Please spread the word in your union and to your networks. Thanks.
Technical innovations: This week we made two technical steps forward. The first is a web app for smartphones and tablets that’s now been tested on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones and seems to work. The second is our own URL shortening system (like tinyurl.com or bit.ly) that allows us to create addresses like www.labourstart.org/go/peru.
Berlin conference: The number of registrations continues to grow — we’re now up to 494, up 46 in the last 11 days. The number of German participants (crucial if the conference is to be a success) is up to 103, a gain of 12 in this period. We’re currently working on sending visa invitation letters to several dozen registrants who requested it, sorting out solidarity housing for those who can’t afford the hotel or hostel, building the nearly 50 workshops that are planned, getting speakers for all 3 plenaries, organizing the Saturday night party, raising the money to do all this, and much more. The organizing committee in Berlin is growing and meeting regularly. There’s an international Skype conference call each week that Eric, Tom, Gisela and Derek have been holding as well. We have less than 8 weeks to go …
Campaigns: We haven’t launched any new campaigns in the last couple of weeks, but our Casablanca campaign is going quite well and we think we’ll get one of the five sacked call centre workers to come to speak in Berlin. We had a big surge in supporters for our Rana Plaza campaign yesterday after announcing that a couple of companies had agreed to pay compensation. We promoted — for the first time — our new social media links on the campaign page, and this has generated a number of Facebook likes (1,187) and Tweets (185) for that campaign. Not surprisingly, the links to promote campaigns on Google+ and LinkedIn are proving far less popular. We closed our Kazakhstan campaign a few days ago as well (see report by Kirill below).
News: A couple of weeks ago we had only 76 active correspondents (out of some 700); following my appeal to them to get more active, we now have 99 active ones, who have posted 5,003 news stories in March — an average of 179 news stories every day this month, with each correspondent contributing an average of 51 stories, or nearly two per day. The most active correspondents in March were (in order): Derek Blackadder (Canada), Andrew Casey (Australia), Andy Funnell (France), Roy Nitzberg (USA), Patrick Craven (South Africa), S. G??bi?ski (Poland), Efraim Davidi (Israel), and our intern, Tom Harris (UK).
Prizes and competitions: LabourStart has been entered into three international competitions the results of which we will know within a month. See below for details.
When we promote LabourStart campaigns on Twitter and elsewhere, we often need to shorten the link so that it will fit.
For example, we take this link to the current Morocco call centre campaign –
– and we shorten it using bit.ly to this –
We’ve done this for years, and it’s a great tool. (We’ve used alternatives to bit.ly as well, including tinyurl.)
But there are a couple of downsides:
First, the URL created is not instantly memorable, nor would you want to say it aloud at a public meeting, or radio interview or over the phone. (Just try saying “http://bit.ly/1hf7XIh”.)
Second, to do this, we rely on external hosts — which we do not pay for — to relay our traffic. So far we’ve had no problems with this, but it would far better if there were a way to do this on our own server.
In other words, LabourStart could use its own URL shortener.
And now we have one.
Thanks to the people who wrote YOURLS I’ve now been able to create these shortened URLs easily:
http://www.labourstart.org/go/peru -> http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2198
http://www.labourstart.org/go/ranaplaza -> http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2200
http://www.labourstart.org/go/casablanca -> http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2217
And we’re not limited to campaigns.
For example, correspondents who want to login to post news now have to key in this:
This is easier to remember, and shorter:
So, LabourStart now has its own URL shortening system. And here are the advantages:
- Easier to say.
- Easier to remember.
- Fits better onto a tweet.
- More secure and reliable than an external host.
- And finally, preserves our branding — labourstart instead of labourstartcampaigns.net.
Kirill Buketov writes:
Labourstart is closing its fourth on-line campaign in support of Zhanaozen workers. This campaign was launched on the birthday of Rosa Tuletaeva at the World Human Rights day on December 10, 2013, was run by Labourstart correspondents in 17 languages and became one of the largest in Labourstart history by gaining support of 11,399 activists around the world. This was a strong message to Kazakhstan authorities, which played important role in their decision to transfer Rosa from prison to a settlement colony in January 2014. As long as the workers activists still detained, the struggle for their release will be continued, we will re-launch the campaign after a short break.
More than 3 months after launching this important campaign, we’ve now closed down the Kazakhstan: Free jailed oil workers campaign.
