The Global Labour University:
meeting the challange of globalisation

Studying globally

The Global Labour University (GLU) is a network of trade unions, universities, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the ILO (International Labour Organisation) to deliver high-level qualification programmes. It offers Masters Courses in four different countries on trade unions, sustainable development, social justice, international labour standards, multinational companies, economic policies and global institutions and promotes research cooperation on global labour issues.

The Global Labour University is a new approach to increase the intellectual and strategic capacity of workers organisations and to establish stronger working relationships between trade unions, the ILO, and the scientific community. It strengthens trade union capacity and competence to advocate for Social Justice and Decent Work at the workplace nationally and internationally.

The Masters programmes are a unique opportunity for trade unionists and other labour rights activists to work and study in an international environment and provide opportunities for trade unions to further qualify their staff or recruit new experts. The global network of the GLU provides an innovative framework for research and policy development in a truly multicultural, multiregional and multidisciplinary environment. After launching the first course in Germany in 2004 the M.A. programme is now also offered in South Africa, Brazil, India and, since 2014, in the USA.

Students from different countries and regions are represented in the courses. Global workshops, conferences, publications and internet working groups facilitate genuine global dialogue and sustainable international networks. An active Alumni network helps to strengthen cooperation and alliances between trade unions and other social movements across borders.

Gender issues are given high priority in the curriculum and strong women representation in the courses ensures that the gender perspective is an integrated part of the discussion processes and research activities.

Some quotes from GLU Alumni

The best thing about the course was building a network of international trade unionists. I now feel much more connected to the global labour movement and have a better understanding of international politics. The GLU is equipping trade unionists with the knowledge to be able to challenge the dominant neoliberal ideology and the skills and networks to be able to organise locally and globally for a fairer society.


The Labour Policies and Globalization programme (the GLU Masters’ Programme in Germany) is especially designed for unionists to get the most knowledge in the shortest time. A really powerful breakthrough for me was an internship at IndustriALL Global Union: it connected what I’ve learnt with my union needs. One of GLU Masters’ Programme values to my mind is that it gives you “critical glasses” that you can’t get rid of once you put them on.


I always remember the LPG year (GLU Masters’ Programme on “Labour Policies and Globalisation Programm”) as the experience which changed my life. It was the opportunity to connect the dots, to develop an analytical understanding of the challenges facing trade unions in the broader context. We learnt as much from professors as we learned from our comrades (and indeed ourselves). The spaces created by professors for discussion and reflections about our own experiences enabled us to develop and/or strengthen our critical thinking.

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