The next generation LabourStart is nearly ready for launch

AndroidAppHomePageThe screenshot on the left — that’s the next generation of LabourStart. 

This is how our thousands of readers around the world are increasingly accessing the net — and developing a mobile presence for us is a top priority.

Our new app shows our top news, gives access to our campaigns, allows you to listen to the most recent RadioLabour broadcasts, shows which union jobs are on offer around the world, and even links to all 8 ILO core conventions.  And of course there’s a page telling you all about LabourStart, full of links.

There’s more to come, including versions in other languages, ways to access news from specific countries, and so on.

But this version is nearly ready to submit to the Google Play store and is now being looked out by a team of 10 volunteers who will no doubt find errors and make suggestions.

If you have an Android smartphone or tablet and want to help us test our new app, please email me.

Once again, the UN system fails on workers’ rights

moncefFor the second time in the last 13 months, we’ve been asked to launch a LabourStart campaign in defense of workers’ rights in a UN agency — this time at the World Intellectual , Property Organization (WIPO), where Moncef Kateb (pictured), the head of the staff union has been sacked because … he was a troublemaker.

Last time this happened, we helped persuade the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to change his mind and eventually agree to recognize and negotiate with his staff union.  (See the campaign – which attracted over 14,500 supporters – here.)

Please sign up to this campaign and help us spread the word.  Thanks.

LabourStart in Numbers – September 2014

All our major mailing lists shrunk in September.

Every time we promote a campaign that’s not on our site (e.g., the IndustriALL Thunderclap, or the IUF and HKCTU campaigns on Hong Kong) the net result will be a decline in subscribers.  Some of the addresses will bounce, others will unsubscribe.  The only time we pick up new subscribers is when we run a campaign of our own — and only when that campaign is compelling enough to attract new supporters.

Mailing lists where there was no change are ones where there were no mailings — these are lists that we are not using because our volunteer translators have become inactive.  This is a particular problem with Italian, Korean and Chinese, all of which are lists with more than 1,000 supporters.

Growing lists are shown in green; shrinking lists are in red. The previous month’s total is in brackets.

Mailing lists [with 200 or more subscribers]

English: 85,095 [85,611]
French: 8,152 [8,188]
German: 5,502 [5,529]
Spanish: 5,278 [5,279]
Italian: 4,124 [4,124]
Turkish: 3,380 [3,454]
Korean: 3,080 [3,080]
Norwegian: 2,807 [2,853]
Russian: 2,480 [2,505]
Dutch: 1,687 [1,691]
Chinese: 1,106 [1,106]
Polish: 752 [734]
Finnish: 686 [684]
Japanese: 483 [483]
Arabic: 463 [463]
Portuguese: 353 [353]
Indonesian: 344 [338]
Hebrew: 267 [265]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Farsi: 242 [242]

Social networks

Twitter followers

English: 13,125 [12,642]
Canada English: 3,511 [3,344]
Canada French: 571 [505]
USA: 405 [366]
French: 214 [212]
Indonesia: 99 [56]
Spanish: 74 [73]
German: 69 [61]
Japanese: 22 [23]
Russian: 18 [17]
Portuguese: 7 [7]


Like page (English): 8,891 [8,810]
Members of LabourStart group: 8,111 [7,917]
Like LabourStart page (French): 450 [439]
Like LabourStart page (German): 376 [363]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 141 [137]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 111 [111]


Members: 5,820 [5,811]


LabourStart group: 1,764 [1,714]


Union group on Flickr: 785 [781]


Correspondents: 746 [731]

Website traffic (Clicky)

Total visitors: 35,736 [36,270]

Where they come from:

USA 7,608 [8,197]
Canada 6,717 [5,712]
UK 4,526 [5,396]
Australia 2,134 [2,645]
Austria 1,484 [1,047]
Norway 1,391 [793]
Germany 932 [1,444]
Sweden 748 [–]
France 730 [741]
Belgium 619 [821]

Their operating systems:

