Oct
29
2020
0

New campaign in Belarus; our first album; “Alexa, play LabourStart” and more …

We last updated this blog two weeks ago — and what a fortnight it has been!

CAMPAIGNS:

We launched a new campaign demanding the release of jailed trade unionists in Belarus; after just six days online it is already our 5th largest active campaign (out of 9) and could easily grow into our largest. In addition to all the usual publicity, I wrote about it in my weekly column for Solidarity, which was shared widely.

Jailed trade unionists in Belarus.

Jailed trade unionists in Belarus.

Soon we’ll do followups after a week online and this should give it a big boost; our recent Myanmar campaign grew by about 25% thanks to that second wave of publicity, so this will almost certainly result in the campaign reaching 7,000 supporters, if not many more.

We now have 9 live campaigns, and here they are listed in order of the number of supporters and including the date they were launched:

1 Belarus: Stop the violence – defend democracy and human rights – 21-Aug-2020 – 7412
2 Myanmar: Stop union-busting at sporting goods company – 14-Oct-2020 – 7033
3 Colombia: Support miners striking against the ‘death shift’ at Cerrejón – 01-Oct-2020 – 6733
4 Albania: Solidarity with the miners – end repression now – 12-Dec-2019 – 6544
5 Belarus: Free union leaders and activists – 23-Oct-2020 – 5862
6 Jordan: Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association – 10-Aug-2020 – 5838
7 Cambodia: Free jailed union leaders now – 24-Aug-2020 – 5729
8 India: Workers’ rights under attack – 13-Jun-2020 – 5678
9 Ukraine: Support miners in their fight for decent conditions – 18-Sep-2020 – 5346

We have another campaign in the pipeline from Israel, involving young workers and a major transnational company.

To help raise awareness of how successful we are with these campaigns, we’ve been sharing the translated PDFs of our campaign victories across social media, showing a new language every other day.

MAILING LISTS:

Our lists grew significantly in the last two weeks, as we added 822 new subscribers, mostly to the English list. (If we continue at this pace, we’ll pick up 21,000 new subscribers in the next year.) We also added 239 new subscribers to our Belarusian list yesterday, which previously had just 18 subscribers.

In an effort to raise awareness of our new campaigns in Punjabi (every campaign is now translated into that language, which is spoken by 125 million people), we did a mailing to 1,400 people from India and Pakistan on our English mailing list — and invited their help to translate our campaigns into other languages in that region.

FUNDRAISING:

We completed a 4-week campaign to sell our “Workers’ Rights are Human Rights” union-made t-shirts and increased sales from 130 to 230 by the time the campaign ended. The company which is producing the t-shirts (CustomInk) has already paid us our share, including many individual donations over and above the cost of the shirts.

People should begin receiving their shirts in the next 10 days and we wrote to everyone who ordered, suggesting that people post photos of themselves in the shirts on social media, which we can then share.

Our best-selling LabourStart t-shirt.

Because of problems some people were having with PayPal — and a reluctance by some to use PayPal on principle — we’ve added an alternative way to donate to LabourStart (Transferwise) to our donations page, and have suggested it to some individuals. We’ll mention this the next time we try to raise money. Transferwise allows easy international bank transfers as well as credit and debit card payments, with no need to sign up for an account.

We received generous donations from CUPE in Canada and the Education International, as well as pledges from both the ITUC and ETUC.

David Thorpe, a British entertainer and long-time supporter of LabourStart, has released an album with his band and is generously donating 30% of the proceeds to LabourStart. We’ll shortly be publicising this.

David Thorpe.

David Thorpe.

TELEGRAM:

Some time ago we set up a public channel on this network, which is widely used by pro-democracy protestors in Belarus, Hong Kong and Thailand. Two weeks ago, it had just 26 subscribers and we had not been posting to it. We’ve now revived it, and there are 137 subscribers now. We’ve begun posting regularly to this group — mostly events, new campaigns, and our photo of the week. We hope we can grow this by several hundred in the next few weeks.

