Category: Surveys

The month in review – November 2014

It’s been a very busy month for us at LabourStart, with progress made on several important fronts.

Next generation LabourStart

androidOur Android app was finally launched on 11 November, 19 days ago, and has over 550 active users at the moment. Nearly all the reviewers have given it five stars in the Google Play store, and all the written reviews have been positive. We’ve been answering comments and noting suggestions for improvement.

We have also launched (today) an Android app in Esperanto, and next week will launch the Norwegian version. We’ll be approaching translators for the major languages (French, German, etc) in the next few days.

We’ve purchased an annual subscription to use Como, which will allow us to quickly create apps for iOS as well as Android and we hope to have the iOS version of our app available soon.

If you’ve not yet downloaded the app for your Android phone, please do so today: English / Esperanto

Retreat in Tunis – 20-23 March 2015

The first 20 people have been invited to attend.

We’ve finalized a survey for all LabourStart correspondents. This should go out next week.

We held a Skype conference call with organizers from North America, Europe and Australia to discuss this.  And Eric and Gisela have had a couple of separate Skype calls as well to discuss.


stopwizzWe launched only one new campaign in November — in support of Wizz Air workers trying to have a trade union. After just four days it has 7,200 supporters and has already been translated into 14 languages.  If you’ve not yet done so, please sign up to the campaign and spread the word in your union.

We did a big second round of publicity for our Deva (Turkey) campaign, and have boosted it to more than 10,000 supporters.

We closed the following four campaigns (details in posts below): Thailand – Andy Hall, Poland – LOT, Netherlands/Belgium – IKEA, Israel/Palestine – Zarfati Garage.

We discussed doing a campaign in support of Palestinian public sector workers with PSI, but nothing came of it.

We supported the IUF campaign on McDonald’s Korea with a mass mailing.  With our help, that campaign is now up to 8,800 supporters.

We have been asked to help with campaigns in Georgia, Nepal and Iran — waiting for our partners at the moment.


Swedish: Espen and I visited Stockholm – see the full report below. There are now a number of recent Swedish language news stories on the site, and we continue discussions with Swedish unions.  All our campaigns and mailings are now being translated into Swedish.

Italian: We’ve revived our Italian language campaigns and mass mailings — after a gap of three months — and launched three of these in November.  We have around 30 volunteer translators at the moment, which is fantastic.

Finnish: One of our new correspondents in Finland has agreed to coordinate efforts there, so he’s been given the contact details for the other seven.

Esperanto: We’ve also resumed sending out mailings and translating campaigns in Esperanto after a long gap; our list there is now nearly 100 subscribers.

Radio Labour

We continue to work together. In addition to having a Radio Labour page in the app, we now feature the latest Radio Labour broadcast on our home page in English, just under the top news stories.

Today in Labour History

While the database in French is comprehensive, we’re still missing data in English for many days — can anyone help with this?

Starting in January, we’ll begin work on a printed 2016 calendar which we’ll want ready for sale by Labo(u)r Day in North America.

Online campaigning course

We’ve submitted a proposal to the European Trade Union Institute, at their request, for a 3-day course for European Trade Unionists which will take place some time in 2015. More details soon.

3rd annual survey of trade union use of the net – the results

Here’s the summary prepared by Edd Mustill:

The respondents were a real mix of union members, many holding some sort of union position from branch upwards, but many lay members too. The comments also reveal that a number of retired members responded. The gender imbalance – about two-thirds male – is noticeable.

There have been big increases in the number of union members accessing the net on tablets, and smartphones continued to grow in popularity too. This accounts, no doubt, for the large number of people who now access the internet while travelling, making round the clock engagement more necessary than ever.

Google continues its surge in popularity, both in the use of its Chrome browser, and its social network Google+ (although how active Google+ members are on the network is open to question).

Facebook remains by far the most popular social network, but Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are all growing. Unions have responded to this well on Twitter, building themselves a good presence there, but are so far lagging behind their members when it comes to engaging with LinkedIn and Google+: 42.1% of members reported being on LinkedIn, but only 8.9% reported their union having a presence there. 26.6% are on Google+, but only 5.5% have noticed a union presence.

