GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 4 – Thursday, 4th April

Written by Gaye Yilmaz

The fourth and last day of the summer school was devoted to the words and experiences directly from alumni themselves. In the morning session four alumni made brief presentations on strikes and resistances from their countries. A successful PSI campaign for the right to health, the Chineese labour crackdown and recent conditions of Brazilian laborers were among them. This was followed by the One World Seminar where five alumni from Nepal, Kenya, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Argentina shared both political conditions and social and political struggles in their countries.

The successful PSI campaign called “My health is not for sale” was presented by alumni Baba Aye from Nigeria. The PSI campaign was based on

  • – Resolution of 29th World Congress, Durban 2012
  • – SDGs and ComHEEG
  • – PSI Global Health and Social Care Task Force (HSSTF) meeting and 12/12/2016 launch of the PSI Human Right to Health Global Campaign which was supported by outside organizations such as sister trade unions outside the health and social sector, Civil Society Organisations committed to public health and health workers’ rights Patients organisations, international, regional and national forums, Progressive minded academics/organic intellectuals. The partial success and failures of the campaign can be summarized as follows:

a) The Right to Health newsletter launched in the second half of 2017 as a bi-monthly

b) Some challenges faced, but has been resilient

c) Changing nature of its use – more focus on policy, without distracting from its more “newsy” role

d) Flowing from the 2018 HSSTF resolution, will be quarterly as well

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 3 – Wednesday, 3rd April

Written by Gaye Yilmaz

In the morning session of the third day there was a panel-discussion titled “Labour Campaigns: Advantages and Disadvantages” which was among the ones most liked. Presenters Frauke Banse and Alexander Gallas compared trade union strikes and labour campaigns for different aspects. Frauke Banse defined labour campaigns as follows:

  • Building up political/ societal pressure on employer, policy makers
  • Adressing single issues such as: contractual issues not (yet) covered by CBA negotiations, socio-economic issues (housing, taxation, public services, trade relations etc.), environmental issues (pollution in communities)
  • Involving diverse sets of activities: demonstrations, press work, street actions, petitions, addressing politicians, community involvement, strike, ….
  • Defined end – once demands are met.

Dr.Banse also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of labour campaigns:

Advantages

  • Broadening the agenda of unions (beyond bread and butter issues)
  • Broadening the understanding of “Interest“ of the constituency – „narrow“ interests of DIRECT social reproduction or broader, long term interests (eg. FTAs) or solidarity interests
  • Broadening the constituency – using the campaign topic to organise and engage (who is a “worker“?)
  • Potentials for coalitions with societal groups (NGOs, social movements, community groups) – broadening of associational and societal power
  • Potential for inter-union coalitions (organisational power)

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 2 – Tuesday, 2nd April – plenary session on Cooperative Europe

Written by MUTTAQA YUSHA’U

In this parallel session, David O’ Connell moderated the session. The presenter for the session was Alex Bird. The topic focused on trade union organsing within the cooperatives in European countries. The cooperative Europe provides a model of trade union organsing workers into business, as guaranteed by the ILO recommendation R193 promotion of cooperative recommendation, 2002 (No. 193). The presenter alluded that the cooperatives are unique in outlook, as members of the cooperative are stakeholders at various level. This multilayered nature of the cooperatives allows for collective ownership, and a process of accelerating economic development.

The ownership structure of the cooperatives prescribes employee stock ownership through an employee-owner program where worker could have ownership interest in the company, and thereby share in the profits. The cooperative ownership built workers power in the workplace and in the ownership vis-à-vis the decision making structures. Thus, the cooperative provides a model of worker ownership within the context of the companies’ structure in contradistinction to the shareholder value of retrench and redistribute obtained in the financial cooperation.

The presenter recounted that trade union support to cooperatives was unimpressive. As such, there was objection from both the left wing and right wing movements. This objection is espoused as follows “workers control means castration of the trade union movement, means total collaboration as far as working class are concerned” Arthur scargill.

GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 2 – Tuesday, 2nd April – Parallel research sessions– Representation and collective action of workers in the platform economy

Written by Rhea Chatterjee

At this year’s GLU alumni summer school, a research group on the representation and collective action of workers in the platform economy was set up. The research group will develop a body of research that, using case studies, explores:

  • Regulatory framework legislating the operation of platform economies and their working conditions
  • Dominant types of platform work
  • General employment and working conditions of workers in the platform economy
  • Representation and collective action initiatives by workers in the platform economy

Dr. Melisa Serrano moderated the session, and through her presentation the group engaged in debates around the subject. Key debates included the definitions around:

  • What is the platform economy?
  • Has there really been much change in the forms of work as a result of the platform economy?
  • Who would be considered a worker in the platform economy?
  • The commodification of labour and private life through the growth of the platform economy

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 2 – Tuesday, 2nd April – Research Group Session on Excluded Labour

Written by Bidisha Mahanta

IMG_8973In this parallel session on research groups, Dr Gaye Yilmaz moderated the discussion on the possible research avenues on excluded labour. We started the discussion by discussing the different forms of labour that can be classified (in Turkey) as circle economy- the relatively secure, the precarious workers and the jobless mass. In this parallel session, the focus is on the jobless mass, also called as excluded labour, and the distinction from the other worker’s groups (as shown in the picture below) are also discussed throughout the session.

picture

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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 1 – Monday, 1st April – Academic Labour under pressure

Written by James Lazou

The summer school heard three presentations about the industrial and political pressures on academic freedoms around the world. The session, moderated by Dr Gaye Yilmaz covered the experiences of academics in three countries – Turkey, Germany and India.

Academics for Peace Petition – Turkey

In the first presentation, Tolga Toren described the severe attacks on academic freedom in Turkey from the authoritarian Government of President Recep Erdogan following the launch of an academic Peace Petition in 2016.

In this petition academics had spoken out against Erdogan’s brutal military operations on Kurdish communities that killed more than 2000 people and led to many cases of human rights abuses. Erdogan has also used the war to reconfigure the economic structure of the country by expropriating property and land and giving this to pro Government private companies.

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