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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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

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


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.


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GLU Alumni Summer School 2019 in Germany

Day 1 – Monday, 1st April – Session on “How and why to conduct GLU research?”

By Bidisha Mahanta

The session was moderated by Gaye Yilmaz, Edlira Xhafa and Mellisa Serrano to discuss about the development of the alumni research projects of the Global Labour University. The discussion started with understanding the past GLU alumni research projects and it’s distinction from purely academic work- to go forward into future projects, it was important to briefly explain the design of the research projects. To further understand the specificity of the GLU research, it was emphasized that the GLU research is similar to academic research in its scientific nature and labour orientation but differs in its approach to diversify the research and also have an insider perspective of the working class.

It was agreed that the research should be led by one lead GLU professor, supported by research coordinators, who can also handle the logistics of a cross country research project with multiple research components/issues. Short articles can form the starting point of the research- background of the labour movements in specific countries, multiple sectors and issues of collective bargaining, right to strike, etc. There will be a presentation of the research in future AARS summer schools/conferences and the alumni and trade unionists can benefit from the findings and strategies of different countries. Continue reading

GLU Alumni Summer School 2018 in Brazil

Day 4 – Wednesday, 15th August!

By Moulshri Kanodia, India

The last day of the ‘Alumni Applied Research School’ started with a thought stimulating presentation followed by an enriching discussion by Simone Claar (University of Kassel, Germany) on ‘Climate Change/Renewable Energy and Labour’. The discussion entailed exchange of ideas and strategies that trade unionists, labour activists and academicians should undertake to address the questions of ‘Green’ jobs in the future. How can trade unions play an active role in transforming workplaces and securing decent work in sustainable future.

AARS 2018 sm

Summer school participants 2018

The second morning session was organized by Ana Paula Melli, Cyntia Machado, Mirodrag Pantovic and Paulo Malerba where they introduced the group to the trade union movement in Brazil with a case study of CUT Brazil and the political atmosphere in the country with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (from Partido dos Trabalhadores; The Workers’ Party) in prison on framed corruption charges and the next election scheduled in October 2018. It was an interesting discussion with the group chipping in with their experiences of similar neo-liberal political forces in their home countries and providing a way forward. Continue reading