INSTAGRAM:

This is another social network that we had not been using — but we now have an account and a page there, and already have 100 followers. Anyone who wants to help post images and texts there is invited to volunteer.

SMART SPEAKERS:

Tens of millions of people now use smart speakers (most notably Amazon echo, but there are others including Google Home and Apple’s Siri) to play music, listen to the news, etc. We now have a rudimentary LabourStart ‘skill’ which reads out (and shows on-screen) the latest top global labour news stories, updated every day. We should have a public version of this ready in the next few days.

LabourStart news - on an Amazon Echo device.

LabourStart news – on an Amazon Echo device.

AND FROM AROUND THE WORLD …

Armenia and Azerbaijan: We’ve given extensive coverage to the international and local trade union responses to the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, and now regularly report on the region. I wrote about this in a recent column for Solidarity.

Canada: LabourStart will be sponsoring a prize in CLIFF – the labour film festival.

Georgia: We’re reached out and gotten agreement from the Georgian Trade Union Confederation to resume translating all our campaigns and mailings into Georgian. We’ve also reached out (twice) to our five inactive correspondents in Georgia, and will soon try to recruit more. We’ve also shared a document on how to do global labour solidarity conferences with the GTUC, as we consider Tbilisi as a possible venue for such a conference in late 2021.

Singapore: A local union activist reached out to us and we had a very long discussion, including ways in which LabourStart can be helpful, particularly in supporting exploited migrant workers there.

USA: We continue to reach out to unions, including the mineworkers and farmworkers, and expect to shortly hold a live event online with the latter.

Oct
15
2020
0

Victory in Zimbabwe; 3 new campaigns launched; fundraising success

Apologies for the delay in getting out this report, which covers September and the first half of October. It’s been a very busy time with many new campaigns, some defeats and one wonderful victory, a successful fundraiser and ongoing issues with our mailing lists. Here are some highlights …

Miners in Ukraine take their struggle underground.

Campaigns:

We launched a campaign in support of garment workers in Myanmar on 14 October, miners in Colombia on 1 October, and miners in Ukraine on 18 September. The Colombia campaign very quickly became our second largest live campaign.
In late September, we closed our campaign in support of nurses in Zimbabwe after winning a big victory. As PSI wrote to us, “After 3 months of industrial action, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association has called the strike off in a reciprocation of the gestures of goodwill that have been made by the new health Minister, Constantino Chiwenga.”
The Turkey (Deriteks) campaign was closed after 3 months, without a good result for the workers and the Indonesia campaign was also closed after the Omnibus bill was passed – a defeat for the workers.
We closed our Poland, Malaysia, Czech Republic and Peru campaigns, but have not yet heard back from the sponsoring unions with any details of the results.
All of our campaigns have now been translated in Punjabi for the first time. Punjabi has also been added as a language for adding news to LabourStart.
We made a minor change to our campaigns page forcing users to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question of whether they want to be on our mailing list in the hope that this will boost sign-ups.
We’ve also prepared some PDFs in a number of languages highlighting several of our campaign victories in the last year and a half. These were shared in mass mailings to some of our lists.

Our best-selling LabourStart t-shirt.

Fundraising:

We had a very good fundraising drive starting on 8 September, raising over £25,000.
This included sales of over 130 t-shirts, starting on 24 September.
Our next fundraiser will take place in January.

Mailing lists:

Following some problems with Amazon (which Sendy uses to send out our messages), we have returned to use Mailchimp. We had some issues with both services, but these are now resolved with Mailchimp (though not yet with Amazon). We have noticed a significant increase in opens and clicks in Mailchimp compared to Sendy – including a 28% boost in opens for one of our lists, and we’re hopeful that this will lead to even larger campaigns.

