News and events

Joint GLI-ITF Initiative on Integrating Labour Impact Assessments into Transport Planning

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Global Labour Institute (GLI) have announced a new initiative that will see the application of labour impact assessments in transport planning around the world. 

The initiative, announced at the Transforming Transportation conference organised by the World Bank and the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, is supported by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) as a special study within its research program ‘Informal and Shared Mobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. 

The project will launch an action agenda for the application of Labour Impact Assessment approach and methods in the procedures and policies of city authorities, national governments, multilateral development banks, and other international stakeholders which is set to greatly benefit sector actors, transport planners and policymakers concerned with wider reforms in the public transport sector, including informal transport. 

A first stage of the initiative will be reviewing and synthesising findings and methodologies from Labour Impact Assessments of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects in Nairobi, Dakar, Kampala, Accra and Abidjan and other initiatives designed to improve the quality, efficiency and decarbonisation of urban public transport in the informal economy. The synthesis of the major findings, lessons learned and recommendations for sector actors, transport planners and policy-makers concerned with wider reforms will then be produced and presented to major stakeholders. 

The labour impact assessments include participatory research methods, innovative research tools, a broad and inclusive definition of ‘transport worker’ to include all those directly dependent on informal transport for their livelihoods, partnership with local academic institutions, and support for constructive dialogue and engagement between trade unions and transport authorities. 

This initiative is another crucial step in adding workers’ voices to the changes in public transport and ensuring that workers’ livelihoods are protected and improved moving forward. 

Click here to read the full press release.

Click here for more information about GLI’s work on informal transport.

News and events

Toolkit on Taking Action on Violence & Harassment Against LGBTQI+ Workers & other Vulnerable Groups

Violence and harassment in the world of work is a daily reality for millions of workers across the world and has devastating impacts for those affected. Groups in situations of vulnerability (or ‘vulnerable groups’) and workers with intersectional identities also face increased exposure to violence and harassment. LGBTQI+ persons are one of these vulnerable groups facing harassment, violence, and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. This discrimination remains a root cause of their continuing inequality in society and at work and is one of the major challenges facing the labour movement globally.

GLI Manchester was commissioned by a coalition of Global Union Federations to produce a facilitator guide and a participant workbook as a resource for the international trade union movement.

These training materials are primarily for workers’ educators and facilitators and trade union staff and representatives. They are intended to support the development of training programmes. The three modules cover:

  • Raising Awareness
  • Taking Action in the Workplace
  • Taking Action in the Union

These training materials are designed to:

  • Encourage discussion about violence and harassment, and the disproportionate impact of violence and harassment on vulnerable groups, including LGBTQI+ workers.
  • Raise awareness about C190 and R206 and their relevance for LGBTQI+ workers.
  • Encourage workers and unions to take action around violence and harassment and integrate C190 into the union bargaining agenda.
  • Enable the development of more inclusive unions and union spaces.

The toolkit includes a facilitator guide (currently available in English) and a participant workbook to assist in delivery of courses (currently available in English).

Click here to read the facilitator guide.

Click here to read the participant workbook.

News and events

BWI Report – Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining in the Green Transition

Social dialogue and collective bargaining are key tools for trade unions and workers to shape, negotiate, and influence the transition to greener models and practices. As part of its work to tackle the climate crisis and fight for a green transition, BWI is aiming to expand the scope of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) to include provisions for a Just Transition.

This report – commissioned by the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) from the Global Labour Institute (GLI) with the support of the Laudes Foundation – highlights good practices and provides guidance and recommendations on how to include a just transition in social dialogue and collective bargaining, with a specific focus on IFAs, with the aim of contributing to strengthening workers and trade unions’ agency on climate change issues. 

It is designed for trade union leaders, workers’ representatives, and organizers at the workplace in BWI’s sectors to support them in advancing social dialogue and collective bargaining on a just transition, particularly with multinational corporations (MNCs). It also includes a toolkit to support BWI and affiliates in developing a union policy and bargaining position and engaging in collective bargaining with multinational corporations on a just transition in BWI sectors, particularly through IFAs.

Click here to read this report in English.

