GLU Alumni Summer School 2018 in Brazil

Day 1 – Sunday, 12th August!

By David O’Connell, United Kingdom

The alumni summer school started off today in the beautiful Salvetti Praia hotel. After exploring the local beach and surrounding areas the alumni convened in the convention center to discuss the days events. The summer school broke into four workshops, discussing increasing involvement in the Global Labour Column, Organising women workers, minimum wages and inequality, and researching global supply chains.

The first part of our alumni general meeting discussed the allocation of funds to emergency requests. Inspired by the amazing success of our solidarity fund raffle at the conference which raised around 350 euros, it was agreed that we would work to support similar initiatives at the upcoming conferences and workshops, as well as looking into using paypal/croudsourcing to raise money for particular cases. we tabled the election of representatives for the following meeting, but left the room with a sense of optimisim that we would soon be raising serious

After lunch, professor Christoph Scherrer provided a summary of the history, structure, and current situation of the Global Labour University, from its first inception in 2001 to its realization in 2004. The summer school heard about the diversification of funding which will be sought over the coming years and participants began to propose future avenues for support within their own personal networks.

Following on from a presentation of the research projects made yesterday, the school engaged in an enthusiastic discussion about possible research projects. An astonishing 12 proposals were made, eventually reduced to 10. Themes proposed stretched from analyzing trade union responses to changes in labour legislation, to precarious labour and the minimum wage in South Africa.

All in all, the day was extremely thought provoking, informative, and energizing, but more importantly; practical. Solid ideas and proposals came out for building the strength of the GLU and using our resources to advance the labour struggle. Everyone is looking forward to the next few days.



GLU Alumni Summer School 2017

Day 5 – The final day!

By David O’Connell, United Kingdom

The day began with participants breaking into three groups to discuss;

  • The Global Labour Column and other GLU networking opportunities, facilitated by Helen Russell, UK
  • GLU online courses and the new MOOC on Fair Wage Strategies in a global Economy, facilitated by Tandiwe Gross, Switzerland
  • Collaborating and developing new joint research projects, which was a student led workshop.

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Pics: Discussing future projects

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2017

Day Four – The Penultimate Day!

By Prakashnee Govender, South Africa

Day four of the summer school began like most, with warm weather coupled with lively chats over a mostly spicy breakfast. Despite the intense partying social networking (!) from the previous night, most participants were able to dive right into the first activities of the day, which began with two parallel sessions:

  • The right to strike in law and practice, with Reingard Zimmer of the Berlin School of Economics and Law.
  • Community (UNITE case study) and informal economy organising, with Helen Russell, GLU Alumni from the UK and Sudhir Katiyar of the Prayas Centre for Labour Research and Action in India.

I attended the session on community and informal economy. While both presentations focused on innovative organising methods, the contexts, challenges and approaches could not have been more diverse.

Helen outlined the community organising model adopted by UNITE, the largest union in the UK. UNITE’s community section has recruited nearly 10,000 community members who are not in employment, thereby unifying workplace with community struggles. Services provided include legal support, jobs search and welfare counselling. There have also been various campaigns including on housing, anti-racism and austerity. Continue reading

GLU Alumni Summer School 2017

Summer School Day 3: Meeting the workers!

By Johanna Lauber, Germany

The third day of Summerschool was a special day: with the help of local students and unionists our summer school team had organized an excursion to meet protesting workers and union officials in the booming industrial area Gurgaon which has seen massive strikes and riots in the past years. If you want to find out more about Gurgaon and its workers’ struggles you can have a look at Gurgaon Workers News, a project that tries to not only connect workers in Gurgaon but also to inform the rest of the world about workers’ resistance in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

In less than an hour we were carried by bus from our peaceful countryside resort to the industrial town of Gurgaon which had little in common with my idea of a town. Huge modern buildings emerged out of dusty streets and construction zones and in between street vendors, tiny stores, workshops, and now and then a dog or a cow. The shiny facades had familiar names on it: Google, Deloitte, Hyundai and of course Maruti Suzuki. Maruti had been the first to open a car plant in the former agricultural region and also our first stop was related to Maruti Suzuki. Unionised workers of one of Maruti Suzuki’s subsidiaries, some of them working for the factory for more than 15 years, had illegally been defined as contract workers and were told that their contract won’t be renewed. These workers had been employed as exhaust manufacturers.

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2017

Day 2 – The Day’s Activities

By Hans Awude, Ghana

The weather was very friendly and the alumni participated very well in the day’s activities. Three parallel sessions were held simultaneously as follows;

  • New Trade negotiations: Implications for Labour, handled by Christoph Scherrer
  • Social Movement Alliances, handled by Eddie Cottle
  • Strategic Corporate Campaign Strategies in Global Supply Chain by Mike Fichter, Jeremy Anderson (ITF), Rhea Chatterjee (ITF)

In the panel discussions late in the afternoon, the three groups presented the outcome of their group deliberations with contributions and questions. This session was moderated by Madelaine Moore. Very interesting it was because there were new experiences that could not have been missed.

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The most interesting part of the day was the panel discussion on the current political situation in India from political, economy point of view and rise of right-wing populism. The speakers who did justice to the topic were; Teesta Setalved, Surajit Mazumdar and Pradeep Shinde and the session was moderated by alumni member Vishal Thakare.

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2017

Welcome to Summer School!

By Helen Russell, United Kingdom

After a successful GLU Conference the summer school participants left the hustle and bustle of Delhi to travel out of the city and into the countryside. As we left the urban surroundings, the smog cleared and revealed a rural landscape of fields, agriculture, Hindu temples and small villages with traders selling their wares.

We arrived at our accommodation near Manesar in the Haryana region and the summer school started with a welcome from Professor Christoph Scherrer, who gave an update on developments within the GLU network. The school was introduced to the alumni organisers of the conference and Madi Moore from Australia/Germany and Gabriel Pinto from Brazil gave a welcome and presented the programme. Each participant introduced themselves and one of the student reps, Johanna Lauber (Germany) also made herself known to the school and encourage people to stand in the election for student reps. The alumni organising group encouraged the summer school participants to be as active as possible in the school and some alumni volunteered to be bloggers and panel moderators.

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2016

Day 7 – back in Jo’burg and final day

Written by Harald Kröck

On the last day for most of us in S.A. we went back by bus early in the morning from the lodge to Jo’burg. All GLU Alumni participants were invited to join the workshop „Trade Unions and University Education: a Colloquium of Numsa Social Theory and GLU Alumni“, at WITS Club, WITS University (click here for the programme).

Arriving there around 11 am we were just in time for Panel II “Personal stories linking social theory and experiences beyond the course”.

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