GLI International Summer School

An open space to debate and question what are, and what should be, the politics of the international trade union movement.

Trade unionists throughout the world are organising and fighting to defend workers’ livelihoods and rights against unprecedented attack from financial markets, corporations and governments, in the context of economic, ecological and political crisis. There are some causes for optimism: a new international agenda for strong industrial organisation, evidence of increasing corporate vulnerability to well-organised and targeted campaigns, and a new generation of activists emerging from unions and movements for democracy and climate justice.

Yet there is a political vacuum. Union members want an international political alternative to neo-liberalism and corporate capitalism, but little emerges beyond rhetoric. Many of the formal institutions of the international labour movement have retreated into a bland, lowest common denominator of politics, shy of even basic principles of social democracy, let alone any mention of democratic socialism. But this is precisely the time when radical political solutions – and a new sense of political direction for the international trade union movement – are needed.

The GLI International Summer School was a modest contribution towards this. In July 2012, the GLI organised the first school at Northern College UK, with an emphasis on young activists, on the Political Agenda of the International Trade Union Movement. It was more successful than anyone had hoped, and the participating unions quickly advised GLI to repeat the experience. It was an annual event between 2012-2016.

The school was supported by an expanding range of national unions in the UK and overseas and international trade union federations.

Participants were nominated by supporting unions or global union federations.

Since 2017, GLI Paris (ReAct) has held biennial francophone schools. The schools have focused on

  • building transnational trade union and community alliances
  • developing new forms of organisation to organise the unorganised
  • strengthening feminist demands in union organisation
  • fighting the rise of the far right
  • the importance of organising for the climate cause

Read more about the summer schools on the GLI Network page here. 

Past GLI Summer Schools

Archive pages for past Summer Schools can be found here:

International School 2023

International Summer School 2016

International Summer School 2015

International Summer School 2014

International Summer School 2013

International Summer School 2012