Activity report (2000)

The present report covers the period from April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001. In this period, the WIEGO project has been a major, and growing, field of activity. The two other main fields of activity of the GLI, through its Chair, have been the International Federation of Workers’ Education Association (IFWEA) (as president) and the Swiss labour movement (mostly in a consulting capacity). Other projects have had to be postponed and can only be initiated or resumed to the extent that the GLI develops further capacities.The GLI website has been in place since September of last year. It contains a great variety of information, studies and presentations related to labour movement interests, historical material, etc. Its webmaster, Mary Sayer, continues working on it as her time, and that of the GLI Chair, permits.
Paul Germanotta has also made an important contribution to the work of the GLI with his study on solidarity action, which is now completed.

Meetings and Publications
In the period under review, the GLI Chair participated in the meetings listed below:

In 2000:
(1) April 5: Antipode Editorial Board Meeting, Pittsburgh
(2) April 15: Gewerkschaft Bau- und Industrie Jugendkurs “Internet und internationale Gewerkschaftsarbeit”, Zürich (speech to the theme, unpublished)
(3) April 25: FGTB Liège-Huy-Waremme. Colloque: “De la PMEisation aux multinationales: Quelle action syndicale dans les enterprises?”, Liège (speech: Le mouvement syndical face à la mondialisation – unpublished)
(4) May 1: 1. Mai Komitee Thun: May Day Address (unpublished)
(5) May 9: SABZ/CEO, Réunion préparatoire, Institut syndical, Bern
(6) May 18: Aargauischer Gewerkschaftsbund, Jahresversammlung, Gränichen (speech: Internationale Zusammenarbeit: Gewerkschaften in einer globalisierten Welt – unpublished)
(7) May 21-23: Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO): Second Annual Meeting, Cambridge MA, US, (speech: Organization and Representation in the Informal Economy – unpublished)
(8) May 24: Seminar: “A Dialogue on Informal Sector Organizations – Developing a New Research Agenda” (Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT and WIEGO), Cambridge MA, US
(9) May 25-26: Seminar: “Rethinking the Informal Sector: a Dialogue Between Academics and Activists” (Radcliffe Public Policy Center and WIEGO), Cambridge MA, US
(10) May 29: SABZ/CEO: Réunion préparatoire, Institut syndical, Bern
(11) June 5: GLI Board Meeting, Geneva
(12) June 10: International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR), Annual Meeting, Geneva
(13) June 19-22: International Restructuring Education Network (IRENE), Conference: “Organizing Women Workers in the Informal Sector: Initiatives and Alternatives to Self-Employment”, Mülheim, Germany
(14) June 27-30: Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) event, press conference, panel discussion, ILO, Geneva
(15) June 29: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Conference: “Visible Hands: Taking Responsibility for Social Development” (participation in a panel discussion on regulating big business, presentation on: Corporate social responsibility, trade unions and NGOs – unpublished)
(16) August 29-31: 20th Anniversary Celebration of NSZZ Solidarność, Gdansk
(17): September 5-8: Visit to Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT), Casablanca
(18) September 7: ICFTU: Réunion de la francophonie syndicale, Casablanca
(19) October 30 – November 3: 12th IUF Latin American Regional Conference, Cordoba, Argentina
(20) November 25: International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) and Institute for Employment Rights (IER): Conference: “Globalisation, International Labour Standards and Trade Union Rights for the New Millenium”, London (presentation on an international perspective on labour rights – unpublished)
(21) December 3-4: WIEGO Organization and Representation Program, Advisory Group Meeting, Geneva

In 2001:
(22) January 8–13: Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Québec (FTQ): Session de perfectionnement du Bureau de la FTQ, Lac-à-l’Eau-Claire, Québec (speech: L’ordre du jour syndical face à la mondialisation – on GLI website)
(23) January 26: ATTAC, Conférence internationale “L’Autre Davos” (Atelier: Mondialisation du capital et ses implications pour les organisations syndicales: vers un nouveau internationalisme syndical), Zürich (speech to the theme – unpublished)
(24) February 14-16: 10th IUF Asia and Pacific Regional Conference, Manila (speech on Union renewal and effectiveness under conditions of globalization – unpublished)
(25) March 9-10: Diskussions-Retraite (chaired by Vasco Pedrina, President of the Swiss Building and Industrial Workers’ Union (GBI/SIB) and by Paul Rechsteiner, President of the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB/USS), Rotschuo

