May
20
2019
0

The last 80 days on LabourStart

We are very late with updates to this page, so this one will have to cover the last 80 days — sorry!

In future, we hope to do more frequent updates — starting with one in another two weeks.

Mailing lists:
We begin work on trying to a tool called Sendy to cut down on some of our costs, as MailChimp is quite expensive. This transition to a new system will be a slow process and it is something that we tried several years ago. But if we can get it to work, we will save a lot of money.

May Day & International Womens Day:
We had extensive coverage from all over the world and publicised our coverage widely. Thanks to our volunteer correspondents for their great work on this.

New correspondents:
We have new volunteer correspondents in Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the UK. Welcome on board to all of you.

New design:
A new design for LabourStart’s home page is now being readied and will be released soon.

Campaigns – still active:
BRAZIL – We launched a Portuguese language campaign targetting our supporters in Brazil in early April.
CHINA – On 13 March we launched a campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and today it appears in 18 languages and has 8,497 supporters.

Campaigns – closed:
GUATEMALA – We closed PSI’s Guatemala campaign, which appeared in 16 languages and had 8.128 supporters.
JORDAN – This campaign was closed at the request of the Solidarity Center and ITUC after the government failed to listen to the calls for an improved labour law. It had about 3,500 supporters and appeared in 10 languages.
PHILIPPINES – We closed down the EI’s Philippines campaign after 3 months; the campaign had 8,130 supporters and appeared in 17 languages.
THAILAND – We closed the ITF Thailand campaign after more than 3 months; it appeared in 18 languages and had 7,494 supporters.

Fundraising:
During the final week of April we launched our annual appeal. Details on how much money we raised and how this compares to previous years — in the next update. If you’ve not yet donated and want to help us out, please visit our donations page.

Internationalisation:
We completed the translation of the interface used by our volunteer correspondents into Spanish.
We also made a significant number of improvements in how our women workers page renders in different languages.

Bangladesh:
We shared the IUF urgent action story on social media and as a top global labour news story.

Brazil:
We launched a campaign at the request of the Brazilian unions – see above.

Canada:
We did a few mailings to our Canadian supporters to encourage them to support some campaigns by national unions there.

China:
We made the IUF story about solidarity with Jasic workers a top global labour news story, and shared widely across social media.
We also launched a major campaign – see above.

Cuba:
We shared widely on LabourStart and across social media the story from BWI about the Cuban unions and the international trade union movement.

Europe:
Derek Blackadder participated in the ETUC congress in Vienna.
We shared news about the ETUC march in Brussels as a top global labour news story, as well as across social media.

Greece:
An ETUC news story about Greek Stalinists attacking a union is our top news story and we shared it widely on social media.

India:
We shared a story from the ITUC – #modimustgo – widely on social media and as a top global labour news story.

Iran:
We made a story about the arrests of women in Iran a top story on social media.
We publicised as a top global story and across social media reports of a nationwide teachers’ strike.

Korea:
We promoted the ITUC story on Korea as a top global labour news story, and across social media.

Mali:
We publicised the ITF Mali hunger strike story as a top global news story and across social media.

Myanmar:
We promoted the IUF Myanmar campaign to our list.

Palestine:
We shared the IFJ story about journalists in Gaza widely on social media and as a top global news story.

Philippines:
We promoted the awarding of the Arthur Svensson prize to a Philippines trade unionist as a top story and to our mailing list. Eric Lee has been invited to attend the awards ceremony in Oslo, and to speak on a panel there.

South Africa:
We shared widely on LabourStart and across social media COSATU’s call on workers to vote for the ANC in the recent elections. And also the story about the AMCU being decertified.

Sri Lanka:
We shared the ITF statement on Sri Lanka terrorist attacks across social media and as a top global news story.

USA:
We shared quite a few news stories about the IAM organising campaign at Delta airlines and posted widely on social media. We have also approached the union about helping with a campaign.
We promoted the UE strike in Erie as a top global news story, and across social media.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
May
20
2019
3

Our New Twitter Challenge

Hi comrades. Derek Blackadder of LabourStart Canada here.

I manage a number of our Twitter accounts and help out with a couple of others. Recently Twitter has changed some of the limits it places on  ‘churn’ activities which until recently had allowed us to increase the number of followers of our accounts quite substantially and quickly. For example, on most of our accounts following 20 or so other accounts within a few minutes results in that action being no longer available to us for 25 hours. In the past doing this brought us to the attention of a great many Twitter users with an interest in labour news and resulted in us gaining many followers.

