The last authoratative and truly international study of trade union membership was the ILO's World Labour Report 1997-98, which surveyed 92 countries. Almost a generation later, we have no clear picture of the global trends in union membership. Worse, initial research from the New Unionism Network suggests that the general impression we have is hugely skewed by the experience of a small group of wealthy countries. The aim of the UnionWiki project is to use a "crowd-sourcing" model to create a global union database. At the very least, we seek to understand how union membership is trending by country, national income level, region and sector. At national level, we also want to provide union directories that provide contact, coverage and recruitment details. As a third step, we would like to offer the platform as an organising tool, with data on sectoral and multinational coverage. This would be done through the provision of free facilities for union 'wikis' - so that any union can have a free presence online.
You can access the UnionWiki database here: http://unionwiki.net. We have also put together a two-pager on the project, suitable for anybody who thinks they may be able to help out. Download.
Still very much in development, the SafeSpace project aims to provide a private and secure discussion facility for people in countries where organizing can lead to persecution, imprisonment or even death. We are also designing the service as a workplace tool, so that all staff can express their views without fear of repercussions. Various other groups have expressed interest in the service, and we are aiming to develop it as a self-supporting project.
You can access the SafeSpace site here: http://safe.space. The paper that led to the SafeSpace project can be viewed here. Please note that it is not finished and so we would ask you not to share this link.
• The Fair Work project
• The Global Unionism project/book