Category: Internationalization

A quiet 10 days

As I was travelling for the last week, it’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks for LabourStart so far.

At the request of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), I’ve done a mailing today to our English list only promoting their Qatar campaign.

Our mailing lists continue to grow.  Today I added 928 new supporters — 729 of them to our English list, and 199 to the other lists.  Our Hungarian list grew by 50% thanks to our campaign.

We’ve had an offer to begin translating our campaigns and news page into Sinhalese (for Sri Lanka) and will be working on this.

We did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting various Canada-only campaigns.

Our campaigns server was done for a few hours, but our provider, a workers coop in Sheffield, was on the case quickly and got us up and running.

In the next few days I’ve got an extensive to-do list (including answering dozens of emails that came in while I was away), and will update you in a week or so with much more news.

The last 8 days: campaigns, survey, Berlin group, Swedish home page

Campaigns:

We’re closing the WizzAir campaign after 3 months and nearly 10,000 signatures. It was our first campaign ever with a Romanian version. According to the European Transport Workers Federation, “The workers have not been reinstated (yet), but the campaign helped a lot in terms of building confidence of the local union and getting public attention. There is a court case pending and we should have the final ruling somewhere in April/March – of course, we hope that it will be in our favour.”
Algeria – repression of unemployed activists. We’ve shared this with the IUF and are waiting for their decision; they may run a campaign themselves which of course we will support.
Turkey campaign – we’ve been approached about the possibility of another Turkey campaign, this one targetting a well-known consumer brand; more details when we have them.

Here are our current campaigns in order of popularity:

  • Turkey – Maltepe – 10,540 supporters
  • Rio Tinto – 8,997 supporters
  • Lafarge Holcim – 8,413 supporters
  • Peru – 5,962 supporters – campaign due to close next week

Survey of LabourStart correspondents:

Martina will be reviewing all the responses and writing up a report. We’ve received a small grant from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to do a study of our work, and this is part of it.

Berlin Group:

They now have a (blank) website and a joint email address, as they requested. They’ve drafted a founding statement which will go on to the site.

Swedish LabourStart:

I’ve improved the home page and we’re working on including an RSS and Twitter feed as well.

Three campaigns, three publications, two surveys, one conference – week 2 of 2015 on LabourStart

2015 has gotten off to a brisk start.  Here’s my report on week 2:

Campaigns:

  • We launched one in support of sacked hospital workers in Turkey — our first campaign of 2015.  It’s already had 9,348 supporters in the last seven days and is likely to pass 10,000 shortly, making it our largest currently active campaign.  The campaign appears in 18 languages, including Chinese for the first time in a very long time. PSI and EPSU added themselves as supporters after a few days. The campaign can be found here: http://www.labourstart.org/go/maltepe
  • Today we’re launching another campaign in cooperation with IndustriALL, BWI and EFBWW, demanding that the merger of Holcim and Lafarge take workers’ rights into account.  That campaign is here: http://www.labourstart.org/go/nomerger
  • I closed the WIPO campaign after 3 months and 6,254 messages sent, but have not yet heard back from the union; we don’t know what effect, if any, the campaign had.  It is unfortunate that sometimes our partners do this, and neglect to keep us and our supporters informed.

Surveys:

  • We’ve gotten some volunteers and some ideas for our (almost) annual survey of trade union use of the net.  More details next week.
  • I’ll soon be publishing a detailed report on the results of our survey of LabourStart correspondents.

Publications:

  • A number of people have volunteered to help with our Global Labour Calendar for 2016.  People have stepped up with ideas on how to print it, to help add labour history content to it, and to translate it — well done! More details coming soon.
  • We’ve now exchanged contracts with Prof. Joe Atkins for The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Labor Movement, a collection of essays which we will publish at the very end of this year.
  • I’ve resumed work on getting out Global Crisis, Global Solidarity — our book of conference papers, long overdue.

Retreat 2015:

  • We’ve had some discussions about this; more details next week when I know them.

Internationalization:

  • We now have a Swedish-language Twitter feed and Facebook page which we’ll publicize next week.
  • I had a full day with our senior correspondent in the Caribbean, Dave Smith, and we discussed a number of issues relating to LabourStart’s activities in that region.

