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.
Pics: Discussing future projects
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
7 October 2016
The Global Labour University’s Summer School held from 2 – 7 October 2016 considered the unfolding struggle by students in South Africa for free quality education. This struggle comes after similar struggles in the United Kingdom, Germany and Chile.
In 2015 in the aftermath of the Marikana Massacre something shifted inexorably at South African universities. Students protested against institutions’ language policies, high fees, structural inequalities and colonial symbols. It was working-class youth who are in the forefront of the struggle. The victory in favour of insourcing at the universities is a monumental advance during a period when the working class is on the defensive.
The Global Labour University’s Summer School 2016 supports the demands of the students for free quality education and we encourage the developing relationship between the students, academic staff, the labour movement and broader society. We believe that building such alliances will assist in the transformation towards a just society.