The campaign was our third-largest current campaign, with 11,399 supporters in 17 languages.
It was the most languages we had in our current campaigns, and possibly the most ever.
We’ll report back once we’ve heard from the campaign partners what effect, if any, the campaign had.
Berlin conference: We’re up to 448 registered participants from 68 countries, a gain of 28 in the last 10 days. (We now have 91 from Germany, a gain of 7.) We’re all working on a wide range of issues now, including the conference party on Saturday night, plenary speakers for all 3 plenary sessions, getting visa invitation letters, getting all the workshops set up, and much more. There’ll even be a conference poster!
Campaigns: We launched one new campaign in the last 10 days in support of call center workers in Casablanca; it’s done very well and after just four days, is already larger than the three previous campaigns. With just under 7,000 messages sent already, it looks poised to be our 4th largest current campaign (out of 10) sometime soon.
News: I’ve written to nearly 600 LabourStart correspondents today asking for their help to put more news up. Of the more than 700 correspondents we have, only 76 have posted news so far this month. A number have already written back promising to post news, or asking for new passwords. There’s now a big yellow ‘Add news’ button on the home page in English — this allows correspondents to quickly add news, for new people to volunteer to be correspondents, and for one-off submissions of news.
New languages: We’re just about to do our first campaign in Hungarian.
Books: Our next book (by Dan Gallin) will be ready for sale at the conference in May. We did a lot of work last week formatting it. It’s currently running at 423 pages, but we might shorten that.
Labour History: I’ve fixed the entry form so it’s now working correctly and we can add more dates to our online calendar. There’s now a list of French language entries in the database.
This campaign is a joint initiative of the Moroccan union UMT, UNI Global Union and the Solidarity Center.
Let’s promote it widely, get it translated into many languages, etc.
Berlin conference: The list of participants continues to grow — two weeks ago we had 352 registrants from 58 countries; today that’s 420 from 68 countries. The number coming from Germany is now 84, up from 77. The team in Berlin is doing a fantastic job, meeting regularly and building up a solid programme of workshops and plenaries. We’ve now begun weekly Skype conference calls involving myself, Derek and Gisela and this will continue in the run-up to the event. We are doing a monthly mailing to all those who registered and in last week’s mailing we made a special appeal for people to volunteer as interpreters. Our volunteer translators have begun translating the conference website into Spanish (as well as English and German), and the registration form now works in 8 languages. And we now have a donations page in German (in the hope that our raised profile in the German labour movement may help generate donations). The ITUC has agreed to promote our conference in their next mailing to delegates to their upcoming world congress in Berlin.
Campaigns: We launched four new campaigns in the last two weeks after a period of relative calm. Here they are (with the current number of supporters in brackets): Korea [7,178], Bangladesh [4,007], Peru , and Canada . The last of these is a Canada-only campaign; all the others are global. We closed down the Sri Lanka campaign today and the USA (First Energy) campaign last week. We’re hoping to launch a Ukraine campaign in the next few days. Finally, our French language ActNOW RSS feed is greatly improved, with French text replacing the English that remained there.
New languages: We’ve had an offer to translate LabourStart into Hindi which is great, and something we’ve wanted for a very long time. Now that we have a Hungarian language edition, we need correspondents, so I wrote to all the Hungarians I could find on our English language mailing list — and the first of them has now volunteered to be a correspondent.
Books: Andy completed the translation into French of our second book (global labour movements) which is now on sale at Amazon, CreateSpace, etc. He did a mailing to our French language list which generated a lot of interest (nearly 50 sales in the first few days), and it appears that we’ll need to have copies of all our books, in English and French, in Berlin for sale to delegates. We’re also working hard on Dan Gallin’s book in order to get it ready well in advance of the Berlin conference — at which we’ll have book launch with Dan speaking.
My new contact details: Please note that I am contactable in many ways, but no longer at the old phone number. I’ve written up what I’m doing and why and encourage LabourStart correspondents to use email where possible, and in urgent cases only, to use Telegram or Skype to reach me.
Companies have not been good about paying compensation to victims of last year’s catastrophe in Bangladesh, so we’ve been asked by IndustriALL, UNI and the Clean Clothes Campaign to launch a big online campaign — now live here. Please sign it, translate it, spread the word in your union.
PSI has asked us to host this one, which we’ll promote today and tomorrow together with other new campaigns focussing on Bangladesh and Ukraine.