#ISS15 online archive now available

Click video above to watch the ISS15 short film!

After an exhausting but thoroughly inspiring week of plenary sessions, group discussions, workshops,  film screenings, an anarchist castle tour and a book launch, this year’s GLI International Summer School 2015 has come to an end.

You can catch up with videos, blog posts, presentations and further reading from almost all of this year’s plenary and discussion sessions at our revamped 2015 Summer School webpage here:

We encourage you to use the site as an educational resource for bringing the debates of the Summer School to your own trade unions and organisations. Please note that the site is a work in progress and we’ll continue to add extra content – blog entries, further reading, edited videos, etc. – as they become available.

News and events

Zhanaozen: The Unknown Tragedy

Kazakh police in Zhanaozen (Image: Campaign Kazakhstan)
Kazakh police in Zhanaozen (Image: Campaign Kazakhstan)

To commemorate the third anniversary of the Zhanaozen killings of 16 December 2011, the film Zhanaozen: the unknown tragedy (directed by Yulia Mazurova and shown at the 2013 GLI Summer School) has now been made available online.

The 30-minute documentary includes film of the police attack that the authorities wanted to hide, interviews with oil workers whose strike was ended by the massacre (at least 16 killed and 60 wounded) and scenes from the court in which activists were jailed. The film makers have asked supporters to distribute the link widely. Denis Bilunov, who worked on the film, said: “Thank you for the efforts you have made before. Since March 2013 screenings with public discussions took place in important venues: Helsinki, Berlin, Moscow, Warsaw, Kiev, Brussels, London, Geneva and Milan.”

You can view the English language version on Vimeo here:

And the original Russian language version on Youtube here:

Update, Friday 19th December:

It should be noted that one of the leaders of the workers’ strike in Zhanaozen, Roza Tuletaeva, who was detained, tortured and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for her involvement in the strike, was released on November 25th from the penal colony where she was incarcerated. This is a great victory, however the fight for justice for those murdered by the police in 2011 goes on.

For more information on the Justice for Kazakhstan Oil Workers campaign, see:


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.

News and events

Hard copies of the GLI 2012 Summer School report: “The Political Agenda of the International Trade Union Movement”

Hard copies of “The Political Agenda of the International Trade Union Movement” report from the Global Labour Institute 2012 International Summer School can be ordered from the web. GLI accepts no responsibility for the print quality, delivery time etc. Your feedback would be much appreciated if you order prints from If we get good feedback, we may use issuu and peecho for future GLI publishing. Tell us what you think.

News and events

A week as a rapporteur for the global trade union movement

Josiah Mortimer, one of the team of young GLI International Summer School rapporteurs, gives his impressions of the week.

News and events

GLI International Summer School – “an amazing week”

The GLI International Summer School successfully concluded on Friday 13 July after a week of intense debate and discussion on the politics of the international trade union movement. There were 84 participants from 26 countries, with delegations from four Global Union Federations and numerous national unions.

Summer School in plenary session

A wonderful week … bringing together the right people to envision and start to plan a stronger, transformative global labor movement. Priscilla Gonzalez, Domestic Workers United, USA. Company, comradeship and inspiration. Solidarity for ever! Scot Walker, Unite, UK. An Amazing week! Sarah Woolley, Bakers, Food & Allied Workers, UK.  I left the richer for attending. May all your contribution to the rights of workers and the masses of the working class people and peasants across the world bear fruit. Blessing Karumbidza, South Africa.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to meet so many people and be part of a group that is going to make the difference. Sandy Cijntje, Building & Woodworkers International, Curacao.  Rich and inspiring discussions. Krastyo Petkov, CITUB, Bulgaria.  One of the best union events I have ever been to. Walton Pantland, Union Solidarity International.  An enormous and very successful engagement for our first international Summer School.…”Ce n’est qu’un début, continuons le combat!”. Vasco Pedrina, Unia, Switzerland.  A fantastic event … it’s just a pity that we can’t send all our people on courses like this! … Susan George hit the nail on the head when she said that although we know we are on the side of the angels, we don’t defend our ideals and fight the battle of ideas. And yet we have such a depth of knowledge and experience in our movement that we need to more fully exploit. Bert Schouwenburg, GMB.

Summer School Discussion Group

Several of the participants are now posting their own reports from the school. See for example (English), (Bulgarian), (French), and posts on the GLI Facebook page.

We’re very sorry that some people couldn’t make it because of airfares and the disgraceful immigration policies and procedures of the British government. Many others had to be disappointed when we ran out of physical space at the venue.

The team of rapporteurs are now busy editing the thousands of words of notes, presentations and written contributions, aiming to produce a comprehensive education and discussion document to capture the event. A big thankyou to all who made it possible, particularly Unite, RMT, Unia and the brilliant staff at Northern College.

There are now many ideas for future activity – international summer schools, research projects, and plans for online learning and debate. Watch this space…

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

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.