Category: Internationalization

Weekly roundup: Finally, a week without a new campaign

It was time, however, to close some campaigns. We closed the Hungary campaign, which had 7,298 supporters and which ran in 14 languages. The union wrote back to us saying “Many thanks – the thousands of signatures gave strong support to our colleagues!” We also closed the Nigeria dockers’ campaign, sponsored by the ITF. It had 7,680 supporters and it ran in 14 languages. We’re waiting to hear what effect, if any, the campaign had. We also asked for permission to close the DNO Yemen campaign, but were asked to keep it going a while longer.

Thanks to all the new campaigns we’ve launched recently, our mailing lists are growing much more quickly. This week we added 422 new subscribers; this number was just 268 last week and 183 two weeks ago.

We’re also looking for ways to encourage people to share our campaigns. Sharing our campaigns and news as Tweets on iOS devices (iPad and iPhone) has recently become problematic, though it works fine on Android and on the web. We’re working on a solution. Meanwhile, I’ve improved the “pass it on” feature which allows people to forward campaigns to their friends by email; it is now being tested in languages other than English, which I hope to roll out next week, one certain security issues have been resolved.

We continue to promote campaigns launched by others. This week, we helped publicize the IUF’s new Cambodia campaign on our news pages and social media. We also did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting a campaign on Bangladesh, organised by a Canadian union. We’re using our news pages as well to help promote union campaigns. Until this week, the ability to link to other websites’ campaigns was working in English and French; I’ve now extended this to all other languages. You can see a working example on the Spanish page (a link to the IUF’s Spanish campaign on Indonesia).

We’ve had a problem with Google indexing one of our petition pages, which is now password protected, but which allowed them for a time access to the email addresses of some of our supporters. We have tried repeatedly to get Google to re-index the site, which would clear this information from their servers, to no avail. I’ve asked friends in the online campaigning community for advice and have received some ideas.

We continue to focus on both internationalising and localising our news and campaigns. Our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, following a mass mailing to our UK list, jumped from 77 to 479 likes. And we now have a simple “photo of the day” feature working on our Brazil page (in Portuguese).

We’re very focussed on expanding our work in other languages, in particular those where we’ve already built a large mailing list. This week we made efforts in Turkish, German and Korean. I had a very productive meeting with two of our Turkish speaking comrades at the ITF, and we made plans to continue LabourStart’s expansion in the Turkish trade union movement, including a revival of our Facebook page in Turkish. Also, our German comrades have done an excellent job in clearing the backlog of untranslated campaigns and mailings. This is hugely important as not only is our German list a very large one, but we have an exceptionally high rate of response from it. And finally, one of our largest mailing lists is the Korean one, but we’ve not been receiving translations of our campaigns and mailings. I’ve written to all our current translators, and will follow up to a wider audience if this gets no results.

Last but not least, this week we were asked to submit formal requests to two unions in the UK and Norway who have offered donations.

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: Massive growth in the number of Asian languages for our campaigns

Asbestos campaign: This is now live in more languages than any other recent campaign we’ve done, thanks to APHEDA’s helping getting translations of the campaign and mailing in Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. We expect to add even more Asian languages as a result, including Urdu. Some of these lists are being mailed to for the first time in years. A number of global unions, including IndustriALL and the ITUC, have publicly called for a global asbestos ban this week. As of this morning, the campaign has 5,728 supporters and is running in 18 languages.

Kazakhstan campaign: This too went live in a big way this week. We have the full support of the ITUC and IndustriALL, and the IUF did a mailing to its Russian language list to promote the campaign. This morning the campaign had 4,469 supporters and appears in 6 languages so far with more translations on the way.

Madagascar campaign: This campaign is already running on the ITF site, but they have begun publicising the version on LabourStart. We’ll begin our publicity shortly.

Somalia campaign: The journalists’ union has asked for our help; expect a new campaign in the next few days.

UK: We went live with our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, publicising it on the social network itself for now; as of this morning it has 74 likes. One of the things we’ve been able to publicise there is a new podcast done by former LabourStart intern Edd Mustill. We’ll soon do a mailing to our UK list to promote this.

Mailing lists: I did two imports this week, adding people who support our campaigns, with a total of 304 new subscribers, mostly to the English list.