If anyone has any other strategies that might replace the ‘churn’ approach I would be grateful if you would contact me with details either here or at Canada@LabourStart.org.

In Solidarity,

Written by derek in: Uncategorized |
Dec
19
2018
0

Victories in Turkey, Malaysia as we launch three new campaigns this month

It’s been a very busy month — with some good news to report (see especially Malaysia and Turkey) and three new campaigns this month (Canada, Hungary, Iran). Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been up to in the run-up to Christmas …

Bangladesh: We do a mailing to our English list to promote an IUF campaign in this country.

Belarus: We had some issues with our news page in Belarusian, but have resolved most of these.

Brazil: We publicise widely the story of a complaint global unions are making to the ILO.

Canada: At the request of the postal workers union (CUPW) we launch a global campaign supporting their struggle. As of today it has 6,588 supporters.
Earlier in the month, we do one mailing to our Canadian list.

China: We give extensive publicity to a Human Rights Watch report on China.

Europe: We gave extensive coverage — and not for the first time — of Amazon workers strikes in Spain and Germany.

Germany: We continue attempts to revive our dormant Twitter account with regular postings and following many more trade union and other Twitter feeds; we’ve seen some growth.
Meanwhile, our German translators have become active again and we did our first mailing in German in three months.

Global: We give extensive publicity to the ITUC congress and its “worst boss” poll.

Hungary: At the request of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation we launch a campaign on 18 December; within 24 hours it nearly reaches 5,000 supporters.

India: An e-newsletter called ‘Life of Labour’ sums up the best sources of workers’ news online and writes this: “Labourstart is an international online news aggregator, with the tagline ‘Where trade unionists start their day on the net’. It’s run through volunteer correspondents from across the world. It shares links to news on workers and worker related developments published in over 20 languages, while also running online campaigns of various trade unions and international federations of workers’ organisations. It has been providing this service for over two decades.”

Iran: We launch a new campaign in support of jailed teachers at the request of the Education International; the campaign currently has 6,983 supporters. We closed the Mohammed Habibi campaign; it had 10,855 supporters and appeared in 20 languages.
We also share a story about Iran arresting steel workers on social media.
We promoted widely an IUF story on Iran as well.

Kazakhstan: We continued posting new translations of our campaign. It had 7,704 supporters by today.

Korea: We shared a mass street demo story widely on social media.

Malaysia: We heard back from BWI global union about a campaign we ran more than two years ago. Here’s part of what they told us: “I know that Labourstart covered it on the website, but I just wanted to get in touch again and extend personal thanks to you for your assistance on the long-running Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) dispute. The successful secret ballot outcome has been a huge confidence booster for the union; it was previously down to just one site and struggling for dear life to hold on. They have now won secret ballots in a few other sites and are actively recruiting in quite a few more; in short, they’ve been able to turn the corner and are now growing stronger and stronger! I know that international support has been a major factor in keeping them going. SFI is still proving to be a battle (the company is teetering on financial meltdown and the buyers are playing games) but there is a newfound vitality.”

Myanmar: We gave extensive coverage to the IUF’s story about the hotel workers’ protest camp.

Norway: We share news about the Svensson Prize (which is accepting nominees for next year’s award) with our English and Norwegian mailing lists.

Poland: We’ve resumed translations of campaigns and have done our first mailings to our Polish list since January 2016 — nearly three years.

Sweden: We have 7 new translators and our campaigns are doing well, and our list is growing again.

Thailand: We continued posting new translations of our Mitsubishi Electric campaign. It had 7,384 supporters by today.

Turkey: Following our campaign, we were able to announce a victory for the Istanbul airport workers. A special mailing was sent out to all our lists about this. It included this statement from the union: “The first hearing of workers, who staged a protest against their bad working conditions and occupational murders in the construction of the New Airport in ?stanbul was held on December 5th. The hearing was held in the dining hall of the courthouse due to the low capacity of the courtrooms. The court ruled that workers shall be released on probation. The next hearing will be on March 20, 2019. Özgür Karabulut, President of Progressive Union of Construction Workers is free now. He will be able to witness the birth of his daughter. And he will be back in his duties in the workers’ movement. There will be a long-term struggle for improving the OHS conditions of airport workers. Thanks to all sisters and brothers who supported our campaign for their freedom and who contributed visibility of working conditions at Istanbul Airport.”

UK: At the request of the TUC and the journalists’ union (NUJ) we publicise a campaign of theirs to our UK mailing list and our UK Facebook page.
We give extensive publicity to the Uber workers court victory – a win for all workers in the ‘gig economy’.

