2016 conference, new China campaign, and much more – a busy week

Global Solidarity Conference 2016:

We have a date and a venue, which I hope to announce in the next day or two.


The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions has given us a campaign which will go live in the next day or two.
We’ve been in touch with a group that works to support Iranian political prisoners.
I did a followup mailing to build support for our current Iran campaign after it turned out that two of the prisoners have been released on bail.
Our campaigns interface has now been translated into Sinhala, a language spoken by about 16 million people.
We helped BWI with their FIFA/Qatar Thunderclap, boosting it substantially.
The link to show more campaigns on the Swedish campaign page was broken; I have now fixed it.
Our Berlin group now has access to add campaigns directly to our database.


I have begun fixing the redirect when you key in the URLs for languages like this: — they now go to the ‘news’ directory rather than the ‘2013’ directory, part of a long-term project to migrate everything over.
Small changes made to the Norwegian home page, at Espen’s request.
We’ve had a problem with the German interface to add news; I’ll be helping Gisela to sort this out.
We have a new search engine which I’ll deploy next week; it was set up in response to a request from a Canadian academic doing research on lockouts and works better than our current one.

London Hackathon:

On 12 June we’ve been invited to participate in this event, mentioned earlier (see my post from 14 May). I’ve done a short ‘shopping list’ of some of the many tech things we need help on. If any of you have any suggestions or things to add to that list, please let me know.

Books & Publications:

I’ll resume work on the 2016 Global Labour Calendar next week after a few months of inactivity.
20 copies of Dan Gallin’s Solidarity have been ordered for sale at Northern College in the UK this summer.
I’ll prepare a detailed report on sales in recent months in an upcoming report.


We’ve had another donation from a Norwegian union, and PSI has pledged £3,090.
I’ve begun contacting US unions one by one to get their support for the next year.
Our donations page is now translated in Spanish, and we did a mailing to our Spanish list (but with very poor results).


The British TUC has asked us to look into making our newswires secure (using SSL) so we’ve ordered this from our ISP. This will allow the newswire to appear again on some popular TUC sites, such as

Mailing lists:

We picked up 123 new subscribers this week, and 928 last week.


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.


Another week supporting workers in Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, etc.


  • We’ve done most of the mass mailings for the two campaigns launched last week, and gotten them translated into 11 languages, and the results so far are 5,079 supporters for the Iran campaign and 5,037 for the Hungary campaign. A reminder mailing to more than 70,000 on the English list went out yesterday.
  • After 4 months online, we closed the Holcim Lafarge campaign, which had 8,580 supporters — IndustriALL says: “Clearly the campaign made its impact and was noted by the management of Lafarge and Holcim. Thanks to workers’ mobilisations both on site and through LabourStart we hope there will be more readiness on the side of the management to our demands now.”
  • A possible Indonesia campaign was to go live today, but is on hold for now.
  • I’ve posted information on both about our existing Iran campaign and offering help — so far, no takers.

Online campaigning course: Just 4 days left to register — for European trade unionists only:

Activating correspondents: The number of active correspondents increase by 63% following my mailing to all correspondents. In addition, we’ve picked up a few new correspondents.

Facebook Group: Our group continues to expand with many new participants (8,436 members today) and quite a high level of activity. There’s been a problem of spammers, but our team of volunteer admins is on the case.

London Hackathon: There’s an event taking place on 12 June at the Mozilla Foundation offices in London at which people with programming skills will work on pro-labour tools — and we’ll be there and are part of the planning.  I met with the organizer this week.  On the event website they write: “The aim is to provide a forum where people can meet, share ideas and start building some apps that will help workers to organise.”  This could result in getting some things done for LabourStart which have long been on our collective to-do list.

Followup on the police complaint in Israel regarding the LabourStart campaign: We’ve been asked by International Union Rights to do an article on this for next month.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Social networks |

What a week! Police investigate, a correspondent is arrested, new campaigns and solidarity cookies


New campaigns launched:  We’re launching two new campaigns today — one in defense of jailed trade union activists in Iran, the other in support of workers in Hungary dealing with a union-busting Austrian multinational.

