New campaign launched in support of Georgian unions – and in the Georgian language too

We launched a new campaign last week in support of the Georgian trade union movement which is fighting for a better labour law. For the first time, we are running the campaign in the Georgian language as well.  (See the screenshot on the left.)

The campaign is already live in seven languages with more to come, and has over 3,700 supporters.

We also closed the earlier Georgian campaign in support of metal workers there. Launched in November, it had 7,373 supporters and appeared in 18 languages – but not Georgian. We haven’t yet heard back from the local union on what effect it may have had.

Thanks to our new volunteer translators, we are running the Email Abdi (Iran) campaign in Japanese and Polish. It will be great to get those languages going again as we already have substantial mailing lists. We hope to also have campaigns live in Thai thanks to a new volunteer. And next week, we’ll begin the effort to revive our Arabic language campaigns as well.

Many more correspondents are now active following an appeal we sent out recently, our first direct message to our correspondents in a long time. We had 57 active correspondents this month, up from just 40 a couple of weeks ago.

We’ve heard from a group of our activists in Australia who have promised to recruit new correspondents and to try to do some of the work which Andrew Casey has done all these years.

To try to encourage people to join up to our English-language mailing list, we posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and added a pop-up advert on the country news pages. This has generated very few new subscribers.

Our Russian language Twitter feed is being revived – thanks to Kirill. And our French language feed is no longer protected and we’ll be seeking volunteers to help Andy with this. We were also able to gain control over the Australian LabourStart Twitter account which Andrew had set up and run, and have asked our local correspondents there to take this over.

We’re getting ready to participate in the Labor Notes conference in Chicago in April and have prepared a leaflet which we will be distributing there. We also have an advert in the conference programme and a team of volunteers which Derek is organising. We’ll have a table to distribute our publications, and to sign people up to our campaigns. This is a very important conference, with thousands of attendees, and is a great opportunity to introduce LabourStart to a North American audience.

Finally, we’ve won another award in the UK but I cannot reveal any details until it is made public in the next few days.


Mass mailings with a difference, new correspondents, revived language editions and more

The main news story for us last week was the sudden passing of our friend and comrade Andrew Casey. (See the the stories below for our obituary, shared with LabourStart’s English language mailing list, and a video of Andrew’s first – and last – speech.)

We’ve begun a series of mass mailings, probably one per month, which will not focus just on a campaign, but on news and analysis. (This is one more way in which LabourStart is not a clicktivist organisation.) The first such message is a 500-word piece by Derek Blackadder about the split in the Canadian labour movement. It got a lot of feedback, and was a good thing. We’re open to your ideas about what subjects we should cover and who should write these short, 500-word pieces (with links of course).

This week we added four new correspondents, one from Australia, one from India and two from Georgia. That’s a total of six new correspondents in three weeks. I’ve decided to resume doing regular (probably monthly) mailings to all correspondents. If any of you have any thoughts about this — things we could be saying — please let me know.

We continue to revive our dormant language editions, and following the success with Finnish and Swedish, last week we recruited a new translator for Polish. Next week, we’ll focus on Japanese.

Finally, our mailing lists continue to grow, despite not having new campaigns. We picked up 105 new subscribers this week.


Esmail Abdi is NOT free, he’s now back in Evin prison – and we launch a new campaign

Bad news: Esmail Abdi (pictured left) was free, but he is now back in Evin Prison. We launched a new LabourStart campaign three days ago at the request of the Education International, and within about 24 hours we had over 3,500 messages of protest sent to Iran.  Many more will go out in the next few days.

Meanwhile, our Fiji campaign which we just launched has come to an end – with a victory for the workers and an end to the lockout. Just under 8,000 people signed up to support that campaign, which was online for about one month and was translated into 19 languages — three of those translations were done after the campaign closed.

We added 51 new subscribers to our mailing lists, many of them in Arabic (due to the Algeria campaign which has over 9,300 supporters and still growing)..

We’ve done a lot of work to revive LabourStart in languages where we’ve not been active in recent years. The first two are Swedish and Finnish, and we’ve found more than 10 new translators and you’ll begin seeing the fruits of their work in the next few days. We have 1,886 subscribers on our Swedish and Finnish mailing lists, so it’s important to keep those people — and new ones we recruit — involved in our campaigns and receiving our mailings.