Members seem happy with the quality of online content they receive from their unions, whether it be an email newsletter or a video. But there are still large numbers – even among those filling out this survey – who don’t know whether their union produces, for example, online videos or a smartphone app. This suggests unions may need to do more to promote their online work to their members.

Some of the most interesting and potentially useful results came when we asked people what online work unions should be prioritising. Online campaigning and recruitment were favourites, and there was a big appetite for practical, day-to-day help to be made readily available on websites. The top 3 things that people wanted to see on union websites were: tips on workers’ rights, training for activists, and describing working conditions in companies.

To read a much more detailed account, click here to download the PDF file.

To see the full results of the survey, visit this password-protected site.  (Ask us for the password.)

Here is the same thing for the French survey.

Weekly review – 7-22 March

Absence: I will be travelling all of next week, back at work on 1st April. Edd will cover for me in the office.

Campaigns launched: We launched a new UK-only campaign for the RMT — our third currently-active campaign for them.

Campaigns to come: In April we anticipate at least two new campaigns — DISK in Turkey wants our help dealing with a German employer who is trying to impose a yellow union on its employees. And UNI and BWI in Asia want us to campaign on behalf of an anti-trafficking campaigner (and LabourStart correspondent) who is being taken to court by a company in Thailand.

Campaigns closed: We closed two campaigns in the last two weeks — Netherlands (FNV) and El Salvador. No clear result in either case.

Campaign improvements: There will be a number of improvements in light of things I learned recently. In all upcoming campaigns, we’ll try to include a Radio Labour component; Marc Belanger has kindly offered to interview key people and we’ll integrate this into the campaigns. I’ve fixed how the campaigns will show when we link to them on Facebook — it will no longer show by default the LabourStart logo, and instead will allow us to choose a better photo from the campaign page itself. Finally, when we’d look at closed campaigns, the number of supporters shown was always wrong. This has now been fixed.

Mass mailings: We did our first A/B testing — see below. Interesting results.

New website design: Launched around 11 days ago. We are now working on getting many of the internal pages to conform to the new design. Masha has suggested a number of new logos. Derek pointed out two problems — top stories with long titles were over-writing the text below, and some stories were being orphaned over the three columns at the bottom; both now fixed. We learned that top news stories in other languages were appearing on the English home page; this too is now fixed.

Internationalization: We now have campaigns and mailings in Slovak. We have a home page displaying news in Korean (we’ve had Korean campaigns for some time). And our new home page design has been implemented in Esperanto — the first language other than English to use this.

The Global Labour Movement: An Introduction. Our second book — due for launch in early May. In addition to the bits that Edd is writing, we’ll have contributions from the British TUC, Amnesty International, ICTUR, the Global Labour Institutes, and Dan Gallin. And we have activists on the ground answering email interview questions about their relationship with the GUFs. Should be interesting and useful, and we hope to launch it on 4th May. Which brings us to …

LabourStart’s First-Ever May Day Party: Due to be held at London’s only union-owned pub, the Bread & Roses, on 4th May. We’re building interest in this and intend to push it very hard throughout April.

Public speeches: I spoke last week in Oxford at the annual e-Campaigning Forum, on a panel with Anita Gardner of IndustriALL and again on the closing panel. Next Sunday, I’ve been invited to speak at a fringe meeting at the annual conference of Britain’s largest teachers’ union, the NASUWT, on the subject of jailed teacher trade unionists.

Third Annual Survey of Trade Union Use of the Net: Closed today. Expect a report shortly.

Weekly review – 26 February – 6 March

Annual survey: We’ve gone up from 500 responses to 2,082. We still need 872 more to beat last year’s record. We got an article on the TUC blog, Stronger Unions, which has helped boost interest in the UK.  We’ll stop collecting responses in just 13 more days — on 19 March.

Site re-design: I incorporated most of the comments made by comrades on what I did so far. Masha, who is a professional graphic designer, is going to suggest a new logo design soon — once we have that, we can go live, first with the English version. The draft site is here.