News and events

Abidjan Bus Rapid Transit and Metro: Labour Impact Assessment 

Abidjan faces major problems in passenger transport, most of which is in the informal economy. Services are frequently slow and unreliable, roads are congested and poorly maintained. Most services are provided by numerous gbâkâs (minibuses) and wôrowôros(taxis), mostly old environmentally harmful vehicles operating on a target (‘la recette’) system that encourages dangerously long working hours and on-street competition between drivers.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Metro systems offer the prospect of more efficient, cleaner, and faster passenger transport. At the same time, they potentially threaten the livelihoods of thousands of people who currently depend on the employment provided by the informal transport industry.

This labour impact assessment attempts to build a comprehensive understanding of the composition and characteristics of the workforce, the issues that workers face in their day-to-day work, and detailed illustrations of the microeconomy, as well as an attempt to estimate the number of livelihoods in the transport industry at risk or to be created through the introduction of BRT and Metro.

This report of research was commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) from Global Labour Institute (GLI) and Université Alassane Ouattara (Côte d’Ivoire).

Click here to read this report in English.

Click here to read this report in French. 

News and events

INFORMAL TRANSPORT WORKERS IN ACCRA: Livelihoods, Organisation and Issues

Accra’s passenger transport system is dominated by a large paratransit industry, primarily informally operated buses and minibuses (“trotros”) and motorcycle taxis (“okada”) and taxis. In common with most major African cities, Accra’s streets are highly congested. The paratransit industry has also become notorious for inefficiency, violent criminality, pollution and corruption.

On the other hand, it offers cheap transport essential for the more than four million commuters and is highly flexible and responsive. It also informally employs hundreds of thousands of people in a city where earnings are poor and where employment is scarce.

The transformation of Accra’s informal public transport into a more efficient, less congested and more environmentally sustainable system is a critical issue for national and local government in Ghana.

This report analyses the paratransit industry in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) from a socio-economic perspective. It provides a description of the informal transport workforce in Accra, including those working in the trotro minibus, taxi and okada (motorcycle taxi) industries. It examines workforce characteristics, livelihoods and employment relationships, provides in-depth economic profiles of operations, identifies key issues, and considers options for formalisation.

The main objective is to support a public transport reform and streamlining of the highly fragmented paratransit sector. The findings, analyses and recommendations are meant to support a constructive engagement with stakeholders

The report is based on research undertaken by GLI in 2021 in partnership with the University of Cape Coast and transport trade unions in Ghana, as part of a broader project with Transitec Consulting Engineers and Organisation Development Africa (ODA), commissioned by the Ghana Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project (GUMAP) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Click here to read this report.

News and events

TUED Bulletin 137 – Updates on TUED South & Discussion on Position Paper “Reclaim & Restore” Public Utilities to Fight Energy Poverty

RSVP and join TUED on Wednesday, August 16th, 0800 – 0930 Eastern US to discuss: Reclaim and Restore: Preparing a Public Pathway to Address Energy Poverty and Energy Transition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Reclaim and Restore

In mid-May 2023, unions from 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) came together in Johannesburg to lay the groundwork for a public pathway approach to addressing the challenge of energy poverty in the region.  

Convened by TUED South, the 3-day meeting discussed a draft position paper that brings to light the abject failure of neoliberal approaches to addressing energy poverty in the region. 

Focusing on the World Bank, the paper describes how the Bank’s structural adjustment agenda of the 1990s targeted public utilities and redirected financial support to for-profit independent power producers (IPPs). The results have been devastating. Today half of the region’s population (roughly 600 million people) have no electricity, 70% in rural regions. 

The document has been updated and is available here. It advocates for a “reclaim and restore” approach to energy utilities so they can begin to repair the damage of the past 30 years. 

We will first hear from TUED unions based in Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya. View the draft program here. 

Please RSVP for the Global Forum here. Interpretation will be provided in English, French, and Spanish. 

New TUED Union: Independent Education Union of Australia (IEU).  Welcome IEU! 

The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEU) represents over 75,000 workers in non-government schools and institutions across Australia. Learn about IEU’s work on their website and Twitter (X)

In solidarity,
The TUED Team

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is a global, multi-sector trade union initiative to advance democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, the degradation of both land and people, and responds to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections. TUED is is part of the Global Labour Institute Network. 