Publications: I’ve begun work to complete the new edition of Campaigning Online and Winning.

Publicity: We’ve begun work on a new flyer — it will be based on our 2014 flyer, with an updated text, to be distributed at union conferences this year. We’re looking into the possibility of creating versions in multiple languages.

Arthur Svensson prize: We’ve been invited to participate in this year’s ceremony in Oslo in June.

Fundraising: BWI has made a generous donation to LabourStart which arrived this week.

Translations backlog cleared – at last

LabourStart relies on a group of several dozen volunteer translators to ensure that our campaigns and mass mailings go out in a wide range of languages.  Many of those translators put the translated texts directly into our system, but some don’t or can’t, and send us emails with the content.

Sometimes, we (I) lag behind in getting those out — and in recent weeks, a real gap opened up.  We had a number of translations into German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak and Turkish that were long overdue for publication.  That backlog has now finally been cleared, I’m happy to say.

I’ll try to keep pace in future, and this will be helped when we hire some staff later this summer.  Until then, any of our translators who’d like to learn how to post content themselves without emailing their translations to me, are welcome to ask for training.  Thanks for understanding — and for your patience.

Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Malaysia, Norway, Burma and Transnistria – another week goes by at LabourStart

esmailCampaigns:

We launched a new campaign demanding the release of a jailed Iranian teacher trade union leader, Esmail Abdi, which instantly became one of our largest. The campaign has 6,700 supporters after less than two days online. Canadian teachers unions have launched a Thunderclap to help build support for this.  If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, please sign up to support this and spread the word about it.

We’ve also been asked to support a campaign in Turkey and Morocco this week as well. We’re waiting to hear from the IFJ and EFJ about a possible campaign in defense of a journalist in Transnistria who is a LabourStart correspondent.

I did a followup mailing on the Malaysia forestry workers campaign in English. That campaign is well over 8,000 messages sent, making it our second largest current campaign.  But I expect the Iran campaign to overtake it in a day or two.  Followup emails sent a week after we do the initial mailing are important, and I always do them in English.  If the translators for our other large lists (French, German, Spanish) want to do the same, it might help get several hundred additional supporters for our campaigns.

Mailing lists:

We picked up 974 new subscribers this week following the launch of our Iran campaign. We’re now have 132,173 subscribers to our various lists.

Social networks:

Our Facebook page now has 10,021 likes. I’ve stopped paying for advertising and growth from today will be organic. That ad campaign cost us $95.29 and generated 583 new page likes.

Apps:

Our Android app in Norwegian is now nearly done — just a couple more tweaks and it will go live on Google Play. We’ll begin work on other languages, using this as the template.

Books:

The ILO office in Burma needed a Word version of our global labour movement book; this has been found and sent to them.

Breakthrough in Europe, and more …

eescYesterday, thanks to the initiative of Silvana, I was invited to address the regular meeting of the Workers Group of the European Economic and Social Committee, a gathering of nearly 100 trade union leaders from all over Europe.  LabourStart was given 30 minutes on the agenda and we followed their adoption of a statement on Greece.  I spoke and showed a PowerPoint presentation (see it here as a PDF), and we distributed LabourStart flyers to all delegates.  There was a lively discussion, and some were quite familiar with our work and praised it.  Others were introduced to LabourStart for the first time and are keen to work with us, including the Lithuanian delegation.

Following the online campaigning course last week in Hattingen, Germany, we’ve heard from two participants — one from Malta who has begun translating our campaigns into Maltese, and one from the European Federation of Journalists who will be working with us on our next campaign.

Our Malaysia campaign continues to grow and is up to 6,459 supporters as of mid-day today.

Thanks to our ongoing ad campaign, we’re nearly up to 10,000 fans on Facebook — we have picked up 247 new fans in the last 8 days, and have just 110 to go.

We’ll be able to revive the Labour Video of the Year competition thanks to our ongoing partnership with the London Labour Film Festival, which takes place this year in September.  More details soon.

The ILO office in Burma has asked permission to translate our book on the Global Labour Movement into Burmese and publish it there.  We’ve agreed.