7 October – World Day for Decent Work (WDDW):

We tagged news stories related to this, created a page modelled on the Covid-19 page, and wrote to all correspondents about this. We shared the link to this page across social media.
We also assisted the ITUC with a big promotion of their new Democracy Pledge campaign.

USA:

We now have a list of over 1,000 US trade unionists and have written to them twice. In addition, we’ve contacted leaders of the United Mine Workers to win their support for our campaigns for the miners in Belarus and Ukraine.

Aug
31
2020
0

LabourStart in Numbers: 1 September vs 1 August 2020

Mailing Lists:

The first number next to each item is the current total as of today; the second number is the total as of the first day of last month.  Where no number is provided for last month this means that the list was re-created this month from our Mail Chimp back-up.

We continue see the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation.  Shrinking lists are in Italics.  Lists experiencing significant growth are in bold.

 

The Top 10:

English: 74,228-73,527

French: 7,679-7,720

Spanish: 5,137-5,141

Turkish: 4,282-4,222

Korean: 3,397-3,399

Italian: 3,322-3,326

Russian: 2,641-2,630

Norwegian: 2,243-2,558

Dutch: 1,455-1,472

 

The Others:

Arabic:  738

Belarusian:  18

Bulgarian: 17

Chinese: 980-984

Creole:  11

Czech: 66-66

Danish: 103-104

Esperanto: 158-160

Farsi:  212

Finnish:  519

Georgian:  138

German: 5,793-5,844

Greek: 54

Hebrew:  242-243

Hindi:  36

Hungarian:  193-192

Indonesian:  435

Japanese: 404-no change

Polish: 859-863

Portuguese: 1,290-1,258

Romanian:  39

Sinhalese: 1

Slovakian: 15-15

Swedish: 1,031-1,036

Tagalog: 160-161

Thai:  153

Ukrainian: 281-277

Vietnamese:  24

 

Flickr:

833-834 members.  10,220-10,218 photos.

 

Facebook Pages/Groups:

LabourStart.org page: 13,410-14,148

Global Labour News and Information: 8,867-no data.

LabourStart UK:  2139-2145

LabourStart Franco: 591-592.

LabourStart Brasil:  506-no data.

LabourStart Turkce:  2191-no data.

LabourStart TV: 431-no change.

 

LinkedIn:

Group: 2174-2150

 

Twitter:

All the major feeds experienced growth starting when the COVID-19 crisis hit.  Accounts experiencing significant increases are in bold.

English: 25,449-25,265

Canada English: 14,132-13,729

USA: 5,663-5,669

Australia: 4,956-4,872

Spanish: 4,557-4,432

Canada French: 2,646-2,612

Portuguese: 3,418-3,176

Italian: 504-517 (last tweet June 2019)

Swedish: 352-361 (last tweet 2016)

Indonesia: 350 (last tweet 2015)

French: 227-no change (last tweet 2018)

German: 126-no change (last tweet 2018)

Russian: 42-40 (last tweet November 2019)

Japanese: 20-no change (last tweet 2012)

Dutch: 12-no change (last tweet April 2012)

Arabic: 7-no change (last tweet May 2012)

Aug
31
2020
0

We have never had more live campaigns than we have today

We are currently running 13 campaigns — a new record for us.

They come from Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Turkey, and Zimbabwe — so we have most of the world’s regions covered.

Our campaign partners include the International Trade Union Confederation, European Trade Union Confederation, Building and Wood Workers International, Education International, IndustriALL, International Transport Workers Federation, International Union of Foodworkers, Public Services International, UNI Global Union, the European Transport Workers Federation, the Zimbabwean Nurses Association (ZINA), Deriteks (Turkey), Indonesian Labour with the People Movement (GEBRAK), National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (Malaysia), the Trade Union of United Mineworkers of Bulqiza (Albania), and the independent Belarusian trade unions.

