Weekly round-up: 22-30 October

Conference: Registrations now up to 111; a gain of 50 in the last 7 days.  The Australian Council of Trade Unions has been publicizing.  An agenda is now agreed and nearly ready for circulation.  International guests are expected to attend from the UK, Turkey, Russia, Norway, the USA, the Philippines, Fiji, Taiwan, China, New Zealand and Timor l’Este, and maybe more — at least a dozen countries represented.  During the week, I had Skype calls with both Andrew Casey and Peter Lewis in Sydney to discuss conference progress.  Members of the organizing committee have been receiving a daily email from me updating them as we rapidly approach the conference opening.  The conference has an event page on Facebook.

Intern: Interviews took place last Monday, 22 October; each of the four shortlisted interns was then asked to complete a written test (to draft a plan for a new LabourStart campaign).  The result of all this is that our new intern, Edd Mustill, has begun work 3 days a week in the office.  Say hello to Edd – intern@labourstart.org.

Campaigns: We launched a new campaign yesterday demanding the release of two teacher trade union leaders in Bahrain; it took off very quickly and within less than 20 hours had generated 4,544 messages.  (The campaign is already larger than our China NGOs campaign, which was launched 18 days ago..)  We also did a promotion of our Zimbabwe campaign, which had stalled at under 4,700.  It’s picked up another 800 supporters thanks to our additional effort.

Books: I had a short meeting in London with David Prosten, owner of Union Communication Services.  David’s not only our partner bookseller for the Labour Book of the Month, but he’ll also be publishing my next book on unions and the internet, due out next year.

Written by admin in: 2012 conference,Campaigns,Publications |

New campaign launched – Bahrain

The campaign we did back in January to free leaders of the Bahraini teachers produced no results; they’ve now been jailed.  The Education International has asked us to launch this new campaign following their sentencing.

Update: It’s been only four hours since the campaign launch and we’ve already succeeded in sending over 2,000 messsages.  That’s 500 messages per hour.  Wow.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Weekly roundup – 15-22 October 2012

Global Solidarity Conference: I had five individual calls with Australians last week, one each day.  I spoke with 4 members of the organizing committee plus Peter Lewis from Essential Media. We took a decision to make this a free conference and to drastically streamline the registration procedure. As a result, we’ve jumped from 5 Australians attending to 33, and a total of just under 50 registrants. We expect many more in the days to come as we finalize the conference agenda and begin to highlight who the guest speakers from overseas will be. I’ve begun weekly mailings the complete Australia / New Zealand list (just under 6,000 addresses) and to all those who’ve registered. In addition, I’ve been doing daily mailings to the 25 or so people on the organizing committee list.  We have less than 35 days to go …

Interns: Today is interview day; I will be interviewing all 4 of the shortlisted candidates as well as giving them a written assignment.

Office: Now largely unpacked, office is looking like a place one can actually work in.

Campaigns: I closed down the RMT campaign. I sent off the biweekly message to all our partners updating them on the status of all campaigns and asking for their help. I also did the monthly reminder to all translators about what they may have missed. I cleared the backlog of translated campaigns and mass mailings. There was a problem with campaign ID numbers, which someone managed to reset to 0, but I fixed this. I also made a small techie change – we had a problem if someone chose to opt out from the mailing list signup in that they wouldn’t be included in the count; this is now fixed. We have been asked to help UNI promote a campaign in support of ING workers in Korea and will do so this week.

UnionBook: The link to UnionJobs, which showed the most recent jobs, has broken so I’ve changed it and moved it to a more prominent location.

Publicity: I and two volunteers distributed 400 LabourStart brochures at the 20 October TUC march and rally in London. This is the first time we have intervened in this way and it went well.

Hebrew edition: My message – in Hebrew – to our list got us one new correspondent. I’ve continued to push our Israeli correspondents to be more involved and to try to feature more news from Palestine and other countries.


Weekly Monthly roundup – 24.9 – 15.10

To be fair, I was away for more than a week …

Intern: We had 12 applicants. Derek Blackadder (Canada) and John Wood (UK) helped me prepare a shortlist of 4, who will be interviewed on Monday, 22 October. Roger Darlington has volunteered to assist with the interviews.

Conference: We’re working hard to build this — it’s only 6 weeks away. We did a mailing on 24.9 to our lists in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve provided the organizers with a list of who to invite from the region, and have been in touch with several others from outside the region whose flights we are subsidizing.

New campaigns: We launched a campaign in support of workers in Guatemala; we ran a short and sharp campaign in support of jailed Turkish trade unionists; we launched a campaign in support of labour NGOs in China facing repression.