In addition to these meetings, the GLI Chair participated in the following meetings in other capacities:

In his capacity of president of the International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA):

In 2000:
(26) May 5: Euro-WEA Executive Committee, Paris
(27) June 16-18: Euro-WEA Executive Committee, Annual General Meeting and Seminar: “Workers’ Education and Civil Society”, Budapest (presentation: Civil society – a contested territory – on GLI website)
(28) July 14-16: Association Club Mohamed Ali de la Culture Ouvrière (ACMACO), 7ème Université d’été: “Les defis sociaux dans la zone euro-méditerranéenne”, Gammarth (speech: Mondialisation et mouvement ouvrier: impacts subis, ripostes engages – unpublished)
(29) August 10: Meeting with ABF Executive, Stockholm
(30) August 22-26: IFWEA Executive Committee and 18th General Conference, Helsinki
(31) October 15-16: Euro-WEA Executive Committee, Sofia
(32) October 21: Fondazzjoni Ġuże’ Ellul Mercer: Reggie Miller Seminar, Malta (speech on trade union co-operation – unpublished)
(33) November 18-22: IFWEA/Euro-WEA Seminar: “Workers’ Education in a Globalized World”, George Meany Center, Silver Springs, Maryland (speech on Presentation of IFWEA and upcoming plans” – unpublished)

In 2001:
(34) February 3-4: Euro-WEA Executive Committee, London
(35) February 17: Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) and IFWEA Seminar: “Challenge of Globalization to Trade Unions”, Manila (speech to the theme, published in Workers’ Education, May 2001)
(36) February 24-25: IFWEA Executive Committee, Dublin
In his capacity of Board member of the Institut Universitaire d’Etudes du Développement (IUED): Board meetings: April 12, July 5, October 24, December 6, 2000

In his capacity of Board member of the Collège du Travail, Geneva: Board meetings: September 29, December 15, 2000

On October 18, 2000, the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB/USS) asked the GLI Chair to represent it on the Board of the SOLIFONDS. In that capacity, he attended a Board meeting on November 14, 2000. The SOLIFONDS is the solidarity organization of the Swiss labour movement, which supports short-term projects and intervenes in emergencies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Its Board (15 members) is composed of representatives of the SGB/USS, the Social-Democratic Party and twelve solidarity NGOs.

In 2000, the SGB/USS decided to establish a Trade Union Institute, for education and training. The GLI Chair was asked to participate in a working party to develop proposals for an international curriculum and contacts with similar institutions in other countries. This working party met twice (see above). The Institute has since been established and the GLI Chair has been invited to lecture on international trade unionism in April 2002.

Publications in the period under review authored by the GLI Chair, in addition to those mentioned above, also include:

Globalización y la politica del sindicalismo, in: “Imaginación democrática y globalización”, edited by José M. Roca, Ediciones Catarata, Madrid 2001 (also available on the GLI website).

“Trade Unions and NGOs: A Necessary Partnership for Social Development”, Civil Society and Social Movements Programme Paper Nr. 1, UNRISD, Geneva, 31 p., June 2000 (also available as a GLI paper publication and on the GLI website)

Qu’est-ce que le socialisme? – réponse à Christoph Blocher. This is a reply to the leader of the Swiss People’s Party, representing the right wing in Swiss politics. Blocher distributed a pamphlet last year (320,000 copies in the three national languages) entitled “Freedom rather than socialism” in which he argues that, because of their common reliance on the State, socialism, nazism and communism are closely related and represent variants of the same ideology. Unsurprisingly, the pamphlet contains grotesque distortions and falsehoods. In the absence of any significant reaction from the Left, the GLI Chair wrote a reply which was first published on December 13, 2000 by the independent socialist weekly Domaine Public in Lausanne, and distributed as an insert in the daily Le Temps (Geneva) with a circulation of approximately 52,000. (Le Temps had also distributed Blocher’s pamphlet). A German translation was published on April 26, 2001 in P.S., the weekly of the Zurich Social-Democratic Party (with a circulation of 8,500). Both the French and German version are available on the GLI website (under Helvétiques in French and Helvetica in German). Press reactions (in the original French and German), as well as an irate rejoinder by a Communist historian (in French), can be seen on the Domaine Public website:

Consultancies, Networks
The GLI Chair facilitated the affiliation of UNIA, the Swiss service sector union, to the IUF for its membership in hotels and restaurants. UNIA was jointly created by the building workers’ (GBI/SIB) and metalworkers’ (SMUV/FTMH) unions to organize the service sectors (distribution and catering) where union density is very low. It is the only union in the SGB/USS with growing membership.

