The last 16 days at LabourStart


We closed our Hungarian campaign after three months. We also closed our Iran May Day campaign, noting that all the jailed trade unionists we mentioned have now been released.

We publicized on social media a USW campaign supporting striking steelworkers, an IndustriALL campaign and an ITF campaign supporting workers at the port of Beirut.

We answered a request for help from a farm workers union in Honduras; we may launch a campaign on this.

We proposed launching a campaign in support of striking workers in the National Gallery in London to their union and PSI.

We publicized Unite the Union’s campaign targetting Pizza Express (UK) with a dedicated mailing to our UK list, and publicity on our news pages and on social media – on our initiative.

We did a dedicated mailing to our Australian list to support the AMWU’s Asbestos campaign – at their request.

I will be attending the FES conference on global labour campaigning in October in Berlin.

I began work on the code for our campaign page to compel users to enter a country and email address (for some reason this no longer works and some have made submissions with this field blank).

Mailing list:

We added 89 new subscribers so far this month.

Our Swedish list is now considerably larger as we’ve migrated hundreds of Swedes who were on our English list – back in the days when we didn’t regularly campaign in Swedish. It has grown from 387 in early July to 1,245 today. (The Norwegian list remains considerably larger at 2,763.)


We’re attempting to revive the Turkish home page; got one existing correspondent to commit to working on this.

We made a special effort to give comprehensive coverage of the London Underground strikes earlier this month, and promoted that coverage on social media.


We’re slowly reviving our partnership with unionized bookshop See our home page in English – with more to come.


We removed an old link (very prominent) from the top of our Working Women’s News page.

We contacted UNI about an application for membership from a Palestinian postal workers union.

A quiet start to August

Our Turkey campaign (SF Leather/Mulberry) with well over 9,000 messages sent, is now our third largest current campaign, having displaced the Malaysia forestry workers’ campaign.  We’ve finally seen an increase in the number of supporters from Turkey itself, with 299 supporting the Turkish-language version of the campaign and another 120 people from Turkey supporting the English version.

In the next five days I expect to close two campaigns launched in early May — in support of workers in Hungary and Iran.  Both campaigns attracted fewer than 7,000 supporters each, while all the campaigns since then have been considerably larger.  Our current Iran campaign, for example, is 78% larger than the one we launched in May.

As a result of these campaigns, our mailing lists continue to grow. I just added 195 new supporters to our lists, with 144 of them going to the English list.

We publicized the IUF’s latest campaign (hotel workers in Myanmar) both through our Facebook page and group, and in a mass mailing.  Following our mailing, the number of supporters for that campaign has nearly doubled.

There had been a problem when we posted a link to one of our country news pages (e.g., Canada) on Facebook.  We had no control over the image that was shown, nor was the text particularly suitable.  These have now been fixed.

We’ve been approached by the Palestinian postal workers union who are asking for our help in getting connected internationally.  I’ve passed this on to UNI and we’ll explore helping them make links directly with postal workers unions in different countries.

Thunderclaps, social networks and how to grow a campaign

The last seven days at LabourStart …


SF Leather/Mulberry: I sent out a followup mailing to the 70,000+ people on the English list who didn’t open last week’s message. This added a considerable number of new supporters. The campaign is now up to 8,432 supporters. Due to the very low response to our first appeal in Turkish, we drafted an entirely new appeal and sent that out as well. Still, response rates in Turkey remain low, with just 131 supporters for the Turkish language version of the campaign (plus another 90 supporters of the English campaign from Turkey).  I have consulted our Turkish comrades and we are discussing why this is happening and what we can do about it.

Esmail Abdi: This remains our largest current campaign, with 12,252 messages sent so far. The Canadian teachers-initiated Thunderclap was successful in the sense that it reached over 330,000 people, but it generated very few new supporters for the campaign. This confirms previous experience with using Facebook and Twitter to promote campaigns — their impact is much less than you might think, and email remains a far more powerful tool. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use social networks — of course we should; in fact, we’re posting more content than ever before to Facebook, reaching a larger audience.

IUF SABMiller campaign: Following the company’s attempt to block messages, we did a mailing to encourage support this IUF campaign.

Translations: I’ve improved an online form I created some time ago which will make it easier and quicker to deal with submitted translations of campaigns (where the translators are unable to upload the campaigns themselves). We’ll start using this from the next campaign we get.

Mailing lists:

We continue to pick up many new subscribers due to the campaigns. A couple of days ago, I added 256 new subscribers — including 44 new ones for our Turkish language list.
We now have a Sinhalese list, but only one name on it for the moment.


Our Norwegian language app for Android is now available in the Google Play store.


We’ve had 3 large donations from Canadian unions in recent days.

Two new campaigns launched; others may follow soon

2798We launched a new campaign in support of workers at SF Leather in Turkey, suppliers to the luxury British handbag company Mulberry, who are fighting for the right to join a union. Within 24 hours, the campaign was in six languages and had over 5,000 supporters.

We also launched a new Canada-only campaign in support of striking municipal workers in Hay River, Northwest Territories.  They’ve been on strike for more than five months and need all the help they can get.  If you’re reading this, feel free to sign up to support them — even if you don’t live in Canada.

