Ukraine: Support workers’ struggle for labour and union rights

On 19 July 2022, in the middle of a war, the Ukrainian parliament adopted Draft Law 5371, which abolished labour rights for 94% of Ukrainian workers. This law introduced extreme liberalisation of labour relations, depriving workers of union protection. 

The Ukrainian trade unions actively opposed this anti-labour draft law for two years. But despite many warnings from the International Trade Union Confederation, the European Trade Union Confederation, and the International Labour Organization, the Ukrainian parliament adopted it. 

This new law will lead to a massive violation of workers’ rights — and Ukrainian unions are asking for our help and support in telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to veto the law.

Please sign this petition to show support for the Ukrainian workers today.
News and events


International Trade Union Organising

GLI Manchester is running an “International Trade Union Organising” weekend course from April 24-26th at Northern College, Barnsley. Register before March 26th to secure yourself a place!

This course will use recent and current case studies of international organising in transnational companies or global supply chains to analyse and discuss success and failure to build truly effective union power. It will take on questions such as how do we tackle the global corporations? What organising approaches and tactics work best? What does real solidarity mean in an industrial context?

Young activists are particularly encouraged to apply, and GLI strives to have a 50:50 gender balance on all courses.

Download the course brochure here.

News and events

GLI Weekend Courses

GLI Manchester is offering three weekend courses in 2015, open to trade union activists, staff and others interested in the international dimension to trade unionism. Each course may be taken alone, or participants may wish to attend all three. Every course involves top-line contributors and discussion leaders from around the world. Download the GLI 2015 Weekend Courses brochure here.

Course titles and dates are as follows:


The courses are designed for trade union activists and others interested in the international dimension to trade unionism. Each course is based on discussion, group work, and practical exercises and will be held at Northern College, Barnsley.

Young activists are particularly encouraged to apply, and GLI strives to have a 50:50 gender balance on all courses.

News and events

GLI Manchester Brochure: Who We Are | What We Do

GLI Brochure
Click to view

We’re pleased to unveil our new “Who We Are & What We Do” GLI Manchester brochure. You can view and download the brochure online here.

A special thanks is due to Josiah Mortimer, a guest blogger at this year’s Summer School, whose article “GLI International Summer School 2014: A Beacon for Union Renewal” appears in the brochure.

If you would like to request printed copies of the GLI Manchester brochure, or of our one-page leaflet, please contact gli-uk[at] Please note that we only have a limited number of printed copies available.

News and events

GLI Summer School Discussion Paper: Key Questions & Issues

Decent Work IUF
Photo: Unilever Lipton Tea Campaign, IUF.

We’re pleased to announce that the GLI Summer School Discussion Paper: Key Issues and Questions is now available to download. We hope that this paper will provide ample material to fuel the ongoing debates of the GLI international summer schools. The paper is based on the discussions held at the 2013 Summer School.

All materials from the 2014 Summer School are available on the International Summer School 2014 webpage.

ISS14 News and events

International Summer School 2014: online archive now available!


#ISS14: one of the most inspiring events in the international trade union calendar!

This year’s hugely successful GLI International Summer School took place from Monday 7th – Friday 11th July. The School saw over 80 labour movement delegates from 28 countries descend upon Northern College in Barnsley, UK for an inspiring week of debate, discussion and education on the situation of the international labour movement and its politics in the 21st century.

You can now access a permanent online archive of videos, articles, presentations, suggested reading lists and photos from the Summer School on the International Summer School 2014 webpage, as well as on the USi website.

This archived content is aimed at providing an educational resource for trade union activists across the world. We hope it will provide a platfrom for the inspiring and challenging debates and discussions of #ISS14 to continue.

We would like to thank the participants and speakers of #ISS14, as well as the brilliant staff at Northern College, for making this year’s Summer School the best to date. We would also like to thank our funders, in particular the Berger Marks Foundation, for making the Summer School possible.


#ISS14: Public services under attack – international austerity and the fight-back

Speaking to the Global Labour Institute’s 2014 International Summer School, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of Public Services International, gave an account of the struggles public service workers are facing. This article draws on her speech to delegates in Tuesday’s opening plenary.

