News and events

Follow International Summer School on Facebook and Twitter

To get involved in discussions before, during and after the summer school (which begins on Monday July 9), you can now connect to the GLI on both Facebook and Twitter.

You can ‘like’ our Facebook page at:

You can follow us on Twitter on @gli_uk

And you can get involved in the summer school discussions on Twitter by using #glischool

News and events

International Summer School – Essential Practical Information

The International Summer School is now little more than one week away.

Please find the essential practical information for all participants, along with the most recent revised programme and current participants list.

If you haven’t already done so, could participants please send their arrival and departure details to as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you there!

News and events

Economic alternatives seminar

Economic alternatives seminar, 17th July 11.00am-2.00pm.

Headland House 308-312 Grays Inn Road, King Cross, London. WC1X 8DP

The GFTU Executive Committee has called for a seminar to share some thinking about different elements of the alternative economic strategies that are developing against the unnecessary austerity.

The work is not to duplicate or distract from the excellent work of the TUC or indeed other think tanks, individual unions and spokespeople. Rather, with such a need for constant understanding of the politics of growth, we are seeking to amplify and deepen the debate.

While the broad thrust of the politics of growth is becoming more familiar to trade unionists as evidenced in some recent conference motions, this seminar gives an opportunity to touch on some areas of concern – perhaps land ownership for example, or the cultural industries, or elements of the tax debate, or manufacturing – that are not so prominent in other debates. The GFTU hopes that a range of individuals being invited will make the event stimulating and cross fertilising expanding all of our knowledge.

Non-UK participants most welcome.

If you are interested in participating, contact Doug Nicholls, General Secretary:

The General Federation of Trade Unions represents 21 specialist trade unions in the UK with a combined membership of over 220,000 members.

News and events

International Summer School – stimulating reading

We’re setting the scene for our forthcoming International Summer School (9-13 July) with some interesting short articles related to the summer school discussions. Although not essential reading, they will help provide some useful background. Please note that the views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the views of GLI, but we think they help fuel necessary debate.  The articles include:

Organizing: Means & Ends, by Dan Gallin, looks at the broad sweep of trade union history, and argues that the international labour movement needs reform as a movement for democratic social transformation and a common political vision.

Winning Politically, by Ron Oswald, in an extended extract from his 2012 IUF Congress address, calls for a new model for politics in the international trade union movement.

Financialization: New routes to profit, new challenges for trade unions, by Peter Rossman and Gerard Greenfield, argues that to understand the fundamental power-shifts that are subjecting workers to continuous restructuring and constant employment instability, we must address the question of financialization.

The Future of Global Unions: Is Solidarity Still Forever? by Alan Howard, argues that organized labor does not have, but needs,  a coherent strategy for international organizing.

A New Insurgency Can Only Arise Outside the Progressive and Labor Establishment, by Stephen Lerner, argues that despite the effort of thousands of activists, unions are just connected enough to the political and economic power structure to be constrained from leading the kinds of activities that are needed in the current crises.

Liberate China’s Workers, by Han Dongfan, argues that it is in the long-term interest of the Chinese economy and state to restore the rights to strike and to collective bargaining.

European Labour: The Ideological Legacy of the Social Pact, by Asbjørn Wahl, argues that the strongest trade union movements in the capitalist world in the post W.W.II period are today openly confused, and lack a clear vision in social and political orientation. The ideological legacy of social partnership policies is now leading the trade union movement astray.

The euro crisis and the European trade union movement, by Vasco Pedrina, explains that European trade unionism is at a crossroads, and “Social Europe” is under pressure. The time has come to re-examine our strategy if we do not want to look on helplessly as the European trade union movement slides into irremediable decline.

The Challenge of the Informal Economy, by Christine Bonner and Dave Spooner, offers a brief view of what an international labour movement might look like if it were to be fully inclusive of workers in the informal economy.

Earth to Labor: Economic Growth is no Salvation, by Sean Sweeney,  asks how can unions, even in theory, be against economic growth? But the labour movement has much to gain by addressing, rather than avoiding, the ecological crisis and its causes.

Trade Union Education and the Organising Agenda, by Dave Spooner, looks at the tension between the democratic and participatory traditions of the workers’ education movement, and the training needs of trade unions for strategic organising, and sees new demands for political education.

News and events

Transnational industrial relations and the search for alternatives

The Work and Employment Research Unit at the University of Greenwich (London) is organising an international workshop on ‘Transnational industrial relations and the search for alternatives’ to be held on 31 May – 1 June. The event will feature speakers from unions, NGOs and universities from all around the world. Registration is £160 including dinner at the Trafalgar in Greenwich, or £80 for students. The keynote speakers will be Sarah Finke from the International Transport Workers’ Federation, and Guglielmo Meardi from Warwick Business School.

For details see

To register, please contact Lef Kretsos (

News and events

2012 International Summer School

The GLI 2012 International Summer School, on “The Political Agenda of the International Trade Union Movement”, in partnership with Unite the Union, is being held on 9-13 July 2012, Northern College, in the UK.

The summer school is an opportunity to debate and question what are, and what should be, the politics of the international trade union movement. Participating national unions and Global Union Federations are sending delegations of activists, with an emphasis on young trade union members.



News and events

Global Labour University – Masters Programme

Labour movement activists with a university degree are invited to apply for the Global Labour University (GLU) one-year masters programmes on globalisation for, being held in Germany and India. Applications have to be submitted  before 1 March 2012 and have to be endorsed by a trade union. The courses are held in English. Some scholarships are available. Know anyone who would be interested? Please see details at

News and events

Building Workplace Power in the Food & Drink Industry

GLI is working with Unite the Union and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) to develop new residential courses for workplace union representatives in the food, drink and tobacco sector. These are designed to build union power in the workplace, and build national and international coordination between workplace representatives. The food manufacturing sector – big companies who make the stuff you buy in supermarket chiller cabinets – is notorious for poverty wages, tough working conditions and precarious employment.

News and events

Precarious & Informal Transport Workers

GLI’s new preparatory project with the International Transportworkers’ Federation (ITF) is set to launch in September 2011, exploring the growth and impact of informal and precarious work on transport in three pilot cities in Africa and Asia, and the implications for the organising strategies of ITF affiliated unions.

GLI’s team is to be joined by Jane Logan, working with us as an intern researcher.  The internship is the result of our cooperation with the Institute for Development Policy & Management at Manchester University, where Jane recently completed her Masters degree.

News and events

Transport Workers in the Urban Informal Economy: Livelihood Profile

GLI is pleased to announce that our new research report Transport Workers in the Urban Informal Economy: Livelihood Profile is now available to view and download.

This report was commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to profile the size and significance of those working in the urban informal transport sector in developing and transition countries, and to make suggestions on what can be done to improve the life-chances and livelihoods of urban workers in the informal transport economy.