Online campaigning course: There are just 11 days left to register for the ETUI / LabourStart course on online campaigning – for European trade unionists only.  Details are here.

LabourStart campaign subject of police investigation: Asaf Adiv of the Workers Advice Center in Israel reports that a police complaint was filed regarding our campaign in support of Palestinian workers at the Zarfaty garage.  Asaf writes:

The Israeli Police are finding it difficult to deal with Ethiopian immigrants who demonstrate in Tel Aviv against their discrimination, but yesterday they found the time to interrogate me on charges that I was responsible for the LabourStart email campaign last summer to support the struggle of Palestinian workers in the Zarfaty Garage. The complaint of the Garage owner to the police against me as the leader of WAC MAAN union that organizes the workers, came after their previous complaint against the chair of the workers committee in the Garage Hatem Abuzeadeh was canceled and proved to be fake. On May 12 WAC MAAN and Hatem’s lawyers will be in court to fight to reinstate the leader of the workers to his job in the last 17 years.

LabourStart correspondent arrested: One of our correspondents, Sergei Ilcenko, has apparently been arrested by the KGB (yes, the KGB) of Transnistria, back in March.  We’re trying to get more information about this and there may be a need for a campaign.

Survey of correspondents: At the beginning of the year we did a survey of LabourStart correspondents (most of the work done, I think, by Gisela).  Martina has now done a full report of what we learned, available to download in English or German.

Correspondents: I did a mailing yesterday to all our correspondents to encourage them to get active.  As a result, we had a 25% increase in the number of correspondents active in May, and several wrote to me asking for their passwords, or promising to get more active.

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: We missed the one in 2014, but are ready to go with a new version, probably later this week.

Fundraising: We raised a few hundred dollars more this week, and two global union federations promised to repeat their donations from 2014, which could amount to another £5,000.


May Day in Berlin: Here’s a report from Martina — this should help explain the cookies, above:

“How many people worldwide are in LabourStart’s mailing list?” That was one of the questions from our wheel of fortune at our LabourStart stall in Berlin. The right answer: about 130,000. The share of Germans is 5,000. One more reason to become active in Germany and promote LabourStarts unique digital platform for the international trade union movement and workers’ solidarity.

We had a busy and nice day at our stall. We’ve talked to a lot of people about LabourStart, offered our nice self-made cookies. The wheel of fortune was always running and gave us a good opportunity to explain what LabourStart is about and that online campaigns make a difference in organising union power internationally. Those we could convince to join LabourStart mailing list were able to register online at our stall.

Reiner Hoffmann (DGB General Secretary) visited our LabourStart stall, too. There he met and had a chat with volunteers from LabourStart Network Berlin and some students of the Global Labour University.

Thanks to Heiko (DGB Berlin) for his amazing support. Thanks to the bakers. Thanks to all visitors at the stall.


May Day 2015: Focus on fundraising for LabourStart

First of all, happy May Day to all of you.

Second, here’s a report on the last 10 days activity on LabourStart:

Much of our work in the last week has focussed on fundraising. Our mailing went out in English (twice) and Czech, Danish, Esperanto, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish. Thanks so much to all our volunteer translators, and to several of you for helping me to draft the text of the appeal.

The total amount raised in the first week is £2,602 (PayPal); £25 (cheque); and £5 (bank transfer) – for a total of £2,632.

We’ve had no new campaigns recently, though we’ve been approached now by unions in Hungary to launch one, and in China – to support an existing one. We’ve finally closed down the Turkish hospital campaign, which had been reopened at the request of our German comrades.

Other than that, much of the time has been spent working on our upcoming retreat, on a research project that some of you will be involved in, and a possible joint project with the New Unionism Network. More on all that soon.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising |

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