Weekly round-up: 20-30.8.12

New office: Now moved in; Internet access being set up today. This has taken up a lot of time over the last couple of weeks, and not everything is here yet, and there are still boxes on the floor, but it’s a working office – our very first.

Campaigns: The Spanish miners’ campaign, our first with IndustriALL, is now closed. The Zimbabwe campaign was launched last week, as was the Siemens USA campaign. A fortnightly update was sent to all our campaign partners.

Articles: My article on the case of Kamal Abbas in Egypt was picked up by In These Times (USA), and run in their web edition. In the German newspaper Jungle World (print and web edition) my article on the subject of anti-union violent repression appeared.

Courses: I met in Brussels yesterday with two staffers from the European Trade Union Institute to discuss a course I will help run with them on the subject of online campaigning.

Facebook: We now have a page on Facebook in Turkish.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Office,Social networks |

New campaign launched: Siemens USA

See here.  One of the first times we’ve been asked to do a campaign where messages were sent to the workers, not to the employer.  The election is on 6 September, only 12 days from now, so this will be a short campaign.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Spanish miners campaign closed

I wrote to IndustriALL as I’d heard that this dispute was now over; they have confirmed this and have asked us to take down the campaign.  We should have a detailed report from them soon about the effect of our campaign – though apparently the result for the miners was not a great one.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

New campaign launched: Zimbabwe

In a week when the eyes of the world are focussed on labour relations in southern Africa, perhaps it’s not the best timing, but we’ve been asked by IndustriALL to urgently launch a campaign in support of workers in Zimbabwe.

The campaign is here – please do what you can to promote it.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Blog action day 2012

This is interesting.

Should we suggest a topic (e.g. Workers’ rights) and try to get it  selected?  Should those of us who have blogs register.  One of the organizers wrote: “The 2011 event had over 4,000 bloggers from 108 countries talking about food for World Food Day.”

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |

Weekly round-up: 11-19 August

Mid-August should be a quiet time, so this is actually not the worst time to move office.

This is what our office looked like on Friday — but it doesn’t look this way anymore, as yesterday a volunteer (a UNISON member who works for the NHS) and I moved 8 large boxes, and tomorrow we begin moving the furniture.  (Two new volunteers, one bringing a van, for that one.)

The effort is being helped along by volunteers, trade unionists and friends, as a result of an appeal I made to our UK mailing list.

In addition to everything related to the office move, which is taking up a considerable amount of time, here are some other things that have happened in the last few days:

Campaigns: IndustriALL has asked us to launch a Zimbabwe campaign, but I have raised the question with them of whether this is appropriate at this time considering what has just happened in South Africa.  I’ll keep you posted about their response.  Our latest campaign – DHL Turkey – was promoted on Monday and currently, with 5,720 messages sent, is the largest of the five most recent campaigns.  On Sunday, 12 August we promoted PlayFair’s Olympics campaign, which turned out to be problematic as the IOC began rejecting all the messages sent.  We persuaded PlayFair to write to everyone who had sent a message explaining what happened and making sure their voices would be heard.

Global Solidarity Conference 2012: I have invited one of our comrades from Turkey to participate and will shortly be confirming the participation of a key correspondent from Russia.  I had a Skype call with three members of the organizing committee in Sydney and discussed progress.

Fifty Shades of Campaigning: This is title of a conference being organized by Wales UNISON – I’ve been invited to speak, to actually run four sessions, in mid-September in Cardiff.

LAWCHA Conference, New York City, June 2013: I’ve been invited to organize a panel at this event and have submitted a proposal.

Unite Here: I had a meeting in London with one of their staff who’s been relocated to the UK.  We discussed unions, campaigning, LabourStart, and so on.  I also had a Skype conference with their social media coordinator to discuss issues regarding their global campaigns, which we have helped promote.  These meetings came in the wake of our promotion of the Hyatt Hurts campaign the union is now waging.

Donations: We’ve received a substantial one from the CCU in Canada.  On Monday, I wrote an individual letter and sent this with a brochure to every single trade union general secretary in Britain.  So far, there has been no response.  (Eight British unions have already donated this year for a total of £2,650 – but we can certainly aim to double that.)

Written by admin in: 2012 conference,Campaigns,Fund-raising,Office |

Welcome to our new office

Yesterday I signed the agreement and put down the deposit on our new office space (pictured above) — the first we’ve ever rented.

