Results of the first annual survey of trade union use of the net

The total number of participants in the survey was 1,336 making it one of the largest we’ve ever done.

The countries providing the largest number of responses were predictably mostly Anglophone as the survey was only conducted in English this time. Here are the ten largest groups:

  • United Kingdom – 260
  • USA – 243
  • Canada – 236
  • Australia – 167
  • Ireland – 45
  • Norway – 40
  • New Zealand – 39
  • India – 32
  • Sweden – 23
  • Turkey – 20

How they access the net

Nearly all the respondents (92.5%) access the net at home, 71.3% at work, and 22.1% somewhere else.

And again, nearly all (91.9%) report having broadband access with only 4.1% still using dial-up modems.

Desktop computers remain the most widely used device to access the net (79.2%) but laptops, notebooks and notebooks are close behind with 70.8% using them. Smartphones are used by 31.4% of the respondents. Only 4.5% report using tablets like the iPad to access the net. And a small number — 2.6% — report using other devices.

The most popular browser remains Microsoft Internet Explorer which is used by 67.1%, but not far behind is Mozilla Firefox, used by 51.5%. (Clearly people use multiple browsers as the survey shows.) In third place is Google’s new Chrome browser, used by 26.5% of the respondents. Apple’s Safari browser has 18.6%, Opera has 4.8% and Other has 5.2%.

Use of social networks

Facebook is the most popular social network by far, with near unanimous use — 88.1% are Facebook members. UnionBook is the second most popular with 56% reporting membership. Of the other social popular social networks, LinkedIn has 29.1%, MySpace still has 11.4%, but Bebo and Orkut barely register with 1.2% and 2.0% respectively.

More than a third (36.2%) report being members of YouTube and only 13.5% are Flickr users.

Less than a third use Twitter (32.5%).

Second Life, the virtual world that one time was the subject of considerable interest in some unions has only 2.1% use.

When asked if the respondents participate in specifically trade union groups in those social networks, nearly two-thirds (63.7%) said yes.

And when asked if their unions had a presence in the social networks they belonged to, 58.8% also said yes.

When asked in which social networks their unions had a presence, Facebook once again dominates with 86.6%. Trailing behind are reported union presences on Twitter (33.5%), YouTube (24.7%) and UnionBook (21.7%).

Only 0.7% reported a union presence they were aware of on Second Life.

Union websites

Nearly all the respondents — 92.9% — reported that their national union has a website, and 27.1% say they visit that site daily. Another 64.1% say they visit their national union websites sometimes and only 8.8% say they never visit the sites.

When asked to rate their national union websites, 13.7% called it excellent and 50.9% rated it as good. Another 26.0% called the site average, 6.1% rated it as only fair, and only 3.3% called the site poor.

The results regarding local union websites were somewhat different.

Only 54.5% reported that the local union had a website and fully 10.5% didn’t know the answer to the question. Only 18.5% said they visited their local union website every day while 53.4% claimed to visit it sometimes. Fully 28.1% admitted to never visiting the local union website.

When asked to rate their local union websites, the numbers were once again much lower than for the national union websites.

Only 8.8% rated the site as excellent, 36.6% as good, 29.9% as average, 11.6% as fair, and 13.1% (four times the number as for national union sites) as poor.

Union apps for smartphones and tablets

When asked if the union has an app for smartphones or tables, the largest number of respondents (53%) said they did not know, while 42.5% said no. Only 4.5% said that their union had an app.

And 83.9% of those answering then said they did not use the app.

Wen asked to rate the union’s app — and only 127 survey participants answered this question — only 11% rated it as excellent, another 31.5% as good, 22.8% as average, 7.1% as fair and 27.6% as poor.

Union email lists

Nearly four-fifths of the respondents (78.8%) reported receiving regular email messages from their union, but 21.2% do not.

When asked to rate the content of those messages, 21.7% thought they were excellent and a majority (54.2%) rated them as good. 18.2% thought the union’s email messages were average, with only 5.9% rating them as fair or poor.


The majority of respondents (57%) reported that their union produces multimedia content for the net. 20.6% said their union does not, while 22.4% did not know.

When asked to rate the quality of the union’s multimedia content, 17.9% said excellent and a majority (50.1%) rated it as good. 24.3% called the union’s multimedia content only average with 7.7% rating it as fair or poor.

Prioritizing where to put resources and energy

When asked where they would like their union to devote more energy or resources in its online work, the most popular answers – the ones given highest priority – were email lists followed by online recruitment of new members. The ones given the lowest priority (not important at all) were internet radio broadcasts and apps for smartphones.

Use of existing pro-union websites and services

When asked which pro-union websites and services the respondents found useful (from a list), nearly all (93.3%) chose LabourStart while half (48%) chose UnionBook. Far behind these were UnionJobs (15.2%), Union Communication Services (12.9%) and Radio Labour (12.5%).