Campaigns: We launched our Turkey campaign and it’s already up to 8,613 supporters. We closed down the Bahrain and Netherlands FNV campaigns (see separate posts for reports.) Edd and I both did articles about the Turkey campaign for Solidarity and the New Left Project (a website).

Book 1 (Online campaigning): The French edition has been created and is available for purchase. Sales of both editions have now reached 611, with another 43 free copies given out, for a total of 654. We’ve now paid for ‘extended distribution’ meaning that the books (in English and French) will be available in bookshops and from other online retailers, including Amazon Canada.

Book 2 (Global labour movement): Edd and I are working hard on this one, aiming to get it ready by May Day. In addition to what we’re writing, we solicited submissions from a number of comrades and are pleased that we’ll have contributions from ICTUR, Amnesty, the Global Labour Institutes, the TUC and others. See more details here:

Internationalization: We’ll have campaigns in Slovak starting this week. All our campaigns have been translated into Esperanto and our translation group in that language now has 8 members. I’ve contributed an article (an interview, of sorts) for an Austrian Esperanto magazine about LabourStart. We’ll have a Korean interface for our news later today.

Fundraising: We now have a venue and date for our London May Day fundraiser – May 4th, 19:30 at the Bread and Roses pub.  Two months before the event, 77 people say they are coming or may be coming.

Public speeches: I spoke at the Unison Wales Women’s Development Weekend in Swansea on Saturday to an audience of about 26; I sold all 10 of the online campaigning books I brought with me. Next Wednesday, Edd and I (and Anita Gardner of IndustriALL) will be on a panel at the e-Campaigning Forum in Oxford. On March 31st, I’ve been invited to speak at a fringe meeting of the annual conference in Bournemouth of the teachers union NASUWT. In addition, Napo – the probation officers union – has asked me to run a workshop on social media.

Social Networks: We now have a page on Google+ which, according to our survey, is widely used by trade unionists.

App for smartphones and tablets: I’m completing one this week for the IUF and when done, I’ll know how to do the one for LabourStart.

Weekly review – 20-25 February 2013

Annual survey: We’ve gotten just over 500 responses so far in the first week; last year we got 2,954. We have yet to do a dedicated mailing on this subject and when that goes out, we should see a big response. So far, we mentioned this in another mailing a week ago, but not as the top or exclusive story. Today, we mailed to over 5,400 UnionBook members about this.

Site re-design: I’ve now shared this with a number of people and will soon be posting my comments on their comments.

Campaigns: The Cameroon campaign was closed down after 3 months. We may launch a Turkey campaign later today.

Online campaigning book – French edition: This has been created and will shortly be ready for sale.

Internationalization: I completed a review of our 50 languages – see post below for details.

Fundraising: UNI has made a substantial pledge, as has PSI. We have made progress in getting a venue and performers for the first-ever LabourStart fundraiser, to be held in London on 4 May (tentative date).

A busy Thursday update

Some quick highlights …

  1. We’ll be launching a new campaign sometime today or tomorrow in support of the Turkish trade unionists who were arrested this week.  We’re waiting on PSI and EI to agree a text.
  2. Our book on online campaigning has been translated into French. Thank you Andy!  We’ll try to make it available as soon as possible.
  3. We’ve done a mailing to our Canadian list to promote a Canada-specific campaign, and earlier this week mailed to our UK list to promote a UK-only campaign.  A third of our current campaigns are now country-specific.
  4. We closed down the Cameroon musicians campaign today after three months.  Still waiting to hear from FIM about the results.
  5. We launched our first campaign ever in Esperanto this afternoon.  We have a small Google Group for volunteer translators who did the work on this – much appreciated.
  6. We had comprehensive coverage of the massive strike in India thanks to several correspondents – including Mahesh and Edd.
  7. We wrote this week to hundreds of state labour federations and city central labour councils across the USA to promote our new newswires for each of the 50 states.
  8. We’re up to 452 responses to our annual survey — nearly half of them this time in French.


Weekly review – 13-19 February 2013

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: This went live in English and French editions about 24 hours ago.  So far, there have been 271 responses.  Last year we got 2,954 over the course of a month, and the year before that, 1,336.

