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 Cerrej√≥n – 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.

Apr
06
2020
0

LabourStart in lockdown – but the work continues

A lot of our focus in the last week has been organising a Virtual May Day in partnership with global unions. We’ve been getting those unions on board, discussing content for the day and focussing on getting a platform up and running.

Our COVID-19 page continues to be our main news and we continue to promote it regularly across social media. We’ve had over 1,700 news stories about this in English alone, and in many more languages.

We now have a way to post messages to our most active correspondents and will be sending out a message today — in part to thank them for their help during this difficult time.

We had been working with an intern from the Global Labour University for the last several weeks. She has now completed her project with us though we hope she will continue as an active correspondent.

On our campaign page, we now have (in English only, at first) a prominent link to our ‘What is LabourStart page?’ — particularly useful for people supporting one of our campaigns for the first time. We’ll be rolling out this feature in other languages soon.

We are continuing with discussions on a possible Global Solidarity Conference in 2021. We have a national trade union centre interested in hosting this. More details to come soon.

There remains a backlog of correspondence to be answered, but we’re hoping to begin to bring that down, so if you’ve written to us and are waiting for a reply, thanks for your patience.

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