We add one new correspondent in Canada. We closed an old, inactive Canada-only campaign.  And do all the other, usual stuff, like backing up our files, answering correspondence, raising money, and so on.


LabourStart in Numbers – December 2017

This is the first report in six months – sorry for the delay. The next report will come out in three months.

Some highlights:

* Our mailing are growing smaller; this happens when we use them a lot, and MailChimp deletes subscribers whose email addresses are no longer valid. The only way to get around this is to recruit new people to our lists, which we are doing, but not fast enough. The only list to show significant growth was Ukrainian, which nearly doubled in size.

* We’ve had slow growth on Facebook, except for our Turkish and UK pages, which have grown spectacularly, as well as our LabourStart TV Facebook page.

* On Twitter, we’ve seen good growth for main English global feed, and massive growth thanks to the efforts of Derek and Roy, to the USA feed, which has nearly tripled in size.

* Traffic to the websites is growing. We had about 56,000 unique visitors to the news site, and the same to the campaigns site, in the last six months. The main sources of traffic continue to be the USA, Canada, and the UK.

In the list below, the first number is the current total, the second one is our previous total.

Mailing lists

English: 84,753 – 86,489
French: 8,993 – 9,051
German: 6,279 – 6,274
Spanish: 5,509 – 5,525
Turkish: 4,217 – 4,262
Italian: 3,871 – 3,947
Korean: 3,773 – 3,995
Norwegian: 2,709 – 2,755
Russian: 2,580 – 2,579
Dutch: 1,667 – 1,696
Swedish: 1,243 – 1,243
Chinese: 1,074 – 1,086
Portuguese: 877 – 869
Polish: 798 – 798
Finnish: 643 – 643
Arabic: 495 – 496
Japanese: 494 – 493
Indonesian: 392 – 335
Hebrew: 276 – 279
Ukrainian: 268 – 142
Farsi: 232 – 232
Tagalog: 225 – 227
Esperanto: 169 – 172
Hungarian: 158 – 164
Danish: 97 – 100
Czech: 79 – 82
Thai: 67 – 67
Greek: 58 – 58
Romanian: 41 – 41
Hindi: 37 – 37
Vietnamese: 25 – 25
Slovakian: 20 – 20
Bulgarian: 18 – 18
Creole: 12 – 12
Sinhalese: 1 – 1


Like LabourStart.org page (English): 12,379 – 12,208
Members of LabourStart group (Global Labour News and Information): 8,874 – 8,797
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 2,506 – 230
Like LabourStart UK page: 2,037 – 516
Like LabourStart page (French): 578 – 564
Like LabourStart page (German): 496 – 491
LabourStart TV – 401
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 163 – 158
Members of LabourStart Vostok (Russian): 117 – 108
Friends of LabourStart Brasil: [could not update this time]


English: 18,488 – 17,678
Canada English: 7,745 – 6,953
Australia: 2,653
USA: 1,898 – 677
Canada French: 1,872 – 1,780
Italian: 538 – 524
Swedish: 370 – 372
Indonesia: 360 – 367
Portuguese: 278 – 253
French: 230 – 230
German: 92 – 94
Spanish: 70 – 69
Japanese: 21 – 21
Russian: 19 – 19
Norwegian: 19
Turkish: 16
Dutch: 12
Arabic: 8

Website traffic (1 June – 30 November 2017)

LabourStart.org (news)

Unique users 55,884 – 35,345

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 21% – 22%
Canada 16% – 15%
UK 12% – 11%
Australia 5% – 5%
India 5% – 8%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 48,545 – 26,088
USA – English 20,156 – 7,655
Canada – English 8,527 – 5,146
India 5,175 – 4,710
UK – 3,465

LabourStartCampaigns.net (campaigns)

Unique users 56,231 – 33,249

Top countries (by sessions):

UK 14% – 14%
Canada 12% – 9%
USA 12% – 14%
Indonesia 7%
Germany 6% – 7%

Most popular pages – page views:

The number in brackets is the total number of those who have signed up to support the campaign.