Site re-design: Work has resumed on this and significant progress made.  We’ll have a more attractive site to show in a few days.  For those of you desperate to see the work-in-progress, email me and I’ll tell you where to look.


  • New campaigns: We’re launching two new campaigns this week specifically for Canada (on behalf of COPE) and the UK (on behalf of RMT).
  • Viewing campaign supporters: Some time ago we made it so that you needed a password to view the list of campaign supporters.  The problem was, you needed to embed that password in the URL.  This is now user-friendly; you can key in the password directly onto the page, in a form.
  • Campaigns landing page: This now works in French – modeled on the English version.  We’ll eventually have this working for all languages.
  • New languages for campaigns and mailing lists: We now have a significant mailing list for Tagalog (191 addresses).  Our Czech friends have completed translations so we now have a couple of campaigns and have done a mailing in Czech (95 subscribers).  We  have three volunteers signed up to help coordinate translations of our campaigns into Esperanto; they’ve formed a Google Group to share the effort.


  • Book 1: The Kindle edition of our book (Campaigning Online and Winning)  is now live and has been promoted.  Sales of the paperback edition are now well above 500.  We’re waiting for the French and German translations.  We’ve essentially run out of the 100 copies we bought for the office, and have ordered – and received – 100 more. A review is appearing in the next edition of Labor Notes, in the USA.
  • Book 2: Edd and I are in the advanced stages of planning for this one — more details very soon.
  • Book 3: I completed and submitted my manuscript to UCS 12 days ago — waiting to hear from them what else they need, and a schedule.  The working title is Making Unions Stronger – Using the Internet Better, but this will change.

News database:

  • Countries list for news database: There were several versions of this — you could, for example, add a story for a new country such as “South Sudan”, and that country was one of the options, but that name didn’t appear in the list of countries on the front page of LabourStart.  This has now been fixed — both scripts are now reading from the same file.
  • Languages for posting news: While it was possible to post to LabourStart in some 50 languages, we have only about 30 translated front pages — so if you posted a news story in, say, Urdu, it entered the database and would have appeared if you searched for news in all languages — but was not tagged in our database with any specific language.  This has now been fixed, and every story in the database from now on is tagged with a language code.
  • Newswires for all 50 US states: We now have this — previously we had for fewer than a dozen.  Now we have to think about how to publicize this – it could be useful for local unions, state federations, and so on.


  • Fundraising: I wrote to every global union federation last week; only two have responded, one with a promise to donate more than last year.
  • Fundraising evening in London: We’re making plans to hold this on 27 April – details coming soon.


3rd annual survey of trade union use of the net – now live

survey-monkey-logoIn 2011 we had 1,336 trade union members from around the world fill in our survey which was really impressive; it was the biggest survey we’d ever done.

But a year later, we had nearly triple the response, this time 2,954 respondents — and 349 of them in French (2011’s survey was in English only).

Today we launched the third annual survey and are beginning publicity for it now – please fill it in and spread the word.

The survey is available in English and French editions.

We’ll run the survey for one month.

Weekly review – 21-28 January 2013

New campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of Korean government workers, whose president is on hunger strike.  This is the first campaign we’ve ever done that’s picked up any supporters at all in Korea, and was quickly translated into that language (among many others).  We’re already over the 5,000 mark and hope for this to turn into a large campaign.

New mailing list system: I have experimenting with Sendy and have to say that so far, am very pleased. It works, it’s cheap, and the tech support has been great.  (This is taking a lot of time, but as it will save us something like £5,000 this year, it will be worth it.)

Book 1: I’m completing the writing this week of Making Unions Stronger – Using the Internet Better, which will be published by UCS this year.

Book 2: Sales continue to go well for Campaigning Online and Winning (473 sold so far) and we’ve had offers to translate into French and German.  We have a Kindle edition of the English version ready, but it needs some tweaking.

New language: Our friends at the KMU in the Philippines have given us a translation of our campaigns framework into Tagalog – spoken by an estimated 28 million people.

Newswires: All the regional newswires are now working.

Coming soon: The third annual survey of trade union use of the net.