Nov
21
2019
0

An overdue update – but lots to report!

This update is a couple of weeks overdue – sorry. But the good news is that … there’s lots of good news.  Let’s start with our campaigns.

Philippines campaign: We launched this last week at the request of the Education International. After 6 days online, it appears in 13 languages and has 4,773 supporters.

Kazakhstan campaign: After 20 days, this is live in 12 languages and has 4,871 supporters.

Cambodia campaign: We were asked to keep this live until the end of this year. The campaign appears in 18 languages and has 5,802 supporters.

Turkey campaign: After more than three months online, we closed the campaign in support of municipal workers in Alia?a. It had 6,833 supporters.

We also helped the IUF promote their new Coca-Cola and Cambodia campaigns.

Mailing lists: Following the sudden collapse on 31 October of the company which hosted our mailing lists (Sendy Hosting), we were able to migrate them all to our own server in the UK. We continue to use the same software (Sendy), but this was still a time-consuming process. We have begun fixing the sign up links so that everywhere points to the new, self-hosted version of Sendy which we are using. We picked up 186 new subscribers this month — people who supported our campaigns.

Global union federations: Eric travelled to Brussels to meet with the general secretary and staff at the Education International, and also had meetings with senior IUF staff in London and Geneva.

Other meetings: Eric also met with the chief executive of the Society of Authors in the UK to discuss possible campaigns, and with the Open Societies Foundations in London. We also have an ongoing conversation with the Wage Indicator Foundation in the Netherlands about possible cooperation.

Japan: With the move of one of our correspondents to Tokyo, we will be renewing our efforts in Japan, and the first step is likely going to be a translation of our ‘About LabourStart’ page to introduce our project.

Liberia: We had relatively long email conversation about building a website for the country’s unions.

USA: We had an email conversation with FLOC about helping them with their next campaigns. We also promoted widely news of the victory at Wendt — which had been the subject of a LabourStart campaign last year.  We heard back from Labor Notes and are pursuing possibilities relating to LabourStart panels or workshops at their conference in Chicago in April.

Next book: Following a meeting with Dan Gallin in Geneva, we agreed to move forward on a second collection of his essays about the international labour movement.

Donations: We received a generous donation from EPSU, the European region of PSI, and pledges from two more global union federations.

Oct
18
2019
0

Half-way into the competition, we have more than 30 new LabourStart logos

New logo competition: We have already received more than 30 entries for our first-ever international logo competition and with two weeks to go, we expect to get quite a few more. We continue to remind people regularly about the deadline – 31 October. Our message and the page explaining the competition is now out in 16 languages.

Campaigns: We’re still waiting on news about a possible Colombia campaign. We had a Korea campaign proposed to us, but it turned out to be not suitable for LabourStart.  We are currently running two campaigns, one of which is set to close shortly.

World Day for Decent Work: We did our bit to promote this ITUC and GUF-supported event, with top global news stories on our site and publicity across social media.

Svensson prize: Once again, we publicised the deadline for nominations to the annual Arthur Svennson prize for international trade union rights — to our English and Norwegian lists.

Education International: Eric Lee has been invited to come to Brussels next month to speak with EI staff about online campaigning.

Tech problems: Our campaigns website was briefly down earlier this week — causing problems for our home page to display — but it was swiftly put back online by our provider.

Activists’ Toolbox: We did the third one, this time promoting Simplenote and Joplin — great apps for creating, well, simple notes on one’s phone or computer. We continue to get a certain amount of interest in these apps, and in the most recent mailing we generated a page on Simplenote to demonstrate how it can create web pages – and showing all our Toolbox articles in one place.

Donations: Four global union federations have responded to our appeal with generous donations in the last week.  We hope that more will follow suit in the coming days.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Site redesign |
Oct
05
2019
0

The last 3 weeks at LabourStart: New logo competition launched

Campaigns: We offered to help out with a new campaign on Algeria, and are awaiting news on a possible campaign in Colombia. We promoted a campaign by the BC Federation of Labour (in Canada) to our mailing list. We discussed possible campaigns in Peru and Trinidad.

Logo competition: We launched our first-ever competition to create a new LabourStart logo – here.

Mailing lists: Our imports to lists are no longer failing and we recently succeeded in importing 160 new subscribers to the English list, as well as smaller numbers to the other lists. We also created two new mailing lists – in Belarusian and Azerbaijani.

World Day for Decent Work: After promoting this global action, we did a small, unscientific poll on our Facebook page to which just 27 people responded. We asked people if they knew about the World Day for Decent Work and found that 81% had never heard of it.

Global Climate Strike: We publicised the ITUC’s statement to our English mailing list, eliciting several hostile responses (though on the main our readers supported us).

Global Solidarity Conference: We followed up with contacts in Hungary and the USA about possible events in 2020, but have no response yet.

Sep
13
2019
1

We continue upgrading our lists and site – and search for a union-friendly web browser

The last four weeks have seen some of us on vacation for part of that time, but here’s a summary of what was happening on LabourStart since mid-August.

Campaigns: We closed three our our campaigns which had been active for three months or more – in Poland, Pakistan and the Philippines. A new campaign has been proposed by trade unionists in Jordan – details coming soon. We also had appeals from Chile and Trinidad which we are following through on. We suggested a Hong Kong campaign to one of the global union federations but haven’t yet heard back. We assisted the IUF by extensively publicising their Karachi campaign.

Mailing lists: Persistent issues with our hosting of Sendy have now largely been fixed. We also looked into an alternative way of doing this using our own server. We ran into some issues now that we use CloudFlare to protect our site — it was briefly not possible for us to mass mailings, but we eventually fixed this.

Site re-design: Now 21 of our languages are showing the home page in the new format; we will make an effort to complete this project in the next few weeks.

Looking for a union-friendly web browser: As part of our ‘Activists’ Toolboxes’ that we’ve included in recent mailings to our English list, we’re probably going to promote one or more alternative web browsers. We wrote to three likely candidates asking about unionisation in their companies, but only one wrote back and we’ve asked them to post their statement (which is not bad) on their website. Until they do so we won’t do anything further. We didn’t ask Google (who own the Chrome browser) for obvious reasons

In the previous Activists’ Toolboxes we promoted two to-do lists (Toodledo and todo.txt) and a webmail service (Fastmail). Over 300 people checked out the former and 290 the latter. Let’s hope in doing this, we are helping some trade union activists to work online more efficiently — though of course we’d love to see higher numbers than these.

Donations: We received several large donations from Canadian unions.

Aug
18
2019
0

August is never a quiet month for LabourStart

August may be quiet month for many of us in the northern hemisphere, but it’s also a chance for LabourStart to make some big changes to how we work and how our site looks.

Probably the best news of the month was the decision by the government of Kazkakhstan to release jailed trade union leader Erlan Baltaby. Our campaign played a major role in putting pressure on the government to do that. The campaign had 7,070 supporters and appeared in 18 languages. We followed up on this victory with a mailing to all our lists encouraging our supporters to sign up to the other ongoing campaigns.

Meanwhile, the campaign we launched on 25 July in support of municipal workers in Alia?a, Turkey, now has over 6,600 supporters and appears in 17 languages. One of those languages is Azeri, the first time we’ve campaigned in that language. Our Turkish comrades have prepared banners and signs with LabourStart’s logo which they have used in their protests.

We launched a long-awaited new home page design for LabourStart on 1 August, first in English, and as of today, 12 of our languages now use this. They are migrated over one by one, in order to take into account the different features which appear on each language’s home page (e.g., links to unions, the mailing list signup, and more). We will followup with redesigns of the country and state pages as well to conform to the new design.

One of our ongoing problems — for several years now — has been a lack of consistent translations of our campaigns into German. Not only is our German language mailing list one of our largest, but it is also one of our most active — we get a very high response rate from mailings to this list, when we do them. Early in August we did a mailing to everyone on that list discussing this problem and as a result, almost 70 volunteers came forward to translate our campaigns. All of our current campaigns now appear in German and we have translated nearly all the mailings as well.

We’ve begun letting our readers know about some of the tech we use at LabourStart, and began in July with the “Activists’ Toolbox” in one of our mailings, promoting the use of Fastmail, particularly for those who use web-based tools like Gmail which do not respect the privacy of users. Of the 11,768 people who opened the message, just 288 clicked on the link to learn more about Fastmail. If you any ideas about other software or services we might want to promote, let us know.

Those mailings are all done now using Sendy instead of MailChimp, with a considerable cost savings for LabourStart. We’ve been learning as we go along and did our first successful segmentation, allowing us to mail to Canadians, and also to people who didn’t open our previous message. We have, however, had some problems with adding new subscribers in bulk, and have raised this with the company which is hosting the lists for us.

We also resumed using Cloudflare ten days ago, which protects LabourStart against distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks — and much more. One of things it does is that all our pages are now secure, with the URLs beginning https. This means browsers will no longer warn visitors that our site is insecure. (We had resolved this years ago with the campaigns website, but not the news one.) There are still some teething pains: Sendy sends its messages through Amazon Web Services which, among other things, verifies us as the sender and this broke when we moved over to CloudFlare. We are in the process of resolving this now (it’s all about something called DKIM — look it up).

And while on the subject of tech, we managed to fix a few scripts including the one that shows our active campaigns, and the translations dashboard, to work correctly in Unicode. This means no more gibberish onscreen when using non-Latin alphabets.

Aug
12
2019
0

LabourStart in Numbers – 1 February – 31 July 2019

In this report, which covers the last six months or so, I’ve added a new feature at the very top — the numbers regarding our campaigns. These numbers, important though they are, do not reflect the success of those campaigns. Some of the smaller ones actually achieved good results, while larger ones had little impact in some cases. In any event, please note that we’ve not run a campaign for some time that got more than 10,000 supporters — and we should aim to achieve that again, and soon.

Our mailing lists continue to shrink thanks to GDPR, and of the large lists, only the Turkish one has experienced any growth.

On social media, we’ve seen very small growth in our presence on Facebook, but some very good growth in some of our Twitter feeds. This is particularly evident for our global Spanish and Portuguese feeds, and our Australia and Canada feeds.

The first number below is today’s count, the second is from six months ago.

ActNOW campaigns

Currently active global campaigns

Pakistan: Reinstate the Karachi Eight – 7,489
Philippines: Holcim workers demand justice – 6,507
Turkey: Reinstate municipal workers in Alia?a – 6,390
Poland: Hutchison Ports must reinstate union activist Marek Szymczak – 6,288
Cambodia: Solidarity with workers at the West Mebun temple – 5,573

Other campaigns closed in 2019

Canadian Postal Workers Forced Back to Work, Supporters Jailed – 8,875
Turkey: Release jailed construction workers – Ensure occupational safety at Istanbul Airport – 8,800
China: Release Jailed Labour Rights Activists Exercising Rights to Freedom of Association – 8,559
Kazakhstan: Stop repression and physical attacks on leaders of independent unions; hands off Larisa Kharkova, Erlan Baltabai and Dmitriy Senyavskiy – 8,508
Philippines: Teacher unionists under threat – 8,130
Guatemala: Union leaders imprisoned for having negotiated a collective agreement – 8,128
Thailand: Olympic 2020 partner Mitsubishi Electric humiliates workers – 7,798
Iran: Stop jailing teachers now – 7,671
Thailand: Union leaders sacked, fined for demanding rail safety – 7,494
Hungary: Stop the slave law – 7,288
Kazakhstan: Erlan Baltabay sentenced to 7 years in prison for union activity – 7,070
Jordan: New labour law must recognise workers’ rights – 5,472
Korea: Stop the Outsourcing of Danger – Justice for Kim Yong-gyun! – 3,983
Jordan: King must reject flawed labour law passed by Parliament – 3,539

Mailing lists

The top 10:

English: 76,387 – 79,891
French: 8,277 – 8,531
German: 5,940 – 6,065
Spanish: 5,164 – 5,228
Turkish: 4,266 – 4,243
Korean: 3,742 – 3,791
Italian: 3,563 – 3,663
Russian: 2,694 – 2,725
Norwegian: 2,481 – 2,553
Dutch: 1,597 – 1,638

