Activity report (2005)

Following the decision by the GLI Board in 2005 to adapt the annual reporting period to the calendar year, this report covers the period from April 1 to December 31, 2005.

In the period under review a large part of GLI activity continued to be directed towards organizing women in the informal economy, in co-operation with WIEGO and SEWA and a number of other organizations in Europe (ETUC, IRENE, FES, DGB and DGB affiliates, Justitia et Pax, EED, ICRSE). An important focus of this activity has been to secure additional ratifications of the ILO Home Work Convention and strengthening the co-ordination of home workers’ organizations in Asia.Politically, the most important event was the decision at the GLI Board meeting of July 8 to work towards constituting an international “GLI” network, initially in co-operation with the Cornell Global Labor Institute, the Australian Global Studies Research Centre (University of Western Australia) and the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition (McMaster University, Canada).

The GLI Chair was asked to prepare a draft policy statement for such a co-operation, which has been circulated. Several proposed amendments were incorporated. At this time, the draft is still under discussion.

A number of other initiatives involving a critical examination of the activities, policies and structures of the international labour movement have developed in 2005 (meetings and publications). The GLI participates in some of these initiatives.

The GLI continued its affiliation to the International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA). In his capacity of member of the IFWEA Executive, the GLI Chair has actively participated in the work of reorganizing the IFWEA to place it on a sound and sustainable financial footing.

The GLI, for its part, has also been struggling, as in past years, to secure reliable core funding (see Financial Report).

The GLI Board held its Ninth Meeting in Geneva on July 8.

(DG = Dan Gallin; KP = Karin Pape)
April 2 (KP): Seminar: Zu wessen Diensten? Frauenarbeit zwischen Care-drain und Outsourcing, Frauenrat für Aussenpolitik, Bern
April 20 (DG): Séminaire IUED, Geneva: presentation: Syndicalisme et Développement (unpublished)
May 31 – June 16 (KP): Participation in the International Labour Conference as German Workers’ Delegate (Committee on Youth Employment); Geneva
June 11 (DG): International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR), Administrative Council, Geneva
June 23 – 24 (DG): Comisiones Obreras de Euskadi: Escuela Sindical de Verano, Bilbao (speech: El movimiento sindical internacional frente a la globalización; on the GLI web site)
September 24 (DG): Oltener Kreis Linke Sozialdemokraten: Arbeitstagung Wirtschaftsdemokratie, Bern (speech: Demokratische Kontrolle transnationaler Konzerne, on the GLI web site)
November 24 – 26 (KP): Participation in the DGB Women’s Conference (Guest), Berlin
December 13 (DG): Séminaire IUED, Geneva: presentation: “Syndicalisme dans le secteur informel: facteur de développement” (unpublished)

April 14 – 15 (KP): Conference “Out of the Shadows – Organizing Domestic Workers”, ETUC, Brussels
April 21 –22 (DG): Solidar Conference “Women Talk!”, Geneva
June 27 (KP): Working Party on the Informal Economy, Justitia et Pax (presentation: Bestandaufnahme und Entwicklung der informellen Wirtschaft in Deutschland, on GLI web site), Köln
July 18 (KP): Meeting with NGG (EDP preparation), Hamburg
June 27 –28 (KP): Meetings with DGB Bildungswerk, IG Metall, IG BAU, European Migrant Workers’ Union in preparation of the Exposure and Dialogue Program (EDP) for German trade unionists in India, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt
August 23 (KP): Meeting with DGB (EDP preparation), Berlin
September 10 – 19 (KP): SEWA EDP for German trade unionists: “Decent Work for All”, Ahmedabad ( report on this meeting was sent to the Board on September 22).
October 15 – 17 (DG): European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration, International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), Brussels
October 21 – 23 (DG): WIEGO Steering Committee, Accra
October 25 (KP): Meeting with Ingrid Sehrbrock (DGB), Birgit Pitsch (NGG), Arne Klöpper (IG Metall) to organize German network on contingent work (presentation: discussion paper on networking), Berlin.
December 14 (KP): Follow-up meeting on EDP, Bensberg (Köln)
December 15 –16 (KP): Justitia et Pax Congress, Bensberg (Köln)