Apps:

  • Dave pointed out a problem with the display of regional news on the Android app which I will fix.
  • I have had an ongoing discussion with Como support about how the RSS feeds are displayed on our app.  A similar discussion with Andromo support led them to make a change in how they handle RSS feeds which should take effect soon.  Como and Andromo are two online tools we use (and pay for) to build our apps.

Tunis, apps, publications, survey, Italy, course, Brazil, and more – another week on LabourStart

I’ve decided to post weekly reports on what’s going on at LabourStart — please feel free to share these with colleagues and friends.  2015 is going to be one our busiest years ever — and here’s the first week …

Retreat – Tunis: We’re moving on this; I’ve sent the necessary letters regarding hotels and meeting space to our friends in the UGTT in Tunisia.  More on this next week.

Apps:

We’re using two different app-building platforms each of which has drawbacks.  Como builds both for Android and iOS, but it handles RSS feeds badly (it takes two clicks, not one, to show a news story.)  I’ve written to them to get help on this.

Meanwhile, Andromo which is better (and has improved at my suggestion how they cache RSS feeds, because at the moment they show our closed campaigns) unfortunately only works in Android.  This is what is holding up the release of our iOS app (approved by the Apple store, but I’m not satisfied with how it works) and our apps in other languages.

Meanwhile, our Android app has been published in the Amazon store, so users of Amazon’s devices (Kindle, Firephone, etc) can use it; also, users of Blackberries can get their version of the app there.

Publications: We’ll probably begin work on the 2016 Global Labour Calendar this coming week.  Anyone who’s willing to help is invited to post comments below.  We’re also working on two books we’re committed to getting out this year — one on migrant workers, and one with papers and speeches from our Berlin conference last May (long delayed, I know).  (Thanks to Derek for helping on this.)

Survey of trade union use the net: I’ve suggested we consider doing this again; so far, three people have volunteered to help, so next week we’ll probably start work on this again.  (Thanks to Derek, David and Gerhard.)

Italian LabourStart: We now have a Twitter feed and and an email address, and a group of committed correspondents and translators.   The Italian mailing list is our fourth-largest with over 4,000 addresses, and we’re keen to grow it and to be more useful to the Italian unions.  (Thanks Silvana and Andrea.)

Guidelines for new correspondents: This has now been translated into Spanish.  (Thanks David).

Survey of LabourStart correspondents: I’ll make the results available in a few days, but one result is clear: most people do want a discussion forum.  I’ve looked into a couple of the better known options, but will be asking for volunteers to help with this project.  (Thanks to Gisela for doing the survey.)

Online campaigns course: I’ve begun planning for a meeting in Brussels later this month with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) which has agreed to hold a 3-day course in Germany for European trade unionists.

Brazil project: As you may know, we have received a grant to do some work building LabourStart in Brazil.  I’ve started writing to our contacts there.

LabourStart in Numbers: I’ve done the last monthly report; from now on, this will be done every quarter.

 

 

The month in review – December 2014

Next generation LabourStart

The number of users of our Android app in English, launched on 11 November, has grown to 587 (gained only 25 new users in December); the average reviewer gave it 4.88 stars. Our Android app in Esperanto, launched on 26 November, has been installed 17 times.

Our iOS app (for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) has just been approved by the Apple App store (we submitted it on 3 December at first) and will be launched in the next two days. This app was designed in Como, which we can use to create apps for both Android and iOS, and will do so.

We have received the translation for the Norwegian version of our apps and expect this go live shortly.

Tunis Retreat

We’ll have more to report on this throughout January.

A reminder was sent to all correspondents to respond to the pre-retreat survey; so far we’ve had 58 responses and will provide a full report soon.

Campaigns

We launched only two campaigns in December and closed one of them fairly quickly at the request of the union – these were the ones surrounding the jailing of Colombian union leader Huber Ballesteros, and the other concerned Luis Isarra in Peru. The Peru campaign has generated only 5,634 messages of protest so far, while the Colombia campaign generated 7,450.

We closed three campaigns in December — Deva in Turkey, USA IKEA and the Colombia industrial accident campaign, which resulted in a big win.

At the moment, we are running only four active campaigns — and three of those will close within the next four weeks.

