Previous GLU Conferences

XIII Global Labour University Conference, 7 - 9 Aug. 2018, Brazil

The Future of Work: 
Democracy, Development and the Role of Labour

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop in Brazil from 7 - 9 August 2018.

The current global conditions of rising conservative forces, the spectre of unemployment and precarization of work, due to technological change and global restructuring processes, pose enormous challenges to academics, unionists and social organizations concerned with the future of work, democracy and less asymmetrical development. 

The last four decades have been marked by neoliberal hegemony and intensification in the process of globalization and financialization, which are presented as the main components of world economic order. Unregulated global capitalism has led to instability and deep financial and productive crises, resulting in high unemployment and an increase of inequality, informalization and precariousness of labor. 

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XII Global Labour University Conference, 4 - 6 Okt. 2017, New Delhi, India

Reincarnation or Death of Neoliberalism?
The rise of market authoritarianism and its challenges for labour

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop in New Delhi from 4 - 6 October 2017.

For three decades the rise of globalization commanded wide support as being necessary, desirable and, in any case, inevitable. Government after government, including those led by social democratic or socialist parties, accepted the imperatives of free capital markets, free trade, global production networks and flexible labour markets. The financial crises of 2008 shook the intellectual dominance, but not the institutional architecture of neoliberalism. Indeed, a new wave of structural adjustment and austerity was imposed on countries that had lost competitiveness. On the other hand, critical voices in the political mainstream became more frequent. Within the IMF, OECD and World Bank inequality as well as volatile and under-regulated financial markets were admitted to be problematic. Piketty's Capital in the Twenty- First Century became a bestseller. The confidence in the rationality of financial markets was shattered. 

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XI Global Labour University Conference, 28 - 30 Sept. 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Just Transition and the Role of Labour: Our Ecological, Social, and Economic Future

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop in Johannesburg from 28 - 30 Sept. 2016.

The dynamics of the current global economic and political (dis)order have had devastating impacts on the environment and on working people, their families and communities throughout the world. These dynamics have resulted in the informalisation of labour, unemployment, and social inequality at the national and global levels. The "slummification" of cities and commodification of public goods and public services as well as common goods like land, water and public space has intensified. Declining biodiversity, climate change and pollution are evidence of the impact of the crisis on the planet itself. Environmental degradation threatens viable livelihoods and endangers public health. Meanwhile, market imperatives get defining power over daily life, business interests tighten their stranglehold on the state logic, and power is transferred to supranational institutions with limited democratic accountability, simultaneously narrowing electoral choices, and placing increasing restrictions on protest.

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X Global Labour University Conference, 30 Sept. - 2 Oct. 2015, Washington D.C., U.S.

Sharing the Gains – Containing Corporate Power

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop in Washington D.C. from 30 Sept. - 2 Oct. 2015.

The theme of the conference is the possibilities of national and international regulations, trade union campaigns and broader civil society mobilisation, strategic research and transparency to limit the power of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and their control over Global Value Chains (GVCs). MNC-coordinated global value chains account for 80 per cent of global trade, and the income from trade flows within GVCs has doubled over the last 15 years. Yet, this vast corporate income is not fairly shared with workers who produce the wealth.  

This conference seeks to explore causes for the unequal distribution of wealth along global value chains in recent decades and to analyse mechanisms to contain corporate power and ensure that the vast wealth generated by corporate-led globalization can be more equitably distributed. We encourage the submission of papers that analyse the dynamics of growth of MNCs and their global value chains, and papers that explore state, international, and cross-boarder labour approaches to ensure more equitable and sustainable growth.

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IX Global Labour University Conference, 15-17 May 2014, Berlin, Germany

Inequality within and among Nations:
Causes, Effects, and Responses

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop in Berlin  from 15-17 May 2014.

Increasing economic inequality is one of the key features of the radical globalisation project that emerged in the 1970s, generating levels of inequality incompatible with social inclusion, equal opportunities and fairness. In a situation characterised by a severe financial and economic crisis, rising unemployment and reduced social expenditure are deepening the social divide in many societies.

Against this backdrop, the 2014 conference of the GLU focuses on the causes and effects of increases in economic inequality ? and what can be done to prevent and reverse them. 

The conference is organised in conjunction with the World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (18-23 May 2014). It aims to promote debate between academic scholars, trade unionists and civil society activists and leaders.

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VIII Global Labour University Conference, 26-28 September 2012, Campinas, Brazil

Sustainable growth, development and labour: progressive responses at local, national and global level

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in Brazil from 26-28 September 2012.

Thus, the Conference will address three sets of questions

  • National Progressive Policies
  • International Policies and Regulation
  • Generation and Dissemination of Progressive Public Policies

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VII Global Labour University Conference, 28-30 September 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Politics of Labour and Development

The Global Labour University held an International Workshop at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), in Johannesburg, South Africa from 28-30 September 2011 to discuss the different dimensions of an labour agenda for change including

  • workplace and collective bargaining issues,
  • the potential for broader policy alliances,
  • new forms of power and leverage,
  • alternatives to the current globalization regime

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VI Global Labour University Conference, 14-16 September 2010, Berlin, Germany


The Global Labour University held an International Workshop at the Berlin School of Economics and Law / City Hall Schöneberg in Berlin, Germany from 14-16 September 2010.

  • workplace and collective bargaining issues,
  • the potential for broader policy alliances,
  • new forms of power and leverage,
  • alternatives to the current globalization regime

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