Windows – 69.3 % [69.5%]
Mobile – 11.9% [12.2%] (iOS – 6.8% [7.1%] ; Android – 3.8% [3.8%])
Mac – 16.7% [16.2%]
Linux – 2.1% [2.1%] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 25,324 [28,820]

Where they come from:

Canada – 4,787 [3,713]
UK – 3,939 [5,347]
USA – 3,541 [3,908]
Germany – 1,298 [1,0259]
Australia – 1,276 [1,876]
Belgium – 1,275 [1,547]
France – 1,043 1,335 [1,081]
Norway – 913 [637]
Spain 569 [–]
Switzerland 537 [–]

Their operating systems:

Windows – 67.6 % [66.8%]
Mobile – 19.7% [20.4%] (iOS – 11.0% [11.6%] ; Android – 7.4% [7.6%])
Mac – 10.6% [10.8%]
Linux – 2.1% [2%]

Big victory following LabourStart campaign at NXP in the Philippines

A big victory followed an international campaign, including LabourStart’s ActNOW appeal.

Remember this campaign?  (“Philippines: Stop union-busting at NXP Semiconductors”).

It generated 8,500 messages of protest, 885 Facebook likes, 61 Tweets and appeared in 13 languages.

And this week we learned that we have won — a big victory for the workers.  

Full details are here.

The month in review: September 2014

Things picked up in September even though August was hardly a quiet month for us.

Office: LabourStart is now firmly planted in Muswell Hill as I learn to once again work from home (with some days working in the British Library).

Finances: Our finances have improved a bit this month. We have received a substantial contribution from Fafo in Norway, from the FDHT in Geneva and also many individual donations raised on behalf of Kevin Curran’s marathon run for LabourStart in October ($1,894 so far from 67 contributors). The promotion of Fastmail as a Gmail alternative on 19 September has generated very little income for us. Unison’s National Executive is due to consider a proposal to make a donation to us this month.

Campaigns: We launched five new campaigns in September:

  • Canada: Nova Scotia labor law
  • Turkey: Union busting at Deva Holdings
  • Colombia: Ruben Montoya
  • USA: IKEA – play fair with workers
  • Colombia: Luis Cardenas / Prosegur

We have been able to announce a victory at Autogrill (Germany) and will soon be able to announce another from the Philippines at NXP. We closed the Swaziland campaign after hearing that the Prime Minister has decided not to strangle trade union leaders. I also closed campaigns in Turkey and Korea after three months; the unions have not gotten back to us with updates.

In addition to promoting our own campaigns, we have helped the following organizations with promotions of their campaigns which we do not host: Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Trade Unions, IUF, IndustriALL (Thunderclap) and BWI. Most other campaigning organizations will generally not do dedicated mailings to promote other organizations’ campaigns, but we do this regularly.

All our campaigns are now also in Swedish, and this is what now shows on the Swedish home page.

Books: Book sales are just under 5,700, which is very good, and some Amazon payments have started to come in. I continue to work on our next book, which consists of speeches given at the Berlin conference. Derek has been working on a Canadian edition of our Global Labour Movement book. And we’ve reached agreement with Joe Atkins to publish his collection of essays from activists around the world on migrant labour in late 2015.

LabourStart Offline:

  • I spent a couple of days at the DGB training centre in Hattingen, Germany doing a course on online campaigning with the European Trade Union Institute.
  • Derek has done some courses with Unifor in Canada.
  • In November, Espen and I will be in Stockholm meeting with Swedish trade unionists to discuss cooperation (which has already begun).
  • In early November, I’ll be in Vienna attending an OSCE conference, which I will cover for Equal Times, and have already written to LabourStart subscribers there suggesting a meeting.
  • The FES Media project in Africa has shown interest in cooperating with us and I had a 30 minute phone call with their staffer in Windhoek, Namibia about this.
  • Pete Moss, one of our Australian correspondents, visited Indonesia and wrote up a report – see below.

Retreat: We have begun some internal discussions about possibly hosting a LabourStart retreat in Tunis in March 2015. More details coming soon. We are trying out a new online tool called Trello to coordinate this.