Finally, I visited this week with a London-based web design company which organized the recent Hack Day at Mozilla which had a trade union theme and at which we made a presentation.  They’re keep to help with with technological issues and have some very interesting ideas (and a wealth of experience).  We’re considering sharing office space with them, so this could be the beginning of a kind of partnership which could help us enormously.

 

The last 10 days: campaigns open and close, Euro-training, a unionized online book shop, and more

Training:
I’m currently in Hattingen, Germany, helping to teach an ETUI course to 22 European trade unionists on online campaigning.  Five of the 25 people in the room attended our conference in Berlin last year.

Campaigns:
We launched a new campaign today in support of forestry workers in Malaysia, at the request of BWI.
The China campaign is growing slowly; it was at 10,000 ten days ago and is today at just 10,184.
Unions in Turkey, Italy and Mauritius have asked for our support for campaigns as well.
The ITF’s Kenya campaign has now been closed; we have not heard back from them about the results.
The Portuguese interface for campaigns has been improved.
We’re live with one campaign in Sinhalese now.

Books & other publications:
I’m probably going to resume marketing books for trade unionists through Powells.com — we still have a partner deal with them and they’re still the unionized alternative to Amazon.

Social networks:
We have an inexpensive ad campaign going now on Facebook again as we race to reach 10,000 likes. We’re up to 9,643 likes today, up 244 this week.

China campaign has broken the 10,000 barrier and more news from the 2nd week in June

Campaigns:
The China campaign now tops 10,000 messages sent and is our largest active campaign.
A followup mailing was sent to the English list, and this generated 1,600 new supporters from the 5,500 people who opened this message (but didn’t open the first one we sent).  We should consider doing this for our other large language lists.
The Hindi version of this campaign went live this week.
I discussed the possibility of a LabourStart campaign in support of jailed journalists in Turkey with a former president of the National Union of Journalists (UK) — we’d want to do this as a campaign together with the European or International Federation of Journalists.

Internationalization:
We’re still working to get the Portuguese interface working properly for adding news — nearly there. We also now have a transation of the welcome message for new correspondents. Euan has made contact with all our translators and correspondents in Brazil.
We now seem to have a working interface in Sinhalese for our campaigns and have just received the first translation of a campaign — I hope to go live with this very soon.

Books & other publications:
Derek and I have begun looking into printers for the 2016 calendar. Once we know we can do this, and afford this, we’ll begin the work on a photo competition.
With the agreement of my co-author, Jeremy Green, we’ll make our book Firefox OS for Activists, free on the Kindle.  And maybe other books later as well.

Office:
I’m exploring the possibility of re-opening a LabourStart office in London; we’ve had an offer of (free) space. More details next week.

Mailing lists:
This week, I added 558 new subscribers to 16 mailing lists – 401 of them in English.

London Labour Film Festival:
Once again, we’ll be involved in supporting this and promoting it to our supporters in the UK. The festival will take place in the fall.

Donations:
We received a generous donation from the PSEU, a union in Ireland.
I’ve written individually to half a dozen unions in the USA that we have worked with asking for donations.

China campaign launched, and much more

Campaigns:

We launched the China campaign at the request of the HKCTU early last week. It’s now been translated into 16 languages and has nearly 8,500 supporters, making it our second most popular campaign at the moment.

With the agreement of the ITF, we closed the Jimena Lopez campaign today.

Brazil:

We’ve begun efforts to grow LabourStart in Brazil, and are being helped by Euan Gibb who works for one of the unions there. Euan’s translated our news interface into Portuguese, as well as our China campaign and mailing. We had a long and detailed discussion about next steps.

Other languages:

We’re having problems with the Sinhalese interface for campaigns but hope to have this sorted in the next few days. We’re gotten the German interface for adding news working properly again, having converted it to Unicode.

London Hackathon:

This is taking place on Friday; I’ve prepared a “shopping list” of tech things we need done but I haven’t had the time or skill to do.

Fundraising:

I’ve sent appeals to a number of US unions we have worked with in the recent past. Two Canadian unions made donations.

Palestine:

At the request of the editor, I submitted an article to International Union Rights on the investigation conducted by the Israeli Police into the campaign we did in support of Palestinian garage workers. I conducted an email interview with Assaf Adiv of WAC Maan to do this.

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.