Closed campaigns: I closed down five campaigns – China (Li Wang Yang), UK (RMT Olympics), Turkey (Togo), Morocco and Kazakhstan.

Labour book of the month: I’ve revived this, and in the first 4 days, we sold over $600 worth of books.

Facebook: I tested the promotion of one of the posts on our page. This was the post – “Over 300 dead textile workers in Pakistan – demand justice! Support the online campaign!” It was seen by 63,151 people, 713 of them liked it, 23 commented on it, and 150 shared it. A typical post on Facebook is seen by a tiny fraction of that — usually around 5,000 people. The cost was $100.

Sponsorship of LabourStart UK: UIA, which provides insurance cover for union members here, now has a banner on our UK website, for which they are paying us.

Ukrainian: We have a new newswire in Ukrainian, following a request. I’ve also provided them with a list of country names for translation.

Urdu: We had an offer to translate our Pakistan campaign, but there’s been no translation yet.

Swedish & Danish: We’ve done a mailing to our small lists in these two languages to try to recruit new correspondents and translators.

South Africa: I’ve written both to all our existing correspondents and to hundreds of our readers there in an effort to get more active correspondents.

Brochure distribution: I’ve recruited three volunteers to help me distribute LabourStart brochures at Saturday’s giant demonstration and march organized by the Trades Union Congress in London.


New campaign launched: China

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions has asked us to campaign in support of 10 labour NGOs recently closed down by the government. The campaign is going live right now.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Two campaigns closed – and a win we helped with

We’ll shortly be announcing two important victories to our lists — one of which followed a LabourStart campaign, the other was a campaign we didn’t host, but which we promoted aggressively.

The good news is that Said Elahirech, leader of the Moroccan dock workers, has been released from jail and all charges dropped. (See one news report on this here.) That campaign was launched on 11 September and generated 5,657 messages from our supporters in 10 languages.

And just next door, in Algeria, our brother Yacine Zaid was released following an IUF campaign which we promoted with a dedicated mass mailing a week ago. We helped boost that campaign to well over 11,000 messages, one of the largest the IUF has ever done.

Meanwhile, we’re also closing — at the request of the ITUC — what was a short and sharp campaign in support of jailed trade union leaders in Turkey. It got 8,536 messages sent in just a few days online, leading up to the trial opening and visit by a solidarity delegation to Ankara.

A campaign on China is on the way …

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

LabourStart in Numbers – September 2012

This is 10 days late because I was away during the first week of October. There are no website stats this time because I wasn’t able to access them this morning and didn’t want to delay publication of this report any further.

Some highlights:

Net growth of mailing lists is still strong, with over 2,500 new subscribers this month. The biggest gain was the English list, which picked up a net gain of over 2,000. I’m now listing Indonesian at the bottom as we’re doing regular mailings to this small list, and running regular campaigns in Indonesian now.

On Facebook, likes to our page continue to grow considerably faster than membership in our group, which is what we want. This month we had a gain of 333 new likes to the page and only 6 new members of the group.

Twitter is growing more slowly, up only 251 this month, but we still have far more followers on Twitter than we have likes on Facebook. (7,418 Twitter followers vs 5,289 fans on Facebook).

On LinkedIn, despite no effort by us, we’ve now soared past the 1,000 barrier, having picked up 46 new members of our group there. That’s only one fewer than the number of new members of UnionBook (which grew by only 47 during this period).

Mailing lists

Total for all lists: 104,296 [101,775]

English: 75,597 [73,544]
French: 5,813 [5,777]
Spanish: 4,338 [4,177]
Italian: 3,872 [3,868]
Turkish: 3,114 [2,989]
German: 2,546 [2,497]
Norwegian: 2,344 [2,301]
Russian: 1,950 [1,945]
Dutch: 739 [738]
Chinese: 503 [500]
Polish: 308 [306]
Portuguese: 244 [243]
Japanese: 209 [ 209]
Farsi: 201 [201]
Hebrew: 189 [177]
Swedish: 187 [189]
Finnish: 184 [184]
Arabic: 169 [160]
Danish: 150 [153]

And just below the radar:

Korean 93 [93]
Indonesian 74

Social networks

UnionBook –
Members: 5,322 [5,275]

Facebook –
Like LabourStart.org page (English): 5,289 [4,956]
Members of LabourStart group: 4,778 [4,772]
Like LabourStart page (French): 234 [222]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 67 [60]

Twitter followers –
English: 7,418 [7,167]

Union group on Flickr: 701 [698]

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 1,037 [991]


Correspondents: 1,028 [1,013]

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