Indonesia: 4,220 striking miners fired – 23,380 [14,714]
Colombia: Drop sanctions against trade union leader – 11,723 [7,703]
Cambodia: Support abandoned workers in their struggle for lost wages and benefits 8,214 [8,465]
Indonesia: Every child must go to school – ICTSI must stop targeting union members – 7,012 [7,291]
Libya: End campaign of intimidation against Nermin Al-Sharif – 6,795 [6,857]

Linked In

LabourStart group: 2,042 – 2,051


Union group on Flickr: 829 – 827


Correspondents: 873 – 864


Somalia campaign closes; we support Iranian sugar workers

We closed the Somalia campaign after three months and 5,920 supporters. We’re waiting to hear what effect, if any, our campaign had.
We also did a mass mailing to promote the IUF’s campaign in support of Haft Tapeh sugar workers in Iran, as well as promoting extensively on social media.

Site redesign:
I’m pleased to report that we’re moving forward with a web design cooperative in London, and have discussed a number of changes they will make to modernise and refresh LabourStart. They’ve done some outstanding websites for progressive groups and unions, and are offering their services on a pro bono basis.

I had a long meeting at the TUC with their head of digital, John Wood, and we discussed ongoing cooperation.
I contacted the union official tasked with organising Uber drivers in the UK to see how we can help with their campaign.

We’ve picked up 510 new likes for our Turkish page (a tripling of the number) in just a few days this week thanks to our new ad campaign. We’ve informed 34,960 Turkish Facebook users about LabourStart at minimal cost. The campaign will run for a full month and it looks like after we’re done, our page will have several thousand likes.
Our ad campaign to promote LabourStart TV’s page ended after we picked up 151 new likes, having shown the ad to 4,767 Facebook users in the USA. We’ll probably resume this later this year.

Indonesian language:
We urgently need someone to translate our campaigns and mailings, and fortunately someone has now stepped forward. Indonesian is now one of our largest mailing lists.

We added one new correspondent, from Canada.

Mailing lists:
Due to a lack of new campaigns, we’ve added only 1 new person to our lists this week.


LabourStart TV revived

LabourStart TV:
We now have a Facebook page  to help promote our videos (and the web page itself); at the moment Derek and I are the administrators and we can add videos, but others are welcome to join us. The page has 146 likes at the moment, but this will grow quickly.
The page on LabourStart itself has been turned into a live feed of all news stories using video — in English only, but with a plan to roll this out for all other languages shortly. A lot of old stuff has now been removed from that redesigned page.

We have been approached about a possible campaign in support of Chinese workers in Saipan.
I’ve also had to do a slight design of how we use campaign images on the LabourStart home page; for some languages, that had meant a blank left column — this is now fixed.
We’ve been offered a chance to try out something called PostBug which will allow some campaign supporters to send a paper version of their protest message by snail mail, through a website.

UnionBook: At their request, we have transferred the entire archive to the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.

Indonesian: I continue to pursue translators to ensure that we can regularly translate our campaigns and mail to our Indonesian language list — our third largest list.

Esperanto: The magazine of SAT, the global left-wing Esperanto movement, has sent me some interview questions. They will shortly be running an article about LabourStart.

Correspondents: We’ve added another new correspondent from India.

Mailing lists: We added 199 addresses this — 66 of those to the English list, 22 to the Dutch, and 111 to other lists. This is four times as many people as we added to our lists last week.

Site redesign: We have a meeting scheduled with our friends at a workers’ coop in London which has offered to help us out with this. More details soon.


LabourStart in Numbers – March-May 2017

Some highlights:

Most mailing lists stayed more or less the same size this quarter, as the number of new subscribers due to campaigns matched the number deleted automatically from the lists due to bad addresses.

On Facebook, we saw significant growth of our group (381 new members), our new UK page picked up 516 new followers, and our revived Turkish page grew by 27% (49 new likes). On Twitter, our biggest growth was 315 more followers for our Canada (English) account and 449 for our global English account.

Traffic to the main website shrunk slightly, with a surprising number of visits (3,232) to our Delhi (India) page.  And no, I cannot explain that either.

In the list below, the first number is the current total, the second one is our previous total.  I have marked in blue where we have seen growth.