Public service jobs used to be considered the gold standard in much of the world. Well paid, good pension, decent holidays and solid trade union rights. In an era of neoliberalism however, these previously ‘most formal of formal workers’ are facing the kinds of attacks previously only associated with the most ruthless companies.

International Struggles

There’s an ideological background to this. Labour market and union ‘reform’ has been factor in almost all post-crash countries. In South Korea, the government has recently initiated the most violent attack on public services – derecognising unions in each sector. Privatisation of the rail industry and the mass firing of union activists have turned the country into what one delegate called ‘a war zone’ for workers.

Public Services International, the Global Union Federation for public service workers, is used to privatisation battles – organising in industries which are often publicly funded and subsidised, but increasingly privately owned.

In the US, the Supreme Court last week ruled that there’s no obligation for care workers to pay union dues to unions collectively bargaining for them. These workers often work alone. They are now even more isolated – especially if their unions become toothless in the face of the court decision.

And internationally, at the last ILO conference, for first time delegates couldn’t reach a conclusion on the centrality of the right to strike – despite convention 87 of the ILO convention deeming it fundamental – because employers were so strongly against. It’s a frightening turn for workers of all sectors, as that is one of the only legal bases unions have on the global scale.

But there is some good news. The UN Women’s organisation recently recognised the role of unions as key to addressing the problems of women.

Moreover, until recently trade unions were previously not allowed to participate in UN discussions on migration. Now, after years of struggling from PSI and others, they can. With migration becoming a vehicle for new kinds of slavery, it’s an important milestone.

For public service workers, the water campaigns in the UN are equally important. In 2010, water was deemed a human right, providing the legal background for the massive 2013 struggles in Europe for water to be publicly owned – many of which won, in Paris and elsewhere.

And in the IMF, Christine Lagarde has recently said austerity is creating more injustice and poses a threat to democracy.

A turning point?

The ruling class, then, is getting scared. We are at critical point of class conflict. In response to a global ruling class, unions must likewise organise internationally, not just in one workplace. The welfare state wasn’t won in one shop floor but by the entire working class.

Multinational capital has a strategy. Unions can’t afford to navel-gaze. Whether in care homes, railway stations or outsourced water plants, public service workers in today’s climate of privatisation, cuts and union-busting know this better than ever.

Josiah Mortimer is a guest blogger for the Global Labour Institute’s third International Summer School for trade unionists at Northern College this week. The views expressed in this article are therefore solely those of the author in his personal capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of GLI.

You can follow all of the conference online on the GLI site, through Union Solidarity International, and on Twitter: #ISS14.


International Summer School 2014 Begins – Welcome!

Today marks the start of the third Global Labour Institute International Summer School at Northern College in Barnsley.

Over 80 labour movement delegates from 28 countries have descended on Barnsley for an inspiring week of debate, discussion and education on the situation of the international labour movement and its politics in the 21st century.

Workers in 2014 face enormous challenges, from austerity to ecological destruction and political turmoil. #ISS14 hopes to provide a platform for debate as to how to deal with these global crises and to inspire a new generation of global union activists.

The International Summer School this year comes at a time as Britain is preparing for potentially its largest day of strike action since the General Strike of 1926, which will be taking place this Thursday.

Our team of conference rapporteurs and Union Solidary International (USi) will be live-blogging and reporting on the Summer School over the course of the week, both on the GLI and USi blogs. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions – whether in person or on Twitter.

Make sure to follow and contribute to the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #ISS14 and following @GLI_UK and @USILive.

A huge welcome from the GLI team to those who have travelled far and wide for the Summer School!

We hope you have an excellent week and come away feeling re-energised and ready to take on the threats to workers across the globe.


News and events

ITF Launches New Guide: “Organising Precarious Transport Workers”

The Global Labour Institute is very pleased to announce the launch of a new ITF guide – “Organising Precarious Transport Workers” – which is aimed at helping unions reach out to informal transport workers. The guide was written by GLI Manchester as part of our ongoing work with the ITF in support of precarious and informal transport workers.

The booklet is available for download in English, German, French, Arabic and Spanish, and it is hoped that they will soon be available in printed form

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.