Category: Uncategorized

Run, Kevin, run!

Snowdonia Marathon 2010For the first time ever, someone has suggested that they run a marathon on behalf of LabourStart — and what a marathon this is.  

Kevin Curran, former general secretary of the GMB, one of Britain’s largest unions, who is currently chair of the central London hotel workers branch of Unite, is the runner.

And the race is the Snowdonia Marathon, held on 25 October, and is considered one of the most difficult races in the UK (it encircles the highest peak in England and Wales).

Click here to make your donation and spread the word:

Another way LabourStart can be useful – a request from lawyers in the USA

supreme_court_buildingWe’ve recently received this request from a lawyer (who we knew years ago as a labour movement activist):

“You may or may not have heard that about a year ago, the US Supreme Court gutted an important US law, the Alien Tort Statute, that we had been using for international human rights cases against US companies. Our area of law is now in flux, and US corporations have an incredible amount of impunity for harm they do overseas. We are looking for new cases to test out new legal theories. Since you receive reports from around the world of the sorts of violations that could form the basis of a test case, I thought you might be able to keep an eye out for potential cases for us. The ideal test case would involve a US company and a relatively egregious harm (so for example a factory fire in which people died or were seriously injured, where the factory supplied to a US company). The stronger the connection to the US company the better, as ultimately we need to sue a US-based defendant. … [we] would have the opportunity to be a part of re-establishing mechanisms for international corporate accountability in the US.”

I’ve asked around and everyone I spoke to thought we should help.  So I’m appealing today to all LabourStart correspondents to keep an eye open for this sort of thing and let me know when they find something.  We’ll review this again in two months to see if we’ve come up with anything worthwhile.

Solidarity with 502 Turkish trade unionists on trial

keskistanbulI’m in Istanbul for the next few days as part of an international trade union delegation. We’ll be attending the opening of the second stage of a trial of leaders of KESK, the public sector union, over 500 of whose members have been charged with a wide range of crimes including terrorism. In the photo – Lars Bengtsson, international secretary of the Swedish national trade union centre TCO; Abdullah Muhsin, from the British teachers’ union NASUWT; Eric Lee; and four KESK activists. More details tomorrow.

Twitter Caucus?

If you manage one of the LabourStart Twitter feeds could you update me (Derek Blackadder) on what you’re doing? I’m about to do another quick survey of the people following the feeds I run to see what they think about tweet frequency, hours, etc and it would be useful to know what you’re doing I think.

FYI, here’s what I currently have set up:

Management software: Hootsuite

Global English feed: one tweet every 3 hours, 24/7. Plus campaign tweets, the auto feed of Top Stories as they are posted and the odd tweet from Eric et al at the office.

English Canadian feed: one per hour, 12 per day, 7 days per week from 0700 to 1900 Eastern.

French Canadian feed: one every two hours, 6 per day, 7 days per week from 0700 to 1900 Eastern.

I also have some boilerplate tweets (re. the Flickr group, newswires, donations, that sort of thing) which I throw into the mix as the mood takes me.



LabourStart in Numbers – November 2013

Our mailing lists grew slightly smaller as despite running new campaigns, we were running them to the same audiences, not picking up new ones. (We’re down over 600 subscribers this month.) It’s vitally important that unions which partner with us when doing a campaign understand this — otherwise our list will continue to fall little by little every month.

And though our numbers on social networks are steadily rising, there was a falling off of traffic to our websites.

The previous month’s numbers are in brackets below.

Mailing lists

Total for all lists: 117,869 [118,504]

English: 83,669 [84,236]
French: 6,813 [6,828]
Spanish: 5,138 [5,140]
Italian: 4,002 [4,026]
German: 3,870 [3,886]
Turkish: 3,272 [3,274]
Norwegian: 2,911 [2,927]
Russian: 2,091 [2,089]
Dutch: 1,414 [1,426]
Chinese: 1,073 [1,078]
Finnish: 584 [570]
Japanese: 334 [334]
Arabic: 321 [322]
Polish: 281 [282]
Portuguese: 263 [256]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Hebrew: 246 [247]
Farsi: 241 [245]
Indonesian: 199 [182]
Swedish: 192 [195]
Korean 178 [177]
Danish: 134 [137]
Czech: 86 [88]
Esperanto: 75 [74]
Thai: 68 [68]
Greek: 59 [60]
Hindi: 40 [40]
Slovak: 19 [19]
Bulgarian: 18 [19]
Creole: 12 [13]
Vietnamese:12 [12]

Social networks

Twitter followers

English: 10,774 [10,478]
Canada English: 2,521 [2,430]
Canada French: 318 [304]
French: 194 [189]
USA: 78 [57]
Spanish: 63 [62]
Japanese: 23 [23]
Russian: 16 [16]
German: 15 [15]
Portuguese: 7 [7]

Like page (English): 8,167 [7,998]
Members of LabourStart group: 6,281 [6,106]
Like LabourStart page (French): 350 [343]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 129 [129]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 103 [99]

Members: 5,657 [5,635]

LabourStart group: 1,465 [1,429]

Union group on Flickr: 740 [738]


Correspondents: 678 [673]

Website traffic (1&1 statistics)

Total visits: 629,107 [669,594]
Peak day: 26,535 [27,154]
Page impressions: 1,556,129 [1,707,274] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 51,338 [63,424]
Peak day: 5,127 [4,966]
Where they come from:
USA – 9,902 [11,091]
Indonesia – 8,133 [12,967]
Canada –  7,865 [10,208]
UK – 6,885 [8,086]
Australia – 2,785 [3,179]
Norway – 1,748 [1,897]
Germany – 944 [932]
Sweden – 913 [966]
France – 788 [807]
Netherlands – 679 [—] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 28,299 [41,088]
Peak day: 5,181 [6,044]
Where they come from:
UK – 5,841 [5,809]
USA – 4,997 [5,821]
Canada – 4,076 [6,692]
Australia – 1,798 [1,882]
Spain – 1,101 [1,787]
France – 966 [1,216]
Belgium – 925 [1,649]
Norway – 778 [1,017]
Germany – 742 [1,669]
Netherlands 626 —

LabourStart’s first-ever concert

IMG_8289On Sunday evening in Kiev, participants in the conference on the new trade unions and the democratic left were invited to participate in the first-ever LabourStart rock concert.

The band is a popular Russian socialist rock band known as Arkady Kos — which as named, as I’m sure you’re all aware, after the man who did the Russian translation of “The Internationale”.

It’s not every day that LabourStart gets asked to sponsor a concert and we were delighted to do so.

So who’s next?


And here’s the video:

A meeting in Kiev

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday we had a meeting of LabourStart’s Russian and Ukrainian correspondents — and potential correspondents — in the new workers’ advice centre in Kiev.  The meeting was hosted by the Solidarity Center in Kiev and organized by Masha Kurzina (left).  Over the course of about 6 hours, we went over all the different things LabourStart does and talked honestly about what we can do to strengthen our campaigns, grow our mailing list, improve our news, and so on in the countries of the former Soviet Union.  We also discussed the possibility of a rather large contingent of trade unionists from Russia and Ukraine attending our Global Solidarity Conference in May next year.  All in all, an exciting and inspiring event — and perhaps a model for what we can try in other countries.