3,126]
France – 778 [911]
Austria 729 [--]
Sweden 624 [--]
Ireland 586 [--]

Their operating systems:

Windows – 69.3% [68.3%]
Mobile – 12,6% [14.6%] (iOS – 7.5% [7.8%]; Android – 3.8% [4.8%])
Mac – 16.1% [15.1%
Linux – 2.1% [2.1%] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 28,332 [32,148]

Where they come from:

UK – 4,094 [4,995]
USA – 3,628 [4,943]
Canada – 3,603 [3,698]
Korea – 1,638 [--]
Australia – 1,474 [1,644]
Germany – 1,289 [2,408]
Norway – 1,081 [--]
France – 1,081 [983]
Belgium – 1,076 [1,036]
Taiwan – 813 [--]

Their operating systems:

Windows – 62.8% [66.5%]
Mobile – 25.2% [20.9%] (iOS – 10.5% [8.9% ] ; Android – 13.2% [9.5%])
Mac – 10% [10.4%]
Linux – 1.9% [2.1%]

Actual press coverage of a LabourStart conference

Every day we’re learning about new media coverage of our Berlin conference — and there’s probably more out there that we don’t know about.  Here’s what I’ve come across so far — if you know of any others, please pass them on!

20 stories and videos so far …


Solidarity.  A very positive account under the headline “Forging global solidarity.”

Talking Union.  Ran this video showing Dan Gallin launching his book at our conference.

LabourStart.  Our own brief account.

WAC-Ma’an Israel.  A translation of the Hebrew account of our conference.



WAC Ma’an.  The English translation of this appears below.



ver.di News.  This was seen by activists in the 2 million plus member union; in addition, our conference demo was written up for the union’s membership magazine, which is seen by all members.

ver.di publik 1 – June 2014. Mainly about our demonstration in support of workers at Edeka and in their supply chain.

ver.di publik 2 – July 2014. A whole page about the conference.

Junge Welt. Had a couple of articles about our conference.

Jungle World. You can see the full article here.

Neues Deutschland.  You can see the full article here.

Labournet Germany.  A collection of materials including links to other press coverage.

AK – Analyse und Kritik. An article in the print issue of No. 595. A short mentioning in an article about the series  of Labour conferences in Berlin in May 2014.

Sozialistische Zeitung, SoZ. An article online and in the print issue of No. 6/2014

Sprachrohr, the journal of verdi’s media and communications sector in Berlin/Brandenburg. An interview in No. 3/2014,  see page 7.




LO-Media (trade union news service) According to the Google Translate service, which for some reason works really well with this article, the sub-title says it all: “Anyone can come, everyone can speak, no votes and nothing is approved: Labour Start Conference is the opposite of a normal convention.”



„Wütende Orangen“ fordern Verantwortung, by, 28.5.2014

Dan Gallin on the international labor movement, on Talking Union, 10.6.2014,

Various videos from the conference on the  LabourStart-Youtube-Kanal


Post-conference followup … in Addis Ababa



More than 40 hotel workers from Sheraton and Hilton Hotels in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia met and learned about LabourStart from Dawit, our new correspondent there — who attended our conference in Berlin.  Here’s his report:

The objective was to introduce labourstart to Sheraton and Hilton Addis Ababa employees and if possible to other people in another organization.  During the meeting the participants were from Sheraton Addis trade union and councils 9 and 30 members respectively.  In addition we also include 2 members of Hilton Addis trade union members whom they have total members of 500 employee in their organization.  In Sheraton we have 650 members. During the training and introduction the participant were surprised when they heard about labourstart global efforts for the right of worker.  Each of 40 participants took the web site of labourstart and to disseminate it into their email friends, members and to announce on the employees notice board.”