2007 was largely a year of stagnation in the wider labour movement. The ITUC remained preoccupied with internal issues of structure (the Global Union Council, the Pan-European Regional Council, the mergers of the former ICFTU and WCL regional organizations, etc.) Discussions within and among organizations focused on process rather than substance and to the allocation of bureaucratic power and resources within an increasingly irrelevant international “architecture”. Visible ITUC activity consisted mostly of a stream of press releases reporting national developments and the comments of the general secretary on various events. There has been no sign of any coherent vision, or program, or sense of purpose emerging from either the ITUC or from the Global Union Council as a collective.
The debate on how to relate to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions continued throughout the international labour movement with a majority view forming in favour of engagement (although with different motivations and conditionalities). DG intervened in the debate (as well as on other labour movement issues) with a review of Andy Stern’s book “A Country That Works”, which was widely circulated. The debate continues.
WIEGO continued its transformation from a network to an organization, with a strengthened fund raising capacity. The organizing program took two new initiatives: facilitating the establishment of international networks of waste collectors (in co-operation with existing organizations, mainly in Latin America and Asia) and of domestic workers (in co-operation with the IUF).
March 16-17 (DG, KP): IUF Women’s Committee Meeting, Geneva
March 19-22 (DG, KP): 25th IUF Congress, Geneva
March 30-31 (DG): Rotschuo Retreat
November 6 (DG, KP): Eleventh GLI Board Meeting
November 22-23 (DG): Social Policy and Migration in Developing Countries Workshop (UNRISD, IOM, Institute for Future Studies), Stockholm
December 9-14 (DG): IUF Asia/Pacific Advanced Education Program, Bandung (speech: History of the International Labour Movement, unpublished)
January 11 (DG and Anneke van Luijken), Brussels:
ETUC, meeting with Catelene Passchier
ITUC, meeting with P. Kamalam, Jaap Wienen
(topic: introducing the WIEGO Europe progam)
January 18-20 (DG): Conference: Women Work & Poverty: Policy Conference on Home Based Workers of South Asia, (UNIFEM and SEWA), New Delhi (speech: The ILO Home Work Convention – Ten Years Later, on GLI web site)
January 20-22 (DG): meetings with SEWA Managing and Executive Committees, Ahmedabad
February 19-20 (KP): Workshop: Towards Securer Lives: Advocacy for Social Protection for Home-based Workers in South Asia, (FES, HomeNet Nepal, HomeNet South Asia), Kathmandu (power point presentation: Homework in the Context of Globalization
February 20 (DG): meeting with Vasco Pedrina, UNIA, Bern (topic: co-operation on organizing in the informal economy in Eastern Eurpe).
March 1 (DG, KP): meeting with ILO – ACTRAV, Geneva (topic: working for a domestic workers convention)
May 23-26 (DG, KP): Steering Committee Retreat, Bellagio
June 6-7 (DG): Executive Committee Meeting, Geneva
October 19 (DG): Executive Committee Meeting, Geneva
November 28 – December 5 (DG): 20th General Conference and Seminar, Ahmedabad
Collège du Travail: (DG) Board: May 14, June 15
Pages de Gauche: (DG): Editorial Committee: April 20, October 5 (Lausanne)
SOLIFONDS (DG): Board: May 8 (Bern), October 31 (Zürich)
ICTUR (DG): Administrative Council, June 9, Geneva
Socialist Party Switzerland
March 10 (DG): Congress, Geneva Socialist Party, Bernex, Geneva
Socialist Party of Vaud: Course on History of the Labour Movement (DG),
April 14, May 12, June 2, June 30; Lausanne
DG has continued as Board member of the Solifonds, a solidarity organization of the Swiss labour movement, where he represents the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions.
DG is also a member of the Board of the Collège du Travail, a workers’ education foundation in Geneva and, since December 2005, a member of the Consultative Commission on International Geneva, an advisory body set up by the Geneva cantonal government to monitor relations with the international organizations established in the Canton.
DG remains a member of the advisory editorial board of Federation News, the journal of the General Federation of Trade Unions (UK) (www.ier.org.uk or: www.gftu.org.uk), the editorial board of International Union Rights, the journal of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (London) (www.ictur.org) and that of Pages de Gauche (www.pagesdegauche.ch).
However, DG began to scale down commitments to outside activities to make room for GLI priorities. DG resigned as an editorial board member of Antipode in November 2007.
The IFWEA held its 20th General Conference in Ahmedabad in December, hosted by SEWA. The Conference elected Susan Schurman (AFL-CIO) as president and Sahra Ryklief (LRS, South Africa) as general secretary. The secretariat is now located at LRS in Cape Town. DG is no longer a member of the Executive Committee and has no further responsibilities in the IFWEA structures. The GLI remains however an affiliate of the IFWEA, albeit as a Category 4 member (with significantly lower affiliation fees).
As part of WIEGO, the GLI has continued to campaign for the ratification of the ILO Home Work Convention. In South Asia, the GLI (through KP) was instrumental in establishing an ongoing working relationship between Home Net South Asia (HNSA) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). HNSA published the English edition of the booklet “Eleven Good Reasons for Ratifying the ILO Home Work Convention (C. 177)”, by KP and the FES has now included all issues related to home work in its regional program for Asia.
Work on the web site of the GLI has resumed with the help of Eric Lee. The site should be entirely reconstructed by mid-2008.
Karin Pape has continued working part time as an administrative assistant and as a researcher and writer on informal economy issues (see above). Since November 2007, Karin is WIEGO regional consultant for Europe. In that capacity, she has attended meetings in addition to those listed above: they are listed in Appendix 1.
As in the past, Oscar and Nora Payuyo have been responsible for cleaning and maintenance.
Ms. Mariane Grobet-Wellner has kept the GLI accounts in the period under review. The accounts for 2007 are being audited by BfB Société fiduciaire (Geneva). For reasons of health, Mr. J.-J. Mermier (CIFISOR SA) has been unable to audit last year’s accounts. The auditor’s report will be available on request when it is received (French only).
The financial report for 2007 is attached as an annex: