Mar
16
2020
2

COVID-19

COVID-19: We went live with our new news page, which now works in a number of languages and is filled with content updated throughout the day. Extensive publicity was done on social media and graphic links were added to a number of our home pages. A mailing was sent to all correspondents to explain how to tag stories. We received quite a few positive messages back from trade unionists in different countries and even a senior figure in the ILO retweeted our announcement about this initiative. Mailings have gone out to promote the page in a number of languages.

New correspondents: In response to two recent appeals, we’ve had a large number of new correspondent applications — more than ever before. I’m slowly processing these and in the last few days have added new correspondents from Mauritius and the USA. Many more will be added in the next few days.

Mailing lists: We added 174 new supporters to our lists based on recent campaigns. We also did the regular monthly promotion across social media.

Poland: We are likely to close our Poland campaign very soon — UNI reports some real progress on this, in part thanks to our effort. The campaign has also led to significant growth for our Polish mailing list.

Turkey: We have been asked to support striking leather workers; it turns out that we already did a campaign on this, so we have turned to one of the global union federations who are looking into this for us.

UK: Unfortunately due to the coronavirus, we will not be participating in the annual conference of the teachers union NASUWT.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Mailing list |
Feb
14
2020
1

Victory in Germany – and other news from the last week

Germany: The workers at Ameos win a big victory and their union, Ver.di, thanked LabourStart for our short campaign in 13 languages, which had 7,968 supporters.  (It was our biggest active campaign.)  The company complained about the large number of protest emails they were receiving. The campaign has been closed down.

Ghana: We have a new intern, Benedicta, for the next few weeks, thanks to the Global Labour University. She will help particularly with growing LabourStart’s presence in Ghana.

Ukraine: We’re expecting to launch a new campaign shortly.

USA: We’re ordered an advertisement in the conference program for Labor Notes.

Campaigns: Our campaigns website was briefly down last weekend due to a power failure in Sheffield; this was quickly resolved.

Mailing lists: We imported 360 new subscribers (supporters of recent campaigns) to 10 lists, with the largest groups going to the German (175) and English (141) lists.

Partners: We had a meeting with the new head of communications at the International Transport Workers Federation in London. Following up with our meeting with the NASUWT, a British teachers’ union, the union has scheduled an interview with Eric Lee for next week, for the union’s international solidarity magazine.

Website redesign: We’re resumed this project, and have released the new version of the Portuguese site and are finishing up the Norwegian one. We’re also making progress on the redesign of the country news pages.

Dec
26
2019
2

Three new campaigns launched in December

Campaigns: We launched three new campaigns in December:

In support of dockworkers in Indonesia, at the request of the ITF. That campaign has 4,405 supporters and appears in 9 languages, with more on the way.
In support of Albanian mine workers at the request of a new and independent union there. That campaign has 5,951 supporters and appears in 13 languages, with more on the way.
In support of Polish retail workers, at the request of UNI. That campaign has 6,944 supporters and appears in 15 languages.

We closed our South Korea campaign after the workers won a clear victory. That was a short campaign and there were 5,377 supporters and the campaign appeared in 12 languages.
We asked if there was a need for a campaign in support a jailed trade union leader in Algeria and were told no. We also asked if LabourStart should be promoting an existing campaign regarding El Salvador but have received no reply.
On 10 December, Human Rights Day, we did a special website (and yes, I did notice that the year is wrong) and mailing (in English only), sharing this widely on our own site and across social media, to promote our existing campaigns.
We had a large number of bouncing target email addresses which were forwarded to us by our web hosts (and in some cases, via Gmail); we have now deleted these from campaigns. These are mostly companies trying to block our messages. We get around this using our petition format.

Correspondents: We amended the message new correspondents receive so that they are now encouraged to have a phone conversation with us early on. This is one of a number of steps we are taking to ensure that correspondents remain active.
We also fixed the ‘show news by correspondent’ script which was not correctly rendering non-Latin characters, as was pointed out by a new Iranian correspondent.
We added new correspondents in Australia and Iran.

Donations: We received a very generous donation from the IUF.

Labour History database: We fixed a problem that had previously blocked users from deleting duplicate entries.

Mailing lists: Today, we added 454 new subscribers from our campaign supporters on 26.12; the largest groups were English (301) and Polish (78). On 16.12, we imported 208 new subscribers, 148 of those for the English list. On 11.12, we imported 665 new subscribers; 266 of these were Korean, 219 English and 112 Polish. That’s a total of 1,327 new subscribers added in the last 15 days.

Media: We have begun work on a media list, with individuals tagged by country and language. Next year we will begin using this list to amplify our campaigns to read a wider audience.

News: We fixed the left column in the new version of the website to show country names in the correct language, where available. (This was already working on the top of the page, and on the bottom.) This may not work for all languages just yet. We also fixed the links on the top of the page and in the left column to go to the country page rather than the old ‘show_news’ page.

Translators: We sent an end-of-year thank you message to all 71 volunteer translators, who’ve translated some 20 campaigns for us throughout 2019.

Dec
03
2019
--

New campaigns in Korea, Poland

I’m trying to keep up with weekly updates, so here’s what’s been happening over the last 6 days …

Korean campaign:
This campaign was launched four days ago and already has 3,950 supporters and it appears in 11 languages. The Korean language version has done very well thanks to the union there promoting it — it now has 568 supporters, or 14% of the total.

Poland campaign:
This was just received today from UNI Global Union and will go live later today or tomorrow morning.

Philippines campaign:
This is currently our largest campaign (by far) with 6,900 supporters, appearing in 16 languages. That’s a gain of over 200 new supporters in the last 6 days.

Global unions:
We had a long phone call with the incoming ITF director of communications and discussed how we will work together in future.
Following up on Eric’s visit to Brussels, the Education International made a generous donation.

Mailing lists:
We’ve asked for help, as we need something set up to allow scheduled mailings. Otherwise, everything is working very well with Sendy after a month on our new server.

Correspondents:
We sent out an appeal to our Australian list for volunteers; so far, three people have stepped forward.

Software:
We had a glitch on our show-campaigns-as-petition script, but this has now been fixed. This is a useful tool when we are blocked by a target employer or government, and need to present the signatures as a petition which can be printed out.

Nov
27
2019
0

6 days of activity

I didn’t want to be late again, so here’s a report on the last 6 days of activity at LabourStart.

Campaigns:

Philippines – This is now our largest current campaign, with 6,695 supporters. The campaign appears in 16 languages. The EI is doing good work promoting it through local affiliates.  Unusually, we did a followup mailing after one week to the entire English list, including to those who supported the campaign. As a result of these efforts, we picked up over 1,300 new supporters in just a few days. We also got the campaign and mailing translated into German by the Education International, and the mailing also went out to our small Czech and Slovak lists.

Kazakhstan – The Slovak mailing was sent out.

Korea – The ITF is proposing a new campaign to us; more details in a few days.

Poland – UNI has asked about a new campaign here; we are waiting for more details from them.

Hong Kong – There was a proposal for a campaign, but it is now on hold per the request of the local union.

Donations: BWI has made a generous donation, as promised. The other promised donations from global unions have not yet come through.

Mailing lists: We’ve fixed all our home pages that include links to sign up to the mailing list to now point to our new lists on our server. It should be pointed out that very few signups to the list take place this way; nearly all the new subscribers join by supporting a campaign.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Mailing list |
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
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

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