Ukraine: We gave extensive publicity to a story about a miners’ struggle.

News database: We’ve contacted our hosting company about expanding the size of our database, as our news database is constantly growing and we keep reaching our limits.
We fixed a problem for some languages where stories tagged as top global priorities were not appearing anywhere.
We fixed a problem which would happen when a correspondent would change their default country or language.

Working women: We’ve developed a prototype of a fully multilingual version of our news page. It will go live soon.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Feb
06
2018
1

Solidarity Forever: Andrew Casey’s speech in Sydney last month

This began circulating on Facebook today and I want to share it very widely.

Apparently, it was Andrew’s very first public speech – at a rally in support of the Iranian people.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Feb
02
2018
7

Andrew Casey

Andrew Casey died suddenly yesterday in his home city of Sydney, Australia.

As Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, wrote:

“Andrew Casey was a union man He stood tall amongst us as an organiser and an advocate with a passion for justice second to none. On top of a long career in the Australian trade union movement his journalist and campaign skills were deployed in the interests of workers all over the world. Andrew will be greatly missed.”

Sally McManus, the Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, wrote:

“Andrew was a dear friend (or ‘cobber’ as he would say) and a comrade. He worked at the ACTU in the early 90s, then United Voice (when it was the LHMU) and then the AWU. He was running the Australian arm of LabourStart, the first and still only, international union online news and campaign network. He was a trade unionist through and through. We would often catch up, share stories and he was always looking to do more to support in whatever way he could. I respected Andrew so much because his was such a principled person. He was also a refugee and throughly good and generous.”

Andrew was all that. But he was more. To me and many others, he was a close friend and comrade.

I first met Andrew in Sydney nearly twenty years ago. He quickly grasped the potential of the Internet to help promote the labour movement and volunteered to be a LabourStart correspondent in the early days.

Our volunteer correspondents have the job of finding news stories about the trade union movement and posting links to them to our website. Andrew took that job incredibly seriously and would post dozens of such links every day. He would spot so many of the most important news stories, that other volunteers would complain that whenever they tried to post something, Andrew would have gotten there first. I gave him the title of “senior correspondent for the Asia-Pacific region” in the hope that this might rein him him. But to no avail. Andrew was interested in the entire world, and provided comprehensive coverage of countries thousands of kilometres away from his home.

On one visit to Australia I stayed with him and learned part of his secret: Andrew had difficulty sleeping, and would wake up in the middle of the night, sit down at his desktop PC, and trawl the web for even more stories for LabourStart.

But it wasn’t just the fact that he had the time. He totally “got” what our project was about, and was active in everything we did. The list of places we’d meet up is a list of LabourStart conferences, for Andrew attended nearly all of them – in Canada, Washington DC, London, Brussels, Berlin, Istanbul and of course Sydney where he coordinated our first conference in that region in 2012.

Andrew was passionate about our online campaigns. When we’d launch a campaign in support of embattled trade unionists in Fiji, Andrew would spend hours finding the most interesting news items, which he’d promote to the top of our news page. His knowledge of the labour movement in many parts of the world was encyclopedic.

In addition to his commitment to the trade union movement, Andrew was a lifelong supporter of Social Democracy and an opponent of totalitarianism – probably the result of being born in Hungary and taken out of the country by his parents after the Soviet Union suppressed the 1956 revolution. Andrew was particularly keen for the international labour movement to remain committed to trade union independence from the state, and worked hard with those unions and pro-labour NGOs in China and elsewhere to promote his vision. He was also a strong supporter of refugees, never forgetting how he and his parents came to be Australians.

He was also a committed fighter against racism and anti-Semitism. He built bridges between communities in his native Australia, and at international level strove to encourage reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.

His sudden loss is a real blow to LabourStart and the international and Australian trade union movements.

It is also a loss to all his friends and family, who loved him dearly.

May his memory be blessed.

Eric Lee

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Jan
17
2018
0

In Memorium Donations to LabourStart

Derek Blackadder here.

Bob Haywood, a well-known and widely-respected Canadian trade unionist died a couple of days ago. In lieu of flowers etc. he left instructions that mourners should make donations to either Our Times (an independent labour magazine) or to LabourStart.

I don’t believe that anyone has done this before.

It is a bit delicate but we’re trying to think of an appropriate way to draw attention to his request and perhaps in doing so encourage others to follow his example.

The obituary is HERE.