The others:

Swedish: 1,080 – 1,098
Chinese: 1,026 – 1,037
Arabic: 954 – 957
Portuguese: 866 – 849
Polish: 680 – 713
Finnish: 532 – 538
Japanese: 421 – 446
Indonesian: 394 – 395
Ukrainian: 296 – 247
Hebrew: 251 – 257
Farsi: 218 – 218
Georgian: 217 – 217
Hungarian: 185 – 178
Tagalog: 175 – 203
Esperanto: 175 – 179
Thai: 154 – 64
Danish: 81 – 83
Czech: 71 – 71
Greek: 57 – 57
Romanian: 39 – 41
Hindi: 37 – 37
Vietnamese: 25 – 25
Bulgarian: 18 – 18
Slovakian: 15 – 15
Creole: 12- 12
Sinhalese: 1- 1

Social media

Facebook

Like LabourStart.org page (English): 12,986 – 12,835
Members of LabourStart group (Global Labour News and Information): 8,631 – 8,629
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 2,256 – 2,314
Like LabourStart UK page: 2,097 – 2,075
Like LabourStart page (French): 585 – 581
Like LabourStart page (German): 502 – 495
Friends of LabourStart Brasil: 481 – 468
LabourStart TV: 420 – 404
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 156 – 157
Members of LabourStart Vostok (Russian): 114 – 111

Twitter

English: 22,578 – 21,374
Canada English: 10,547- 9,578
USA: 4,822 – 3,584
Australia: 3,986 – 3,075
Spanish: 2,177 – 1,200
Canada French: 2,155 – 1,956
Portuguese: 1,397 – 321
Italian: 517 – 516 (last tweet June 2019)
Indonesia: 354 – 354 (last tweet 2015)
Swedish: 361 – 364 (last tweet 2016)
French: 230 – 235 (last tweet 2018)
German: 122 – 123 (last tweet 2018)
Russian: – 34
Japanese: 19 – 19 (last tweet 2012)
Dutch: – 12
Arabic: – 7

Linked In

LabourStart group: 2,130 – 2,119

Flickr

Union group on Flickr: 835 – 834

LabourStart’s news website

Correspondents: 930 – 905

Website traffic to the main news website

Visitors 371,877 – 391,616

Jul
29
2019
0

July is campaign season at LabourStart

We’ve launched three campaigns already in July and the month isn’t even over yet.

One, which we launched last week, is in support of Erlan Baltabay, a jailed trade union leader in Kazakhstan. That campaign has 5,665 supporters after just five days online and already appears in 15 languages.

The second one is supporting municipal workers in Izmir, Turkey (pictured). The local authorities dismissed trade union members without any legal basis. The workers have been picketing since the 20th of May. The number of dismissals reached 187 on July 24. This campaign will be going live today — and a LabourStart banner will be taken the picket line this week.

The Cambodia campaign (Cambodia: Solidarity with workers at the West Mebun temple) which we launched 26 days ago has 5,482 supporters and appears in 17 languages. It looks like we will soon be able to add Khmer to that list.

Our largest active campaign remains Pakistan: Reinstate the Karachi 8 (pictured above) with 7,478 supporters. This campaign appears in 16 languages and has been active for a little more than two months.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Jul
15
2019
2

New campaign, new mailing lists and a book promotion

Cambodia: Workers at the West Mebun temple.

New campaign – Cambodia. We launched a new campaign in support of workers restoring the West Mebun temple last week at the request of BWI and the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia. Today it has 4,213 supporters and appears in 16 languages (three of those will go live later today or tomorrow).

Sendy: Claims it will save us 99% of what we were spending on MailChimp.

Mailing lists: We have now completed the migration from MailChimp to Sendy, which will result in a very substantial cost saving. We’ve used the opportunity to create new sign-up pages on LabourStart for the mailing list in many languages, with more being added every day. Links to these new pages feature now on a number of our home pages. Though we still recruit most new subscribers from supporters of our campaigns, this will raise awareness of our mailing lists to a wider audience. We had a number of teething problems with our new host, but these now seem to have been overcome.

The result of our campaign: a 400% increase in the number of readers of this fantastic book.

Book promotion: We offered our book about migrant workers — The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Worker Movement — for free for five days on Kindle. Previously, over the course of two years, we had only managed to sell 162 copies of this book. But our free campaign this month resulted in 662 more downloads — as well as a few sales of the print edition. This was a massive increase in the number of people who are reading the book, which is great. As expected, a handful of our readers complained that we were using the Amazon Kindle platform, so we located a PDF version and shared this with them as a free download. We will do this for one of our other books in September.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Publications |
Jun
28
2019
1

New campaign, new country – same company, same union-busting

In the last three weeks we launched one new campaign, closed one, and did a lot of other stuff. Keep reading …

Poland campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of a union activist facing victimisation for his trade union activity. The campaign is currently in 14 languages (with more on the way), and has 6,159 supporters. It targets the same company (Hutchison) as another current LabourStart campaign in support of port workers in Karachi.

China campaign: We closed the campaign in all languages after three months online and are waiting to hear back from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions about the results. The total number of supporters of the campaign was 8,557 and it ran in 18 languages. It was our largest current campaign when we closed it.

ITUC Global Rights Index: Having discussed this with an ITUC staffer in Oslo, we proceeded to give the launch of this report extensive publicity this year, doing a special mailing to our list timed to coincide with the official release of the report, and promoting it widely across social media. A Turkish translation was done, and was sent out to our Turkish list as well.

Arthur Svensson Prize: Eric Lee was invited to represent LabourStart in Oslo for the award ceremony. His speech is available to read here. You can also view the whole panel including Eric in this video.

Correspondents: We recruited 30 new correspondents in the first half of 2019. They come from 20 countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Guyana, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Swaziland, the UK, and the USA. Most of them have not yet been active but we will be making a special effort to reach out to all of them.

New mailing list system: We’ve now migrated nearly all the mailing lists from MailChimp to Sendy, with a potential cost saving of over 90%. There have been some hiccups, but on the whole this works well. The biggest lists (especially English) will be the last to be migrated in the next few days.

Static pages: The static pages on the LabourStart website have been built over more than two decades, with many different designs. From this week, they are all getting a unified design using an ultra-light content management system called Pico, which they call “a stupidly simple, blazing fast, flat file CMS.” For an example of what these pages might look like, see here.

Donations: We received generous donations from unions in Canada, Norway and the UK this month, as well as many individual donations.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Jun
07
2019
0

Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines – we focus on Asia this month

Pictured: LabourStart editor Eric Lee with leaders of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress last week in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia: LabourStart editor Eric Lee spent several days in Malaysia, working together with the Ethical Trading Initiative on a new project they have started on migrant labour. We met with leaders of Malaysian unions, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, a number of pro-labour NGOs, a social democratic MP, activists from the Malaysian Socialist Party, and representatives of the global union federations BWI and IndustriALL in the country.

Pakistan campaign: At the request of the ITF, we launched a campaign in supported of 8 sacked dock workers in Karachi. After about a week online, it had just over 5,200 supporters and appeared in 13 languages.

Philippines campaign: At the request of BWI, we launched a campaign against the giant transnational company Holcim. After less than a week online, it had over 4,700 supporters and appeared in 14 languages.

Email service provider: Our current provider is MailChimp and it’s quite expensive. We are currently exploring alternatives, and have migrated some of our lists over to Sendy, a much less costly solution, using a hosting service in Belgium that specialises in this.

Telegram: Following the revelations about hacking that targetted WhatsApp — and specifically targetted activists — we set up a public LabourStart channel on the more secure Telegram platform, a closed private group for members of our Executive, and will soon announce a public discussion group using Telegram as well.

Arthur Svensson prize: LabourStart, which won this prestigious Norwegian trade union award in 2016, has been invited back to Oslo for a ceremony in June to honour the current recipient.

Written by ericlee in: Campaigns,Events,Mailing list,Publicity |

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