Mailing lists

English: 86,489 – 86,871
French: 9,051 – 9,032
German: 6,274 – 6,252
Spanish: 5,525 – 5,527
Turkish: 4,262 – 4,248
Korean: 3,995 – 4,171
Italian: 3,947 – 3,983
Norwegian: 2,755 – 2,772
Russian: 2,579 – 2,564
Dutch: 1,696 – 1,707
Swedish: 1,243 – 1,243
Chinese: 1,086 – 1,077
Portuguese: 869 – 848
Polish: 798 – 798
Finnish: 643 – 643
Arabic: 496 – 509
Japanese: 493 – 518
Indonesian: 335 – 346
Hebrew: 279 – 280
Farsi: 232 – 232
Tagalog: 227 – 254
Esperanto: 172 – 155
Hungarian: 164 – 149
Ukrainian: 142 – 138
Danish: 100 – 102
Czech: 82 – 81
Thai: 67 – 67
Greek: 58 – 58
Romanian: 41 – 41
Hindi: 37 – 41
Vietnamese: 25 – 13
Slovakian: 20 – 20
Bulgarian: 18 – 18
Creole: 12- 12
Sinhalese: 1 – 1


Like LabourStart.org page (English): 12,208 – 12,112
Members of LabourStart group (Global Labour News and Information): 8,797 – 8,416
Friends of LabourStart Brasil: 3,406 – 3,232 [could not update this time]
Like LabourStart page (French): 564 – 553
Like LabourStart UK page: 516
Like LabourStart page (German): 491 – 485
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 230 – 181
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 158 – 158
Members of LabourStart Vostok (Russian): 108 – 90


English: 17,678 – 17,229
Canada English: 6,953 – 6,638
Canada French: 1,780 – 1,726
USA: 677 – 662
Italian: 524 – 492
Swedish: 372 – 376
Indonesia: 367 – 366
Portuguese: 253 – 223
French: 230 – 230
German: 94 – 94
Spanish: 69 – 70
Japanese: 21 – 21
Russian: 19 – 18

Website traffic

LabourStart.org (news)

Unique users 35,345 – 42,120

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 22% – 20%
Canada 15% – 15%
UK 11% – 16%
India 8% – 5%
Australia 5% – 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 26,088 – 26,770
USA – English 7,655 – 7,630
Canada – English 5,146 – 5,354
India 4,710 – 5,097
India – Delhi 3,232

LabourStartCampaigns.net (campaigns)

Unique users 33,249 – 43,979

Top countries (by sessions):

UK 14% – 18%
USA 14% – 13%
Canada 9% – 11%
Germany 7% – 7%
Spain – 6%

Most popular pages – page views:

The number in brackets is the total number of those who have signed up to support the campaign.

Turkey: 14 union leaders face prison 13,161 [10,329]
Iran: Esmail Abdi on hunger strike 8,125 [6,868]
Kazakhstan: Stop repression, start dialogue with workers 8,069 [8,099]
Stand with Rajendra – demand action on chrysotile asbestos now 7,156 [7,001]
Madagascar: Dock workers sacked for joining a union 5,599 [6,922]

Linked In

LabourStart group: 2,051 – 2,052


Union group on Flickr: 827 – 825


Correspondents: 864 – 856


New campaign launched – Esmail Abdi on hunger strike

New campaign – Esmail Abdi – hunger strike:
This campaign went live about a week ago is already doing well, with over 6,000 supporters, and was translated into a dozen languages.
I sent out a reminder to the 71,354 people on our English list who didn’t open the message sent out a week ago.

Campaigns in the pipeline:
We are in discussions with a Canadian union on a major campaign.
UGT Spain is talking with us about a campaign focussing on workers facing jail.
A US union has also asked for a possible campaign with a long-running dispute.
We were given a campaign by a union in Turkey last week but have been asked to hold off on this for a bit.

Mailing lists:
We picked up 317 new subscribers, nearly all of those for the English list.

Fundraising drive:
We did the annual fundraising drive, which raised £2,500 in the first 48 hours. The mailing is translated into a number of languages – but some key ones still remain.

New correspondents:
We have new correspondents in Iran and the Netherlands.

We’ve now sent out review copies of our migrant workers book to 33 publications — I hope this will generate some reviews and raise awareness of the book.
We continue to have problems with CreateSpace, the Amazon subsidiary that prints and sells the books, and have continued complaining and demanding that they sort out the payments which are owed to us. They are currently looking into what the problem is.

New LabourStart flyer:
A new LabourStart brochure is in the works, our first since 2014. The English version should be ready in a few days.

Privacy issue – resolved:
After repeated requests to Google to re-crawl our site, they have finally done so. As a result, people searching for their own email addresses on Google should not find them listed on an internal LabourStart campaign, as was the case for a few weeks.