The most recent campaigns we’ve launched (this month) are these four:

  • Belarus: Stop the violence – defend democracy and human rightsv- 5,135 supporters
  • Cambodia: Free jailed union leaders now – 4,566 supporters
  • Indonesia: Stop Widodo’s Omnibus Bill and protect workers and their families – 5,178 supporters
  • Jordan: Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association – 5,511 supporters

Please do what you can to help us ramp up support for all these campaigns.

A number of the campaigns are having successful results — for example, in Jordan jailed leaders of the teachers union were released, and we expect to close the current campaign shortly. And we now have a document which we can begin to share telling the stories of a significant number of campaign we victories we had in 2019-20.

Thanks to the work of our wonderful volunteer translators, two languages that had been problematic for us (few translations) are now working well — German and Korean. These are two of our biggest mailing lists (with over 9,200 subscribers between them), so we’re very pleased to be able to share all our current campaigns with them. In addition, our backlog of campaigns has now been translated into Turkish.

Much of the work getting the campaign translations posted and the mailings sent out is now being done by our new intern, Nate. In addition, we have this month taken on another intern, a student at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Hargun Sodhi; she will begin work with us this week.

Thanks to all the new campaigns, our mailing lists are experiencing significant growth this month. In August we added 1,188 new subscribers, most of them to the English list. All of our mailing lists have now been imported into Sendy.

We made a lot of progress on the second volume of Dan Gallin’s writings — we now have all the texts digitised and ready to be edited. Dan has even suggested a title — Resistance.

Finally, we’ve had a problem with our newswires in the different languages (though the country newswires work) — this is due to changes IONOS made to their system and we are working to fix this.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Intern,Mailing list,Publications |
Jul
07
2020
0

5 campaigns launched this month

Since 1 June, we’ve been busy.

Brazil: We launched a campaign in support of Santander workers at the request of UNI Global Union — one of five campaigns we launched in the last month. It is our most successful campaign ever in the Portuguese language, with more than 1,000 supporters in the first few days. It is also on track to be our largest current campaign, with 7,162 supporters and still counting.

Czech Republic: We launched a campaign in support of Ryanair workers at the request of the European Transport Workers Federation. It is also picking up a larger number of supporters than usual and today has 6,603 supporters.

India: We launched a campaign at the request of a number of global unions including the ITUC to protest the new attacks on workers’ rights.  It has 4,456 supporters today.

Kyrgyzstan: We’ve publicised the arrest of a trade union leader and are exploring the launch of a new campaign.

Malaysia: We launched a campaign in support of hospital workers, which has also now been translated into the Malay language.  The campaign has 3,618 supporters.

Mexico: We raised the possibility of doing a campaign in support of a jailed labour lawyer and are still waiting to hear if there is interest.

Palestine: We are in discussions about the launch of new campaign.

Peru: We launched a new campaign to urge Falabella (a Chilean multinational home retailer) to reinstate 22 workers who have been dismissed for asking for better protection against Covid-19, at the request of UNI.  This campaign has 6,055 supporters

Philippines: We shared the IUF campaign in support of Coca-Cola workers widely through mass mailings, our website and social media.

Poland: We are awaiting to hear back from UNI about suspending our campaign here, which has been live for some six months already.

USA: We sent out a mailing to our English list in support of a campaign by farm workers union FLOC.

Campaigns: We noticed that we were having a problem with our script that shows campaigns — it was taking very long to load campaigns. We fixed this by removing the live counter, and later replacing this with one that is updated manually a few times a day. Loading speeds are now much faster, and this is probably contributing to increased support for our campaigns.

Correspondents: Now that we have completely cleared the email backlog from the last few months (yes — inbox zero at last), there are no longer any individuals waiting to become LabourStart correspondents. A total of 43 new correspondents signed up in the first half of 2020, and of these 10 have already posted news.

Country names: This has been an issue for some time as quite a few countries have changed their names in the last few years (most recently, North Macedonia and eSwatini); we have developed a work plan to solve this issue across both our news and campaigns platforms.

