Trade Union Development

GLI has many years’ combined experience in the design, management and delivery of trade union development projects – in the UK, in Central & Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, along with regional and global multi-country projects. Many of these have been externally funded, by the ILO, EU, trade union and government agencies in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, USA, and by a wide range of trade union supportive foundations and trusts.

GLI specialises in projects for union capacity-building, organising strategy and organiser training, trade union tutor and education management training, curriculum and materials development, and political education.


GLI Manchester coordinated the Informal Transport Workers Project of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), launched in October 2013, co-financed by the ITF, FNV (Netherlands) and the ILO.

Before the project began, the GLI was commissioned to carry out research and write a baseline report for the International Transportworkers’ Federation on Precarious Labour and Decent Work in the Transport Industry. Its goal was to improve knowledge of the extent, nature and trends in precarious and informal employment in the major transport sectors, and to identify the experience of union organisation, representation and collective bargaining among precarious and informal workers. The report brings together findings from 51 unions in 38 countries.

The Informal Transport Workers Project that followed was led by ITF ‘mentor unions’ in Niger, Uganda, Nepal, Philippines and Colombia, and provided seminars, workshops and training programmes for ITF affiliates in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The project focused on:

–          Visibility of women workers in informal transport: mapping and raising the visibility of women workers in the informal transport economy, and increasing their participation in unions.

–          Leadership education and dialogue: raising awareness and mutual understanding between leaders and members of trade unions and transport workers in the informal economy.

–          Organising skills, training and technical support: providing training for activists in organising by and for informal transport workers, and technical advice in the design of union constitutions, procedures and structures for active participation by informal workers.

The report of activities from 2013-2014 can be found here.

News and updates of this project can be found at the Informal Workers Blog.


GLI currently supports the ITF’s Our Public Transport campaign, concentrating on work with ITF affiliated unions in Africa representing informal workers, and assessing the impact of “Bus Rapid Transit” in African cities.

In 2018, the GLI was commissioned to undertake preliminary research and write a baseline study report to assess:

  • The likely impact and implications of BRT for workers in Nairobi
  • Good practice examples of engagement and inclusion of workers’ organisations in the development of BRT policy and implementation by local, national and international decision-makers
  • The nature of the worker groups consulted
  • Consulation or negotiation processes
  • Outcomes of the inclusion of workers’ representatives in the design and operation of BR

This report can be found here.

The response to the preliminary report provided invaluable feedback and led to proposals for further research. These proposals formed the basis for further work which was developed in the full Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit Labour Impact Assessment Research Report, published in Jan 2019. This report assesses to a fuller extent, the potential impact of the introduction of Bus Rapid Transit on the workforce of Nairobi’s informal transport (‘matatu’) industry, and seeks to encourage the active engagement of matatu workers’ representatives in shaping a modern, accessible, efficient and environmentally sustainable transport system for the city.

As part of GLI’s continued work with the ITF’s Our Public Transport campaign, further research into the impact of BRT is being undertaken in Dakar, Senegal.

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