News and events

WIEGO Job Advertisement – School Coordinator

Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is hiring a School Coordinator consultant role to coordinate the rollout of the WIEGO School. The School is aimed at the global and national leaders of WIEGO’s institutional members (membership-based organizations of street vendors, waste pickers, domestic workers and home based workers), as well as other membership based organizations of workers in the informal economy that WIEGO works with.

Click here for more information about the role.

WIEGO is a global network focused on securing livelihoods for the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy.

News and events

GLU Call for Applications – GLU South Africa Honours and MA Programme 2024

The Global Labour University (GLU) is an exciting and innovative postgraduate programme designed to equip and engage trade unionists more effectively to tackle the challenges of globalization. It offers unionists and labour activists formal post-graduate Honours and Masters degree qualifications through the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a fulltime coursework and research study programme located in the School of Social Sciences.

Applications for the 2024 programmes are now open and must be completed ONLINE.

Click here for more information.

News and events

TUED Bulletin 128 – Brazilian Unions Call for Renationalization of Energy, Reversing Bolsonaro Privatizations

As the Lula administration closes its second month in office, review key trade union demands, summarise key energy takeaways from the 2023-2026 Lula governing plan, and interview a leader of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Platform on Water and Energy (POCAE), a coalition of leading trade unions and social movements in Brazil. Next week, we’ll keep our eye on Brazil and share our abridged interview with CUT Brasil on their analysis of Lula’s energy policies and their priority campaigns for 2023.

To celebrate our longstanding partnership with the CUNY School for Labor and Urban Studies, we’ve highlighted a selection of resources from past collaborations. On March 7, join us at the CUNY SLU public programming event “Learning from Global South Unions: Student Voices on Climate Action and a Just Energy Transition”.  Register here.

The 2023-2026 Governing Plan of Lula 

While policies are still taking shape in Lula’s new administration, we can ground our analysis on the 2023-2026 governing plan, published in mid-2022 during the electoral campaign by Lula and his centre-right running mate, Alckmin. Of the document’s 120 points, four points (75-78)  specifically reflect energy policy commitments: support for energy sovereignty, opposition to ongoing privatization measures for Petrobras and Electrobras, and increasing the energy mix with renewables. 

Trade Unions Demands

Electrobras underwent privatisation in 2022 under Bolsonaro, with the federal government’s shares falling from 72 per cent to 43 per cent, and a measure limiting its voting power to 10%. Eletrobras is responsible for 30 per cent of all generation and 45 per cent of transmission in Brazil. Íkaro Chaves, Director of the National Collective of Electricians (CNE), urges, “It is not a popsicle factory; it is a company that provides essential public services to society, and its public control is regulated in the constitution,” adding that Lula “made it clear that the goal is to undo this banditry against the [public ownership] and eventually if conditions are favourable (…)  to re-nationalise”. Reclaiming majority public ownership would require recovering 7% of the shares. CNE has argued for the re-nationalization of Electrobras and recently laid out their demands in an open letter to the Minister of Mines and Energy (MME), Alexandre Silveira. 

This week, members of the CNE also met with the President of the Workers Party, Gleisi Hoffman, to discuss the renationalisation of Eletrobras. In their meeting in Brasilia, the electrical workers emphasized that “defending renationalisation of Electrobras is defending Brazil”.

Petrobras has become a “dividend-paying machine,” according to Oil Workers Federation (FUP). Private shareholders currently hold nearly 65% of Petrobras’ capital, and the company is considered the world’s second-largestdividend payer. Last year, Petrobras produced a record net profit of R$ 188.3 billion in 2022 at the high cost of privatizations and a dramatic reduction of investments in the country. Nearly all profits (R$ 180 billion) went directly to investors. The amount invested in Brazil, about R$ 52 billion or US$10 billion, is 80% below the level of annual investments observed between 2010 and 2013 under PT administrations.

Deyvid Bacelar, Coordinator of FUP, has spoken about the investment crisis and the public pathway alternative, stating, “Petrobrás in recent years has become a dividend-paying machine, transferring to shareholders all the profit obtained from privatizations and abusive fuel prices. We urgently need changes in the pricing policy and to reclaim the state-owned company so that it once again invests in Brazil with long-term policies.”