It’s  publicly-owned (by the London Borough of Haringey), bright red trimmed office complex in Lee Valley.

How could we not choose this one?

Here are the details:

Unit 168,
Lee Valley Technopark,
Ashley Road, Tottenham,
London N17 9LN
United Kingdom

In another 15 days we should have broadband Internet installed and be working there.

We’ll have a new landline number as well.

I welcome all of you to visit once we’re moved in (but make sure to email first to set a time and date).

Written by admin in: Office |

Weekly update, 6-10 August 2012


  • I cleared the backlog of translations of campaigns and mass mailings.
  • Two new campaigns were launched – Swaziland (7 August) and Turkey DHL (8 August).
  • I fixed the mycampaigns.cgi script — while it was working OK, it was forcing the system to use the old website addresses and forwarding.
  • The Iraq campaign was closed with fewer than 4,000 messages sent.
  • We assisted Unite Here and the IUF with promoting their own campaigns this week; in the former case, this also consisted in giving them a lot of constructive criticism about how to campaign globally.
  • Two campaigns were given a special boost this week – the RMT campaign in support of London cleaners on Friday when a 48 strike as launched with picketing outside the Olympics venue, and the Hava-Is campaign for Turkish airline workers – because of the new ITF video.  The last of these is our largest campaign at the moment, with well over 8,000 messages sent.

Ukrainian edition: I added 9 correspondents – Masha is co-ordinating this effort.  The interface is already working.

London Labour Film Festival: I’ve been promoting this to our lists and via social media.  LabourStart is getting a quarter-page ad in the festival program.  We are also allowed to distribute our brochure at the door.  The festival takes place in mid-September at the Prince Charles Cinema in central London.

App: We’ve been sent an interesting proposal by a company in Canada offering to do this for us; now under consideration.

Conference 2012: Now little more than 3 months away.  The organizing committee is meeting again next week.  A draft registration form is now ready and a bank account has been set up.  Proposals are being discussed for panels.

Conference 2013: There’s been an offer to host this in Vancouver.  More details soon.

Office in London: I continue to search – have found one very good candidate on Thursday, am looking at another on Monday and will probably decide then.  Packing up of the existing office has already begun.

Fund-raising: We received a substantial one-off donation from the IUF.

Upcoming conferences I’ve been invited to speak at: UNITE Wales in Cardiff in September (“Fifty shades of campaigning“); NASUWT in London in November; Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA) in New York City next June.  (I will be contacting some of you for help on organizing a panel for the last of these.)  I also hope to attend the TUC in Brighton in early September.  These are all also opportunities to distribute the LabourStart brochure (1,900+ copies remaining).

Other writing: The current wave of anti-union repression we’re seeing in places like Nigeria and Turkey is the subject of my next regular monthly column for Jungle World.


Another not-so-quiet August

Barely three days after the launch of our Swaziland campaign we’re going live with an ITF-backed campaign in support of DHL workers in Turkey.  This is the fifth campaign we’ve launched in the last month and the 4th Turkish campaign out of the 10 active campaigns.  In addition we’ve been asked to show support for Unite Here’s Hyatt Hurts campaign in the USA, the IUF’s campaign in support of Tunisian Kraft employees, and more.  It’s a busy period for us, even if many trade unions are taking a summer break up here in the northern hemisphere …

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Inactive correspondents

As promised once we reached the figure of 1,000 correspondents (we’re now up to 1,008), I have looked into how many of those are inactive.  Really inactive.  As in – never posted a single news story.

If we exclude those who became correspondents in 2012, there are 481 such correspondents.  In other words, nearly half of the correspondents have never posted a story.

That’s being generous, because if we look at who’s posting stories on a regular basis – for example, in the first 8 days of August, there were only 50 of us.  So more than 90% of the “active” correspondents were not active in the last 8 days.

In some cases, these are correspondents who have more than one account — and this list is showing the dead account.

Here’s what I propose to do:

One by one, I will write to each of these 481 people and ask them if they need help and if they wish to continue.  (This will be painstaking, because we don’t have a simple system to match up correspondent names to their email addresses.)

I’ll give each one a month to respond.  If they don’t answer or don’t post a story, I’ll close their accounts.

Written by admin in: Correspondents |

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