May 14 – 15 (DG): IFWEA EC, Lisbon

Collège du Travail
Board: May 4, Geneva

Pages de Gauche
Editorial Committee: April 10, November 20 (DG), Lausanne

Board: November 8 (Zurich) (DG)

“11 gute Gründe das IAO-Übereinkommen über Heimarbeit zu ratifizieren”, prepared by Karin Pape, published jointly by DGB, EED, FES, GLI and Justitia et Pax, November 2005, 38 p.

Work in Progress, Projects, Networks, Contacts
As agreed by the last meeting of the GLI Board, Karin Pape has joined the Board of IRENE ( The other members are Anneke van Luijken and Peter Pennartz, co-ordinators, Neil Alldred (ICTU, Belfast), Susanne Frank (ÖGB, Linz), Erik Rydberg (GRESEA, Brussels), Ineke Zeldenrust (Clean Clothes Campaign) and Jens Erik Ohrt (AIF, Denmark).
Work has continued on the GLI web site, with the assistance of Mary Sayer in Manchester. Since Mary has taken up a full-time job with the T&GWU, the Secretariat, together with Mary, are looking at ways in which the web site can be reorganized and developed. Eric Lee has offered to help.

The GLI Chair has continued as an editorial board member of Antipode, a journal of radical geography (contact:, a member of the advisory editorial board of Federation News, the journal of the General Federation of Trade Unions (UK) ( or: and of the editorial boards of International Union Rights, the journal of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (London) ( and Pages de Gauche (Lausanne), the monthly publication for French-speaking Switzerland of the Left in the Swiss Social-Democratic Party ( He is also a member of the Board of the Collège du Travail, a workers’ education foundation in Geneva.

The Collège du Travail has decided to publish an anthology of some of DG’s writings in French (approx. 200 pages, publication date; late 2006 or early 2007). An editorial committee is currently working on the project. It will be possible to use this book to strengthen the GLI, and the activities it is involved in (WIEGO, IFWEA), in French-speaking countries.

GLI Advisory Board
Han Dongfang, a leading advocate for workers’ rights and independent trade unions in mainland China, and editor of the China Labour Bulletin (, received on May 6 the Gleitsman Foundation’s 2005 International Activist Award. He shared the award and the USD100,000 prize with the UK-based group Global Witness, and donated his USD50,000 share of the award to the China Labour Bulletin Legal Defense Fund, which supports the organization’s workers’ rights litigation program in China. The Los Angeles-based foundation, established by Alan Gleitsman in 1989, seeks to recognize and encourage leadership in social activism worldwide.
New members: Robert O’Brien and Rob Lambert have accepted the invitation to join the GLI Advisory Board.

Rob Lambert is co-ordinator of SIGTUR (Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights) and associate professor at the University of Western Australia where he chairs their International Studies Program. He is also international secretary of the Trade Union Council of Western Australia. He is also the director of the recently formed Australian Global Studies Research Centre (AGSRC).

Robert O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and a member of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University, Canada. He is co-editor with Jeffrey Harrod of: Global Unions? Theory and Strategies of Organized Labour in the Global Political Economy (Routledge, 2002). (DG contributed a chapter: Labour as a Global Social Force: Past Divisions and New Tasks).

Karin Pape has continued working part time as an administrative assistant (since January 1, 2004 on a voluntary basis), and as a researcher and writer on informal economy issues (see also: Meetings, Publications, Work in Progress).
As in the past, Oscar and Nora Payuyo have been responsible for cleaning and maintenance.

Financial Administration
Ms. Mariane Grobet-Wellner has kept the GLI accounts in the period under review. The accounts for 2005 are being audited, as last year, by Mr. J.J. Mermier (CIFISOR S.A.). The auditor’s report will be available on request when it is received (French only).

A statement of income and expenditure and a balance sheet for 2005, are attached.