Activity report (2001)

In the period under review (April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002) the main part of GLI activities were again those of its Chair (DG) and these were principally connected with Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) (about 50%) and with the International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA) (about 30%). The remaining 20% or so of DG’s time was left for his activities in other organizations as GLI Chair and for GLI activities as such.

Because the WIEGO activity occupied so much of the GLI’s time, the report of the Director of the WIEGO Organization and Representation Program (ORP) is appended to this report, as last year, as a complement and for context.

The main contributions of the WIEGO ORP since its inception in May 2000 have been: raising awareness in the general labour movement of the need to organize women workers (and, indeed, all workers) in the informal economy and of existing efforts in this regard; supporting organizing efforts; strengthening cooperation between women’s organizations, unions and other labour movement organizations with an organizing agenda in the informal economy; building coalitions between such organizations, in particular in view of the discussion on the informal sector at the International Labour Conference in 2002, and beyond.

Notwithstanding these positive achievements, DG decided to resign as Director of the ORP (effectively at the end of 2002) because it became apparent that to continue to do the job responsibly would practically require a full-time commitment (regardless of the formal scheduling arrangements) and that much of this time would have to be taken up by fund raising and project administration. The experience of the last eighteen months has shown that this would lead to a paralysis of all other GLI activities.

The GLI remains of course committed to the objectives of WIEGO and DG will remain involved in WIEGO activities, although not at any level of responsibility for projects or programs.

Developments in the IFWEA have also affected GLI activities. IFWEA General Secretary Jan Mehlum resigned in December 2001. The IFWEA EC was unable to fill the position immediately and decided to appoint an Interim Management Committee (IMC) of three EC members to carry out secretariat functions until the next General Conference, which would elect a new general secretary. The date of the General Conference was brought forward by a year to 2003. DG is one of the three members of the IMC and, under the circumstances, has agreed to continue serving as IFWEA president until 2003.

Because of the pressures generated by the activities described above, what might be considered as the core activities of the GLI (engendering critical analysis and discussion of the policies and the activities of the international labour movement and of other social movements, discussing strategies for progressive social change, developing the GLI website and issuing publications to reflect such discussions) have had to be put on the backburner, although to some extent they have been pursued, indirectly, through some of the activities of IFWEA and WIEGO.

The hope is that through the progressive disengagement of DG from administrative duties in other organizations over the next year and a half, his return to attending to GLI core priorities and the involvement of other persons in GLI activities, the potential of the GLI might be realized to a fuller extent than has been possible this year.

Meetings and Publications
In the period under review (April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002), the GLI Chair participated in the meetings listed below:

In 2001:
(1) April 2: UNIA (Swiss Service Workers’ Union), First Delegates Meeting, Bern
(2) April 20: 20th Anniversary Meeting, Widerspruch, Zurich (Widerspruch (i.e. Protest) is a socialist quarterly review published in Zurich; DG is a member of the Association of Sponsors).
(3) April 28: Amnesty International, Geneva Section: 30th Anniversary Meeting, Round Table Discussion (DG was invited as one of the founders of the Geneva Section).
(4) May 1: Amnesty International: Round Table Discussion on Human Rights Violations against Journalists and Trade Unionists, Geneva.
(5) June 12: GFTU Federation News, Editorial Board Meeting, London
(6) June 28: MOVENDO (Institute for Social Studies of the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions), Inauguration, Bern
(7) August 23: Cercle d’Olten des Socialistes de Gauche (left tendency in the Swiss SP), Colloque: “Globalisation. perspectives d’une contestation”, Geneva (speech: “Anti-Mondialisation et Syndicats”, on the GLI website)
(8) October 26-27: LO and Olof Palme International Center (OPIC): “Global Respekt Nu” Meetings, Halmstad and Göteborg (speech: Globalisering, mänskliga rättigheter, fackliga rättigheter”, on the GLI website)

In 2002:
(9) January 26: Founding Congress, Syndikat (Swiss union for salaried and self-employed teleworkers), Zurich
(10) January 29: Arbeit und Bildung Bern: Seminar, Globalisierung, Globalisierungskritik und die Arbeiterbewegung, Bern (speech: “Wie funktioniert die internationale Gewerkschaftsarbeit?”, on the GLI website)
(11) February 13: MOVENDO, Preparatory Meeting for International Course, Bern
(12) March 1: ATTAC 74 (Haute-Savoie), Conference: “Mondialisation: comprendre pour agir”, Annemasse (speech, on GLI website)
(13) March 8-9: 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 director of the WIEGO Organization and Representation Program:

In 2001
(14) May 21-22: WIEGO, Meeting on the Informal Economy in North America, Cambridge MA, US
(15) June 9: WIEGO Organization and Representation Program Advisory Group Meeting, Geneva
(16) September 25-26: ICFTU Task Force on Informal and Unprotected Work, Brussels
(17) October 3-6: WIEGO Steering Committee and ORP Advisory Group, Institute for Development Studies, Brighton, UK
(18) October 22-23: WIEGO and Harvard University Trade Union Program: Seminar, “Organizing Informal Workers in the Global Economy: Unions, Co-operatives, Advocacy Networks and Emerging Labor Organizations”, Cambridge MA, US
(19) November 6-8: WIEGO/Committee for Asian Women (CAW), Regional Workshop on Women Workers in the Informal Economy, Bangkok