In a recent interview, he added, “we will have a process of rebuilding what was destroyed by previous governments. It is time for the oil trade union movement to put pressure on our government and the management of President Jean Paul Prates so that what was presented in President Lula’s government program will be put into practice.” 

To organize and prioritize their demands, the Social Observatory of Petroleum, linked to the National Federation of Petroleum Workers (FNP), published a 10-point manifesto, “Petrobras for Brazilians”, including Point 10: “Retake a 100% state-owned Petrobrás, repurchasing its shares – especially those traded on the New York Stock Exchange – and closing its capital. Additionally, reinstate the state monopoly of Oil and Gas.”

Trade Union and Social Movement Platform presents demands to the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)

The Workers’ and Peasants’ Platform on Water and Energy (POCAE), a coalition of leading trade unions and social movements in Brazil, has published its collective energy transition demands and proposals to the leadership of the MME. 

In the past, MME Minister Silveria opposed privatisation in the energy sector, but unions recognize the need for ongoing pressure from the trade union movement to move him and the new administration toward policy reforms that support a public pathway in energy. The demands made by POCAE to the MME were published in December 2022 in the document “For Energy Sovereignty and Open Prices.” The demands include recovering energy sovereignty, reclaiming Electrobras and privatized parts of Petrobras to the public sector, and instituting policies for the state-led reindustrialization of the energy supply chain. 

According to Fernando Fernandes, coordinator of POCAE, “The leading trade unions and organisations that make up the Workers’ and Peasants’ Platform for Water and Energy have been presenting proposals in the energy and water sectors. Lula was elected with the support of a broad front of diverse social sectors, some of who disagreed with the proposals of the unions and popular movements. In view of this, we have collectively built this document to present our concerns and list some points that we hope will be commitments assumed by a minister of Mines and Energy in Lula’s government,” explained Fernandes. Speaking to POCAE’s priorities in upcoming months, Fernandes asserts, “first, it is necessary to pressure the MME to commit to pro-public energy policies and to reversing the privatisations of public companies, which have worsened the living conditions of the Brazilian people. It is critical to continue to push trade union and organisational demands as well as alternative programs.”

TUED’s Partnership with the City University of New York’s School for Labor and Urban Studies 

Since 2015, the City University of New York’s School for Labor and Urban Studies has contributed critical support for the TUED project. Collaborations with CUNY SLU include the New Labor Forum national journal, the Reinventing Solidarity podcast, support for the 2020 Global Trade Union Assembly, as well as ongoing opportunities to engage with SLU students and its community through public programming and student scholarships. 

“Reinventing Solidarity” Podcast episodes featuring TUED’s work (in English):

On the evening of March 7th, between 7-8 pm ET, CUNY SLU and TUED will co-host a public event titled “Learning from Global South Unions: Student Voices on Climate Action and a Just Energy Transition.” 

Join to learn from SLU students and Trade Unions for Energy Democracy about the launch of TUED South in Africa and upcoming opportunities for students and other activists to learn about climate action and organising with unions globally for a public pathway to a just energy transition. The event will be in English. For the zoom link, please register here

In solidarity,

The TUED Team

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is a global, multi-sector trade union initiative to advance democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, the degradation of both land and people, and responds to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections. TUED is is part of the Global Labour Institute Network. 

News and events

Women in clickwork: upward mobility or a step backwards on the path to equality?

Georgia Montague-Nelson from GLI Manchester has co-authored an article with Miriam Oliver from the GIZ Gig Economy Initiative that explores the gendered dynamics of clickwork and ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is reliant on data that is first sorted by human input. These human labourers (‘clickworkers’) train the software. Although offering flexible working that is often an attractive option for women in the Global South, stacked inequalities within the clickwork economy can exacerbate women’s already unequal position and lead to them becoming a silenced and invisibilised workforce. The article explores whether clickwork is a liberating force for women in the Global South, or is simply reproducing gendered and class-based inequalities?

Click here to read the article.

Click here to read the extended version of the article.