Ello: Finally, LabourStart is probably the first labour movement institution with a page on Ello, the new social network.

For details on most of these, see the posts from throughout September on Inside LabourStart.

Another campaign targetting union busting in Turkey

Petrol-Is: Host of the 2011 LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul.

We’ve been asked by IndustriALL to launch this new campaign targetting union-busting in Turkey.

The union being busted is Petrol-Is, the energy workers’ union which hosted the 2011 LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul.

Petrol-Is were very helpful and generous towards us when we needed them; now it’s time to show them how supportive we can be when they need help.

Book sales – approaching 6,000 …

I’ve just gone through the reports from CreateSpace and Amazon and am happy to report that in less than 22 months, LabourStart has distributed 5,651 books.

Of those, 2,442 were Kindle editions offered for free in August 2014 over the course of five days.

The rest — 3,209 — were sold.

Here is the breakdown by title:

Please spread the word in your union about our books — refer people to our Publications page:

2 new campaigns going live this week

We’ve been asked by IndustriALL to launch a campaign this week in support of a worker in Colombia who’s been treated exceptionally badly by his employer — to the point where he recently attempted suicide.  And the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the USA has asked us to launch a campaign to pressure IKEA to play fair with its workers.  These campaigns are being rolled out step-by-step over the next few days, as I’m travelling all week, not back at my desk until Friday.

Opportunity, challenges for Indonesia’s vibrant labour movement – by Peter Moss

Pete Moss is a LabourStart correspondent based in Australia. He’s just returned from a visit to Indonesia.

indonesiaA week in Jakarta meeting union leaders and activists during August taught me two things.

Firstly, this is a period of great opportunity for the Indonesian labour movement to build strongly on gains made in recent years.

Secondly, any international support will be warmly welcomed, including from LabourStart, which is well known and respected among Indonesian unionists.

Unions have won massive gains over the past few years, including a national social security system that will deliver pensions and healthcare for all. The three major union confederations also came together in 2012 for a mighty campaign that delivered a 44 percent increase in the minimum wage. This year Indonesia successfully concluded elections that position the archipelago as the leading democracy in South East Asia. Continued economic growth in this resource-rich diverse nation of 250 million will position Indonesia as a global powerhouse.

The underlying conditions are very positive but inequality is also increasing. Unions face many battles to ensure that workers and their communities are fairly rewarded.
One challenge springs from the scattered structure of the labour movement, which at last count included six registered confederations, 91 federations and 437 enterprise unions. This vibrant movement has emerged only since 1998, when protests brought down the New Order regime and ILO conventions were ratified.
This year the movement divided over the July presidential election. Unions actively intervene in politics, but there is no united strategy and no social democratic or labour party.

Labour Start has a positive profile and universal recognition among the union leaders and labour activists I met.  Particularly appreciated are Labour Start’s Indonesia campaigns, including two for the IndustriALL-affiliated pulp and paper union so far in 2014.

One construction union general secretary pointed to a poster on his office wall and said: ‘When our leader was jailed, Labour Start supported him.’

Several local unionists are active Labour Start supporters, including Indah Budiarto, Nelson Saragih and Khamid Istakhori.  Indonesian unionists are keen to further enhance links with the international movement. Union training was cited as one area where assistance could make a real difference.

Peter Moss

Victory at Autogrill following LabourStart and IUF campaigns

Remember the campaign we launched in May at the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in support of striking German workers at Autogrill?

5,930 people signed up to support, though it only appeared in English and German.

That campaign, called by the NGG union, has now resulted in a victory.  The IUF which supported our initial campaign and later ran its own version, is running this statement:

The German Food Workers Union (NGG) have announced a successful conclusion to their fight for a first-ever collective agreement at Autogrill Germany, where workers in Bavaria and Thuringia have been holding strikes since April. On September 9, Autogrill Germany announced it would be joining the national employer organization for the sector, which would bring Autogrill employees under the national collective agreement for the sector.  The NGG has warmly thanked the many thousands who supported the campaign.