At the GLU annual workshop in 2008 trade unionists and scholars are invited to present papers and discuss the challenges for organised labour as outlined in the two main topics:
• Union strategies in the new international division of labour
• Towards socially and environmentally sustainable development: strategies for labour
The world has undergone profound changes in the last quarter of a century
• changes in international trade and investment regimes;
• changes in the institutions that regulate the capital accumulation and income distribution at national levels;
• redefinitions of the boundaries between public and private space in the economy;
• growing influence of finance overproduction and service provision as sources of wealth.
As a consequence of those changes, economic growth has been accompanied by increasing inequality and insecurity for vast numbers of people both in rich and poor countries. At the same time, imbalances between national economies and among regions within national economies have become more acute. Current trade and investment regimes backed by industrialised countries seem to severely restrain the ability of national policies that could help developing countries to “climb the tree” towards better economic and social conditions. To complete the picture, current growth patterns seem to result in unsustainable demands over natural resources. Not surprisingly, there is a growing feeling in developing countries about the urgency of a new development agenda. Unions must face the challenge of defining strategies to help build and advance such an agenda.