Donations: The European Transport Workers Federation has made a generous donation.

Global Labour University: We have been approached to make a presentation about LabourStart to their students later this month.

Health & Safety: We have new Health & Safety news pages in many languages and these have been promoted across the net. We’ve encouraged all correspondents to make use of this, posting and tagging health & safety news.

Interns: We are working with the Industrial and Labour Relations school at Cornell University about getting interns and they are enthusiastic to work with us on this.

LinkedIn: Our Group there continues to grow, despite the fact that we do nothing to promote it, and we picked up over 60 new members this month. Most of what we post to Facebook and Twitter is also posted here.

Mailing lists: We imported 1,107 new subscribers during the last two weeks (and two more imports in early June as well), with large groups joining the English and Portuguese lists.

Jul
03
2020
1

LabourStart in Numbers: Our mailing lists

We haven’t updated the figures on our mailing lists for nearly a year — apologies for that! — so here goes.

The news is not very good.

In the lists below, the first number is from today (3 July 2020) and the second is from a year ago (31 July 2019).

The only lists which have grown are Polish (+183), Portuguese (+140) and Danish (+23). All the other lists have suffered declines. This occurs when the number of people whose addresses change (causing bounces) or who unsubscribe exceeds the number of new subscribers being added (from those people who are supporting our campaigns). The largest single loss is 3,051 in the English list.

The top 10:

English: 73,336 – 76,387
French: 7,717 – 8,277
German: 5,841 – 5,940
Spanish: 5,124 – 5,164
Turkish: 4,216 – 4,266
Korean: 3,400 – 3,742
Italian: 3,329 – 3,563
Russian: 2,631 – 2,694
Norwegian: 2,263 – 2,481
Dutch: 1,475 – 1,597

The others:

Swedish: 1,036 – 1,080
Chinese: 985 – 1,026
Portuguese: 1,006 – 866
Polish: 863 – 680
Japanese: 405 – 421
Ukrainian: 277 – 296
Hebrew: 243 – 251
Hungarian: 184 – 185
Tagalog: 162 – 175
Esperanto: 157 – 175
Danish: 104 – 81
Czech: 66 – 71
Slovakian: 15 – 15

These lists — which are not currently in use — will shortly be migrated to Sendy:

Arabic: 954
Finnish: 532
Indonesian: 394
Farsi: 218
Georgian: 217
Thai: 154
Greek: 57
Romanian: 39
Hindi: 37
Vietnamese: 25
Bulgarian: 18
Creole: 12
Sinhalese: 1

Written by admin in: Mailing list |
Jun
01
2020
0

Victory in Cambodia – and a new campaign in Belarus

Mikalaj Valadzko.

Mikalaj Valadzko.

Belarus: We launched a new campaign to protest the sacking of a union activist. It had over 5,300 supporters in the first week, appearing in 18 languages. This is the first campaign we’ve translated into Belarusian.

Cambodia: The biggest news in the last 12 days is the victory of our Cambodia campaign. Our sister Soy Sros was released from jail. IndustriALL, which sponsored the campaign, released a video featuring their general secretary, Valter Sanches, explicitly naming the LabourStart campaign.

India: We have raised the possibility of an online campaign with our global union partners.

Philippines: We closed the campaign, which had 9,044 supporters, in all 18 languages after six months. Unfortunately, it did not achieve the results we were hoping for.

Campaigns: We’re aware that the show campaign script is rendering pages very slowly and have taken the first steps to speed this up. We’ll do more work on this this week, as we cannot have long wait times to load these pages – we will lose people if we do.

LabourStart.tv: We had some issues with the domain name (again!) not working; IONOS support eventually took care of this.

Mailing list issues: Two of our recent mailings to the English list experienced some issues completing; I have posted a support request to Sendy.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,LabourStart.tv,Mailing list |
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.

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