The GLI is an affiliate of the IFWEA (since its inception), and the GLI Chair has served as IFWEA President since 1992, having been elected at that time in his capacity of IUF General Secretary. At the IFWEA Executive Committee meeting in Dublin last February, he indicated that he wished to withdraw from that position as from the first EC meeting in 2002: in order to facilitate the transition to a new leadership at the next General Conference in 2004 and, he hopes, to become more available for GLI projects (such as the WIEGO programme).

The GLI Chair continues to serve on the Editorial Board of Antipode (see Activities Report 1999).

Projects Completed in 2000
International Solidarity Project. Paul Germanotta has completed his international survey on the status and conditions of solidarity strikes (see Activities Report 1999). The manuscript (approx. 59,000 words or 170 pages) is entitled: “Protecting worker solidarity action: The need for inspired imagination within the International Labor Organization”, and is available to GLI Board members on request in the form of a computer print-out. It now appears that it will probably not be published by the ILO/ACTRAV, which commissioned it, at least not before 2002. However, the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) in London has indicated interest in publishing a shorter version (approx. 16,000 words) as a joint publication with the GLI. This publication is currently in preparation.

Paul Germanotta has also co-authored an article with Tonia Novitz (University of Bristol): Globalisation and the right to strike: the case for European-level protection of secondary action, to appear in the International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations.

GLI Website. The GLI website is now in place ( It contains sections in English, French, German, Spanish and Scandinavian languages, with basic information about the GLI (mission statement, Board and Advisory Board members, annual reports), GLI publications in their original language, outside contributions, links to other websites (labour organizations, WIEGO, etc.), reference to resources and the full text of Edo Fimmen’s “Labour’s Alternative” with an introduction by the GLI Chair and by Sigvard Nyström, former IUF president. Mary Sayer (Manchester), in co-operation with the GLI, continues to maintain the site.

Ongoing Projects
WIEGO Organization and Representation Program: In May 2000, the WIEGO Steering Committee appointed the GLI Chair as co-ordinator of its Organization and Representation Program (ORP). His first activities report to the WIEGO Steering Committee is attached. His main role in the period under review has been:

(1) assisting in providing a sense of direction and a clear objectives for the program;
(2) identifying existing organizing efforts in different countries;
(3) assisting WIEGO in gaining recognition and acceptance for the ORP from ITSs and the ICFTU in view of a possible co-operation;
(4) maintaining relations with relevant ILO departments;
(5) organizing the meetings of the ORP Advisory Group.

On the basis of the experience of the first year, which assumed a one-third commitment on the part of the GLI, the GLI has applied for a budget based on a half-time commitment for the coming three-year period (2001-2004).
Labour History Website. Work on this project is temporarily suspended.
Future Projects

No work has been done on the projects mentioned in the last Annual Report (book on the international labour movement, brochure on the future of the labour movement, history of the IUF in Asia 1961-1991), either for lack of time or lack of finance, or both.

The prospect for 2001-2002 appears to be the continuation of ongoing projects.

Advisory Board
There has been no change in the Advisory Board in the period under review.

Aidan White has expressed his regrets at not being able to participate in the meetings of the Board and in the activities of the GLI and has agreed to join the Advisory Board instead of serving on the Board.

Jeanne Schneuwly has continued as a part time (3 days a week) clerical assistant. Her duties, in addition to assisting with the WIEGO project and general office work, include cataloguing the GLI library on an Excel program. Over half of this work has now been completed.

As in the past period, Oscar and Nora Payuyo have been responsible for cleaning and maintenance.

Correspondence stayed at approximately the same level as the previous reporting period (about 60 letters a month on average).

Financial Report and Administration
Ms. Mariane Grobet-Wellner has kept the GLI accounts in the period under review. The accounts for 2000 will be audited later this year, as last year by Mr. J.J. Mermier (CIFISOR S.A.).

A statement of income and expenditure and a balance sheet for 2000 are below:

Download accounts:
Income & expenditure; Balance sheet

August 31, 2001