Written by admin in: Surveys |

Friday morning updates: campaigns, newswires, database, Amnesty, survey

  • I had  a meeting yesterday with Shane Enright, the trade union coordinator for Amnesty International UK.  We discussed among other things Turkey and Mexico and ways we can continue to work together – including Amnesty’s involvement in the next LabourStart conference.
  • Our survey now has 1,300 responses – a big gain over the last week.  I will close it down on Monday and report the results.
  • I managed to dilute the size of LabourStart’s news links database.  We are supposed to be restricted to 100 MB of data, though our internet service provider has not made an issue of us going slightly above that.  Nevertheless, I now have a system in place to check once a month and to keep the size of the database under control.
  • I’ve created a new newswire – soon to be publicized – in French covering the countries of the Maghreb. In the course of doing so, I found that all our regional newswires are still referencing our old database and need to be fixed.  I will do this next week.
  • LabourStart was temporarily offline – even emails to labourstart.org weren’t working – very briefly last week.  Our internet service provider spotted the problem and solved it even before we complained.
  • Our new campaigns are picking up support – the Turkey campaign has 1,388 supporters after one day; the Bangladesh campaign has 4,356 supporters after 8 days.

When the mere threat of a LabourStart campaign does the trick …

Espen Loken writes:

Also in peaceful Norway workers sometimes have to fight for their basic workers’ rights. Workers in “Bekken & Strøm”, a company producing working clothes, were on strike since 26th of November to get collective agreement. The employer’s answer was that “it is our clear opinion that the company is given a free hand and a collective agreement with your union cannot be imposed on the company. We are fundamentally against any imposed and involuntarily agreement”. Just as we were about to launch a global Labourstart campaign in support of the workers, we got the message that the employer gave up. He had just been notified that the Norwegian court ruled that notified secondary actions and boycot of the company were legal, and expected these actions to take place the next day. Seldom we have been so pleased to not launch a campaign!

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Turkey: New campaign launched

We’ve just launched this campaign – our second this week.  Please sign up, publicize, etc – and join the group on Facebook as well.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

New campaign launched to support jailed garment workers leader from Bangladesh

Moshrefa Mishu, jailed Bangladeshi trade union leader.

We’ve launched our first campaign of the new year — and our first in several months — today.

We have been asked by the Swiss union-backed NGO SOLIFONDS to campaign for the release of Moshrefa Mishu (pictured).

Please do what you can to promote this important campaign as well as the associated Facebook Cause.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Thursday morning updates: survey, campaigns, UnionBook, backups, LabourStart.tv, DDoS attacks, Maghreb, etc

  • I plan to stop allowing participation in our online survey once we have 1,000 responses.  We currently have 978.  Please help by spreading the word.  By the way, the largest groups of survey participants come from the following countries so far: UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Norway.
  • UnionBook has now reached over 3,000 members following the push yesterday.  In fact, we’ve picked up 120 new members in the last 9 days.
  • We’ll be closing the Vietnam campaign in the next few days.  This will bring us down to only two active campaigns.
  • We’ve had a formal request for a campaign from Bangladesh.
  • We are expecting additional requests for campaigns in the next few days from Turkey, Japan and Korea.
  • I’ll be setting up a French language newswire for the Maghreb countries, as Andy has long proposed.
  • I’ve read the Berkman Center (Harvard) report on denial of service attacks on independent media and human rights websites and plan to implement some of their suggestions for improved security in the next few days.  I’ve also written up a short article for the British weekly Solidarity about this.
  • I’ve changed the way we backup the site now.  There is now a full weekly backup of our MySQL databases (we didn’t do this before) and instead of packing (zipping) all our other files and backing that up, we’re now backing up all the files on the site on a weekly basis using FTP.
  • I have written once again to the domain registrar for the “.tv” domain requesting that they reinstate our labourstart.tv domain.

Weekly mailings to correspondents, UnionBook members, Facebook campaign supporters

Today I did a mail blitz to all the above lists –

  • Correspondents were given 10 tips and tricks to encourage them to be more active and involved
  • UnionBook members were urged to help us recruit the next 28 members to bring the social network up to 3,000 members
  • Supporters of our three most recent campaigns on Facebook were encouraged to check out our regular news pages regarding those countries – Vietnam, India and Colombia
Written by admin in: Publicity,Social networks,UnionBook |

UnionBook approaches 3,000 members

Sometime today, we should have our 3,000th member signed up.  I just did a mailing to the existing 2,972 members asking for their help on this.

Written by admin in: UnionBook |

Twitter fixed

We use a service called twitterfeed to automatically stream our news and campaigns to Twitter.

But I noticed yesterday that these had not been updated for more than a week.

I’ve just logged in again to twitterfeed and have relaunched the service.

All campaigns are now posted as tweets with the phrase ActNOW at the start; all top global news stories are posted as tweets with ‘Breaking News’ at the start.

You can see LabourStart on Twitter here.

Written by admin in: Twitter |

Thai campaign closed

Here’s what we’ve posted on the closed site:

According to reports from people in the field, the planned compensation fund scheme with private insurance has gone silent, and this may be related to the campaign. In addition, the prime minister talked about need to address migrant social security last week at a major conference, so that’s also promising. Migrants continue to be unprotected however. We’re also waiting to see if the ILO will issue a report critical of the Thai government, and if so we will publicise this widely.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

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