A trade union leader in Bangladesh has offered to translate our campaigns into Bengali; I have sent him the framework file to translate.

We launched our first Romanian language campaign, and mailing list.

Online campaigning course

The European Trade Union Institute has approved our proposal for a 3-day course on the subject of online campaigning, to be held in Germany in June. More details soon.

Books

Our latest book, Dan Gallin’s Solidarity, is being translated into Russian by Masha.

I’ve signed a contract with Professor Joe Atkins for a LabourStart book due to appear at the end of 2015 about migrant workers. More details coming soon.

Finances

We received a generous donation from the Education International.

I wrote to all correspondents about the annual Svennsson prize which could be major boost to LabourStart if we ever win it.

Fairphone

We ran a mini-campaign to raise the issue of workers’ rights at Fairphone, which briefly got a lot of attention and a phone call from the company.

Tweaks

We learned (from Mahesh) that there was a problem with our code that allowed people to tweet any news story that appeared on LabourStart — if there was an apostrophe in the story title, it didn’t work. This has now been fixed.

I also fixed the drop down menu showing country names on the French language home page, and a couple of other small fixes to the page.

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.

Campaigns

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.

Internationalization

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.

Swedish LabourStart begins to take off

stockholmEspen Loken and Eric Lee spent two days in Stockholm this week as the guests of the the LO-TCO Secretariat of International Trade Union Development Co-operation to discuss the re-launch of LabourStart in Sweden.

Even though the Swedish labour movement is one of Europe’s most powerful (with well over three million members), LabourStart has never successfully been engaged there, and our mailing list is barely more than 200 (while in neighboring Norway, it’s nearly 3,000).  Early in the week we had 8 Swedish correspondents none of whom has been active recently.

The first day the Secretariat organized a two-hour workshop at the national headquarters of TCO, one of Sweden’s national trade union centers, which was attended by representatives of a number of unions including public sector workers and teachers.  As a result of that meeting, six new correspondents were signed up and the unions renewed their commitment to translating and promoting LabourStart campaigns.

The following day, Espen and Eric met with several staffers at LO (the other big trade union center) to discuss cooperation.  One idea which was floated (no commitments here yet) was to host the next (2016) LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Stockholm following the LO conference in May-June, which will also be attended by a number of international guests.  Yesterday afternoon, Eric had further meetings at the Secretariat and with staff at the food workers union.

As part of the process of reinvigorating our dormant Swedish site, we’ve had to make a number of tweaks and improvements to the site.  Meanwhile, our small Swedish mailing list has started to grow, picking up 10% more subscribers in just the last two months.

The month in review – October 2014

This report will be brief, but I hope I’ll be covering all the highlights of the month.

Next generation LabourStart: Our Android app is ready, and I’m making some final tweaks before submitting it to the Google Play store and elsewhere, and then publicizing it widely. I do think this is a huge step forward for us, we’ve gotten good feedback from those who’ve seen it, and mobile apps like this one are increasingly going to be our main platform.

2015 Retreat: We now have an organizing committee of 7 people, and have been putting together the basic elements. We’ll have a Skype conference call in November and will begin inviting people then.

Campaigns: We only launched two campaigns in October (as compared to 5 in September) — for the trade union at WIPO (5,813 supporters) and for workers at Zara in the USA (5,004 supporters). More campaigns are on the way, including another one from the ITF.  We gave a lot of help at the beginning of the month to IndustriALL, which was doing a Thunderclap on precarious work.

Fundraising: Some good news this month as the National Executive of Unison in the UK votes to give us £3,000 and the Norwegian union Industrie Energie votes to donate $5,000. In addition, Kevin Curran’s marathon run for us generated £1,202 (71 individual contributors).

Internationalization: We’re doing a lot of work to make sure the languages we campaign in and post news in stay alive, even when individuals who were doing the work drift away.  Big efforts were made to recruit new correspondents in Denmark and Finland this month with good results in the latter country.  Italian remains our biggest mailing list that is not getting regular mailings, so we appealed this week to our entire Italian list producing dozens of volunteer translators.

The week in review – 8-17 March 2014

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.

The weeks in review – 21 Feburary – 7 March 2014

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 [838], and Canada [508].  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.