Our campaign in support of jailed Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi is our largest current campaign, with just under 12,000 supporters.  I had a meeting with an Iranian human rights activist and we discussing deepening our cooperation. LabourStart is apparently quite well-regarded in these circles and there is much we can do.

It turns out there will be no need for us to a campaign in support the jailed LabourStart correspondent in Transnistria; according to reports we’ve received, he has now been released.

There remains the possibility of a campaign in Germany; a member of our Berlin group is looking into this.

Our mailing lists grew today as we added 246 new supporters, mostly for the English list.


Our newest campaign is our largest – and our lists are growing as a result

The campaign to free Esmail Abdi, the jailed Iran teacher trade unionist, is now the largest current LabourStart campaign, with 11,401 messages sent in the last 12 days.  (The runner-up is the China campaign, live since 1 June, but with only 10,293 messages sent.)  There’s been considerable interest shown by some teachers’ unions, especially in Canada, and we’ve made a determined effort including followup emails to our lists.

One of the more unusual tactics this time has been to write to people on the English list who come from non-English-speaking countries and to send them the mailing in their own country’s language, to see if they’ll respond to that and therefore strengthen those lists.

The Abdi campaign message was therefore sent out to people on the English list who may want to be on the Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Czech, Turkish, Swedish and Dutch lists.  There were over 5,000 of these.  The number of Swedes on the English list exceeded the number of people on the Swedish list, and there were over 1,000 people each from Spanish-speaking countries, Norway and Turkey on the English list, all of whom got mailings in Spanish, Norwegian and Turkish.

In addition, our tiny Hindi list (just 31 names) is being strengthened by a mailing to the more than 840 people from India on our English mailing list.

The overall result of these efforts, including the rapid growth of the Abdi campaign, is that we picked up a net gain of 1,449 people to our lists — the vast majority of them in English.

Written by Comments Off on Our newest campaign is our largest – and our lists are growing as a result Posted in Campaigns, Mailing list

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


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.


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.


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

LabourStart in Numbers – Q2 2015

Some highlights of this, our second quarterly report for 2015:

Mailing lists

Mailing lists have largely stagnated or shrunk in the last 3 months, though we’ve seen some modest growth for English, Swedish, French, Portuguese and Hebrew.

English: 86,373 – 86,077
French: 8,276 – 8,238
German: 5,700 – 5,708
Spanish: 5,431 – 5,446
Italian: 4,039 – 4,059
Turkish: 3,650 – 3,684
Korean: 3,080 – 3,080
Norwegian: 2,790 – 2,803
Russian: 2,408 – 2,418
Dutch: 1,743 – 1,762

Chinese: 1,103 – 1,107
Polish: 752 – 752
Finnish: 687 – 687
Japanese: 483 – 483
Arabic: 463 – 463
Swedish: 387 – 345
Portuguese: 355 – 353
Indonesian: 346 – 346
Hebrew: 278 – 277
Tagalog: 254 – 254
Farsi: 242 – 242

Other ways to count …

Social networks

Twitter followers

Unlike our mailing lists, we’re seeing continuous growth for our bigger Twitter accounts. In the last quarter, we picked up 532 new followers in English, for example, as compared to just 296 new subscribers to our mailing list.

English: 14,676 – 14,134
Canada English: 4,422 – 4,073
Canada French: 728 – 666
USA: 521 – 492
Indonesia: 292 – 230
Italian: 290 – 255
French: 224 – 221
Spanish: 76 – 75
German: 76 – 73
Japanese: 21 – 21
Russian: 19 – 19
Portuguese: 7 – 7


Helped by an ad campaign, our biggest growth this quarter was on Facebook, where our English language page picked up 740 new likes, far more than Twitter or the mailing list.

Like page (English): 9,893 – 9,153
Members of LabourStart group: 8,500 – 8,338
Like LabourStart page (French): 478 – 463
Like LabourStart page (German): 428 – 407
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 161 – 149
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 143 – 135


Members: 5,879 – 5,862


LabourStart group: 1,944 – 1,892


Union group on Flickr: 790 – 787


Correspondents: 784 – 773 (news)

Unique users – 24,170 – 35,252

Top countries (by sessions):

This has proven to be remarkably consistent from quarter to quarter, except for Australia’s fall to 4th place.

USA 28% – 25%
Canada 14% – 14%
UK 8% – 7%
Australia 8% – 16%
India 5% – 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 44,076 – 54,062
USA – English 13,854 – 15,024
Canada – English 6,791 – 8,049
Australia – English 2,673
UK – English 2,644 (campaigns)

Unique users – 30,849 – 41,682

Top countries (by sessions):

The very significant growth of Canadian traffic to our campaigns may be explained this quarter by a couple of Canada-only campaigns. One of these was even the third most popular page on our campaigns site.

Canada 23% – 12%
USA 15% – 17%
UK 12% – 14%
Germany 7% – 7%
Australia 4% – 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

China: Stop police violence against workers fighting for their rights – 12,804
Malaysia: Stop union busting in SFI – 5,419
Tell Premier Wynne and Minister Flynn of Ontario to Stand on the Side of Canada’s Workers! – 5,278
Iran: New wave of arrests of labour activists prior to May Day – 4,525
Hungary: Hödlmayr does not respect trade union rights – 4,524

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

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.

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 — 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

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.

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.

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.

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.