Any thoughts on this can be left here or sent to me at Canada@LabourStart.org

Written by derek in: Uncategorized |
Oct
10
2017
0

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 |
Aug
19
2017
3

David Eden, 1953-2017

David Eden, who was responsible for all of LabourStart’s translations into Spanish for many years, helping to grow our mailing list and raise our profile in Spanish speaking countries, passed away on 18 July this year.  

Some of you will have met David at the LabourStart conference in Washington, D.C. in 2009, where he was an active participant and chaired one of the sessions.

David was a lifelong democratic socialist, a member of Kibbutz Yasur and a founder of the Peace Now movement in Israel.  I first met him the early 1980s and we worked together both at the Givat Haviva educational institute and in the United Workers Party (Mapam).  David moved to the United States in 1996 where he continued to support the causes of peace and social justice both in Israel and the US.

He was a good friend and a good man, and will be sorely missed.

The LabourStart family extends its condolences to his wife Elka and his family.

May his memory be blessed.

Eric Lee

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Dec
14
2016
1

“Whatever it takes. Whatever you need. We are with you.”

Deliveroo worker and union leader – victimised for helping to organise workers.

Last night, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had a public meeting in central London with Deliveroo workers and other couriers.  

LabourStart co-sponsored the well-attended meeting, and editor Eric Lee was one of the speakers.  

Here is what he said:

My name is Eric Lee and I am the editor of the LabourStart website.

LabourStart is the news and campaigning website of the international trade union movement.

We do a lot of online campaigns in support of trade union rights around the world. Those campaigns are brought to us by our partners in the international trade union movement, including the global union federations, the International Trade Union Confederation, and national and local unions in many countries.

Over 135,000 trade unionists are part of our network who are mobilised when needed to support workers who are fighting for their basic human rights, for the right to join and form trade unions.

Right now, we are running campaigns at the request of unions in support of jailed trade unionists in Iran, Egypt, South Korea and Turkey; we are fighting against attempts to outlaw independent trade unions in Kazakhstan and demanding the rehiring of sacked trade union leaders in Liberia.

The fight for the right to join and form trade unions is a massive, world-wide fight. In many countries, workers do not have the possibility to join and form trade unions.

This is the case even though all workers, in all countries, have the legal right to unions because all countries are bound by the conventions of the International Labor Organisation, a United Nations body. Those conventions specifically give workers the rights to trade unions and every government in the world is obligated to uphold those rights.

Today many unions in many different countries are engaged in a fight against precarious work, and in support of regularised employment for workers. We have supported workers on this issue on many occasions, in different countries.

The struggle of Deliveroo workers here in London combines both of these issues — the right to have a trade union, and the fight against precarious work.

The so-called “gig economy” is a new way of describing an exploitative system where workers have no rights.

Where workers are poorly paid.

Where things like sick days and holidays do not exist.

Where workers can be sacked on a whim by their employer.

Where workers are treated with disrespect by their bosses.

We thought that here in the UK, we had moved beyond this. We have a proud history of trade unionism, have millions of members in powerful unions, and have won many victories over the decades.

But all that is under threat today. Even though we’re not in the situation faced by workers in Iran, where workers cannot join or form independent unions, or Turkey or South Korea where unions are struggling with repressive, anti-worker governments, we are also not where we want to be.

Trade unions in the UK have faced a historic decline, over many years.

They are a fraction of their former size. They wield much less power and influence than they did in the past. They struggle to organise new members, especially in the “gig economy”.

This is why the struggle at Deliveroo here in London is so important.

The workers at Deliveroo are not going to get decent pay, better working conditions, job security or respect at work just by asking for it.

They won’t get it with online petitions or sympathetic articles appearing in the Guardian.

They’ll win those things only when they have a powerful trade union in their workplace.

That is why I support the work being done here by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.

You have taken on the difficult task of helping to bring a trade union to Deliveroo.

I am confident that you will win, and that Deliveroo workers will someday soon enjoy the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement.

Until that happens, we at LabourStart, and I’m sure many other trade unionists, are ready to do all that we can help — by spreading the word, by supporting meetings like this one, by helping to raise money.

Whatever it takes. Whatever you need. We are with you.

Solidarity forever!

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Oct
28
2016
0

Nominations for the 2017 Arthur Svensson Prize are now open

As you may remember, LabourStart was awarded the 2016 Arthur Svensson international prize for trade union rights.  The organizers are inviting nominations for next year’s prize — full details are here.  Please note that only “representatives and employees of trade unions throughout the world can nominate candidates for the prize.”

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |

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