In 2002:
(20) January 14: Preparatory Meeting for WIEGO/IRENE International Meeting on Informal Sector (with Anneke van Luijken and Wim Sprenger), Amsterdam
(21) January 19-20: WIEGO General Meeting, Ahmedabad
(22) March 14-15: ICFTU Task Force on Informal and Unprotected Work, Geneva
(23) March 23-24: Meeting with SEWA EC, Ahmedabad

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

In 2001:
(24) May 2-5: Euro-WEA Seminar and EC Meeting, Madrid
(25) May 10-12: WEA Annual Delegates Meeting, Manchester (speech, unpublished)
(26) May 13-15: General Federation of Trade Unions, Biennial Conference, Torquay (speech, unpublished)
(27) September 22-23: Euro-WEA EC Meeting, Malta
(28) October 16-20: Informal Sector Workers’ Education in Zambia (Seminar organized jointly by the WEAZ and the WEA (England and Scotland), with participation from WIEGO and IFWEA, Lusaka (speech, unpublished)
(29) November 18-21: IFWEA EC Meeting, Silver Spring MD, US

In 2002:
(30) January 11-13: IFWEA Interim Management Committee Meeting, Oslo
(31) February 8-9: Euro-WEA EC Meeting, Prague
(32) February 11: Verein Wiener Volksbildung, General Assembly, Vienna
(33) March 16-18: IFWEA/SOLIDAR EC and Global Network Meetings, Sevilla
In his capacity as Board member of the Institut Universitaire d’Etudes du Développement (IUED): Board meetings: July 4, December 5 (2001).
In his capacity of Board member of the Collège du Travail (Geneva): Board meetings: May 30, December 11 (2001), March 11 (2002).

DG is also a member of the editorial committee preparing an autobiography (oral history) of Pierre Schmid, former national secretary of the Swiss Metal Workers’ Union (also secretary of its Geneva section and president of the Socialist Youth in Geneva in the 1960s).

In his capacity as Board member of the SOLIFONDS (Swiss Labour Movement Solidarity Foundation): Board meetings: April 25 (Bern), November 13 (Zurich).
Publications in the period under review authored or co-authored by the GLI Chair, in addition to those mentioned above, include:
“Propositions on Trade Unions and Informal Employment in Times of Globalisation”, in Antipode, Volume 33, Nr. 3, Special Issue: “Space, Place and the New Labour Internationalisms”, Blackwell, Oxford and Malden, November 2001
“… ich habe das Gefühl, dass ich annähernd das Maximale geleistet habe, wozu ich fähig war in dieser Zeit, mit diesen Mitteln”; Interview with Peter Rütters about DG’s IUF period (1960-1997); published by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn, 2001 (German only).
“Über den Sozialismus”, German version of DG’s reply to Christoph Blocher (see also annual report 2000-2001), in: PS (Zürich), April 26, 2001.

Projects, Networks, Contacts
Protecting Solidarity Action: Paul Germanotta concluded preparations for the publication of his brochure: “Protecting Worker Solidarity Action: A Critique of International Labour Law”. (Note: the brochure was published in June 2002, as a joint publication of the Institute of Employment Rights (UK) and the GLI).
Industrial Democracy: Werner Thönnessen facilitated a contact with Fritz Vilmar, former economist for IG Metall and presently professor of economics at the Free University of Berlin. Fritz Vilmar is an expert on economic democracy and has recently written an essay on the subject:

Wirtschaftsdemokratie (on the GLI website, German only). A shortened version will appear later this year in Widerspruch (Zurich) (see above, Meetings). DG is exploring the possibilities of organizing an international seminar on industrial democracy, possibly within the framework of IFWEA activities.

Labour History Website: Gavin MacFadyen has resumed work on this project and has accessed new sources of financing.

Board and Advisory Board
Following discussion between Aidan White, Claus Larsen-Jensen and the Chair, the GLI Board, at its meeting on September 8, 2001, regretfully agreed to accept their resignations from the Board, but welcomed their membership of the Advisory Board. The Board also agreed and welcomed the membership of Alana Dave (IFWEA, since July 2002 education officer of the ITF). The present composition of the Board and Advisory Board are attached.

Jeanne Schneuwly has continued to work part-time as a clerical assistant.
As in the past period, Oscar and Nora Payuyo have been responsible for cleaning and maintenance.

The GLI has leased additional storage space, shared with three other tenants, in an underground garage at Rue de la Servette 34, where the periodicals and reviews which are part of the GLI library will be kept. It is intended to turn this storage space into a facility where publications can be consulted. The space liberated at Ave. Wendt will become available for an expansion of the library and of the GLI files.

Financial Report and Administration
Ms. Mariane Grobet-Wellner has kept the GLI accounts in the period under review. The accounts for 2001 have been audited, as last year, by Mr. J.J. Mermier (CIFISOR S.A.). The auditor’s report is available on request (French only).

A statement of income and expenditure and a balance sheet for 2001, are attached. The accounts show a substantial surplus of income over expenditure.

Download accounts:
Income & expenditure; Balance sheet