From what I can tell, we are no longer able to mail to our group on LinkedIn, which is a pity.

Publicity on social media:
Publicised China Labor Watch statement on Ivanka Trump on Facebook and Twitter.
Promoted the ITUC statement on the new South Korean president.
Publicised our extensive coverage of the Histadrut election in Israel.


Weekly roundup: It’s campaign season as we roll out four campaigns in two weeks

We launched one completely new campaign this week (Somalia), went live with another (Madagascar) and continued work promoting and translating other recent campaigns.

Our asbestos campaign grew from 5,728 to 6,530 supporters this week, a gain of 802.

Our Kazakhstan campaign grew even faster than that, going from 4,469 to 6,256, a gain of 1,787 — that’s a growth of 40% in one week for this campaign, which is encouraging. We attempted to give that campaign a big boost in French by tweeting an appeal to all 4 left-wing candidates in the French election, but to no avail. Nevertheless, we should consider tweeting at prominent individuals on the left and in the labour movement in future to boost campaigns.

Early in the week we launched our Madagascar dockers campaign which grew very quickly to 5,348 supporters.

And today we launched our Somalia campaign in English and Arabic, with a commitment to do our first-ever campaign in Somali as well (17 million speakers worldwide).

We asked for permission to close down the DNO Yemen campaign after 3 months, but were asked to hold off for a bit. We have a number of older campaigns on hold in this way.

We continue to promote campaigns and appeals from other organisations. These included a BWI campaign to protest redundancies in Spain, protesting the closure of labour web portal sendika.org in Turkey (could eventually be a LabourStart campaign), and a possible campaign in Morocco — we are waiting for them to clear this with their global union.

Our mailing lists continue to grow; this week we added 268 new subscribers in 22 languages, which is 50% more than we added last week, with a relatively large contingent in Russian.

We’ve been alerted to a problem with our share on Twitter link, which works fine on the web and on Android devices, but not on iOS devices. We need to figure out why.

We did a considerable amount of work continuing to internationalise the site this week. I made a number of fixes to both our news and campaigns sites in Esperanto, and drafted a message to be sent to Esperantists and their organisations around the world. This mailing list, by no means our smallest, has our highest response rate for campaigns, and a much larger list means many more supporters for our campaigns.

Kirill pointed out problems with sharing a campaign by email in Russian and these have all now been fixed.

We did the third mailing so far this year to LabourStart’s more than 600 correspondents. This time we discussed May Day, the new external campaigns feature, and helping us to fill in a black hole when one of our most active correspondents goes on holiday next month.

And finally, another global union, UNI, has made a generous donation to LabourStart this week.


Weekly roundup: Asbestos campaign, Facebook UK, site redesign, and more

Campaigns: We launched three new ones – on asbestos (a global campaign), Madagascar, and Kazakhstan. Only the first has gone live with full publicity and translations as there are some issues still to be resolved with the latter two; we’ve gotten over 2,600 messages sent since yesterday evening in support of the asbestos ban. I closed a UK-only campaign launched on behalf of BFAWU (the bakers) — I’m pleased to report that we won this. The previous Kazakhstan campaign was also closed this week.

Mailing list: Without a new campaign, the list barely grows — we picked up just 78 new subscribers this week, most of them for the French list. Matt and Mark in Berlin have offered to join the team posting messages, so our German language mailings should go out quicker.

News: We added one new correspondent from Yemen and one from Brazil.

UK: We’ve set up a LabourStart UK Facebook page and will start promoting it next week; Warren is helping by posting news stories to it. After getting a few complaints about the mailing we did last week in support of Ruskin College, I received a clarification from the person who asked us to do it and shared that with everyone who wrote in.

Website redesign: I followed up with a London-based worker coop which has offered to help us with this; we’ll probably meet up in May to discuss next steps.

Outreach: I reached out to a major Irish trade and we had a phone call to discuss ways we can help them and work together. I also had a long conversation with a US based campaigning group and we’re looking for ways we can work together.

Social media: We used Facebook and Twitter this week to highlight a number of important issues including the ITUC’s condemnation of Assad’s chemical attack on his own people, a call for a global ban on modern slavery, and an expose of the use of North Korean slaves in Russia — all this in addition to ongoing Facebook posts and tweets which Derek has been coordinating.

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