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                                                               Our Vision

A world where all working people have access to lifelong learning opportunities which enable them to claim and exercise their inalienable democratic rights, responsibilities and freedoms as global citizens.


                                                                Our Aim

To Build a Global Knowledge Community which facilitates global co-operation between worker educators so as to advance the frontiers of knowledge, education methodology and practises of democratic worker organisations promoting freedom, justice and equality for all. 



Journal: International Labor and Working-Class History

"Workers' Education and the Global Labor Movement"

Issue editors: Michael Merrill and Susan J. Schurman

Senior Editors' Note: "Workers’ education is the main theme of ILWCH 90. Education played a key role in the elaboration of the imagination, the discourses, and the claims that were the foundation of working-class politics. Yet, this vital dimension of the la- boring experience has been relatively neglected by historians. By assembling these diverse but related articles, Michael Merrill and Susan J. Schurman have revealed the central place of education in workers’ lives and expectations over the last two centuries. The significance of the research presented in this issue is all the more important because, as the editors’ emphasize in their introduction, workers’ education is neglected today as trade unions grapple with shrinking re- sources and more immediately pressing imperatives in a rapidly neoliberalizing world in which workers’ rights and benefits come under constant attack"

 ▶️ to check out the Table of Contents  and download articles please go to our "Resources" Page



IFWEA Affiliate and Secretariat News

GLOBAL - NEWS from UNESCO: "REPORT: “Skills, Jobs and Sustainable Development: Global Trends and Local Challenges” UNESCO-Cedefop Global Skills Conference" by Louise Walsh

'What skills does the digital economy demand when work itself is changing in design and execution, creating chaos and opportunity? As new technology transforms jobs, occupations and even whole sectors, most recently transport and hospitality (e.g. Uber and Airbnb), how should policy-makers and decision-makers respond? Tackling and talking about today’s realities and their social impact were representatives from more than 50 countries and 40 NGOs at the UNESCO-Cedefop Global Skills Conference. Anchoring the sessions were two United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that fit UNESCO’s focus on education and skills. SDGs 4 and 8 call for inclusive and quality education, lifelong learning, sustainable development, full employment and decent work by 2030.'

GLOBAL: "2016 Year end greetings from the IFWEA General Secretary"

'We are approaching the final weeks of 2016. It has been a busy and productive year, with an expanded programme of activities and a concomitant expansion in budget, thanks to increased support from the Olaf Palme Centre of Sweden to our core programme. This enabled us to appoint Saliem Patel as IFWEA programme manager in February this year, joining me, my assistant Shariefa Ebrahim and IFWEA communications co-ordinator Erna Curry on the Secretariat staff. Saliem is no stranger to IFWEA, having been the African regional co-ordinator of our Global Network project with SOLIDAR for several years until it ended in 2013. The increase in staff meant that our tiny office could no longer contain us. We are now sharing a larger open plan office space with our hosts, the Labor Research Service. Morale is high at the Secretariat. We all feel a sense of accomplishment at having laid a solid foundation for the first year of our four year strategic plan.' ▶️ click on the title above to read the entire report

FINLAND: Työväen Sivistysliitto (TSL) Finland "”Working life ICT skills in the field of trade” by Katri Söder

'TSL is involved in the ”Working life ICT skills in the field of trade” project. This project will research and develop workers ICT skills.'

GLOBAL / SOUTH AFRICA: IFWEA Executive Committee Meeting, November 2016

IFWEA's Executive Committee members met in Cape Town, South Africa. In this picture Dr Moenieba Isaacs from the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape addresses the Executive Committee on jobs, quotas and food security in the fishing industry of the South Africa. The EC also went on a field trip to meet leaders of Coastal Links and Masifundise Development Trust.

GLOBAL : "Massive Open Online Course on decent work in global supply chains."

What are the challenges and opportunities for achieving decent work in global supply chains? How do transnational corporations and their global supply chains operate? How can they be more effectively governed?' ▶️ click on the title to read more about this free programme


'After months of work the Pathways to Free Education collective have put together a second volume this time focusing on "Strategy & Tactics" following the feedback we had received from our previous edition.We have pieces from Ethopian contexts through Zimbabwe, Brazil and the United states. With "how-to" style articles on everything from how to draft a memorandum to tips with how to engage with the media. There is a case study of the bus boycotts in Alexendria in 1957 South Africa as well as guides on how to contribute to the popular struggle with film, documentary and through photography.' ▶️ click on the title to read more and download this resource

INDIA: StreetNet holds its 5th International Congress in India

StreetNet "9 countries , 150 delegates. The StreetNet Congress was about delegates, policies and election of leaders. All this was made possible , and held together by an amazing group of people who quietly worked 24/7 to make this happen."

IRELAND: report from President Sue Schurman and General Secretary Sahra Ryklief

Their trip included meetings with: ▸ The Peoples College - Here adult and workers' education is supported by the Irish Trade Union Congress and most of the national unions. ▸ Unite the Union - with Jimmy Kelly, Irish Regional Secretary for- learning about their work like the "Right2Water campaign", along with Dr. Maura Adshead from the University of Limerick.

SOUTH AFRICA / SWEDEN - IFWEA SECRETARIAT welcomes Olof Palme International Center (OPIC) Intern Frida Sundqvist

"Frida Sundqvist is our new intern from the International Center of Olof Palme in Sweden. Frida is 29 years old and has a Bachelor and Master’s degree in political science from Uppsala University, including an exchange semester at Science Po Paris. Her working experience includes for instance, the Swedish Migration Agency, the Swedish Permanent Representation in Brussels and being a research assistant at Uppsala University. She also has a background within the Swedish Social Democratic labour movement, where she’s been having several committments and roles throughout the years. Her passion is mainly about labour and welfare studies, the trade union movement, globalization effects, gender and civil society. She will stay with us at IFWEA until December 2016."

GLOBAL: "REPORT on "International Ministerial Meeting on Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression" by Louise Walsh

Louise Walsh is Founder and Chair of the Berger-Marks Foundation. 'Elin Lilijenbladh, board member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organization (IGLYO) advocated “a non-critical approach to sex education: “We don’t have to be the same to be equal.”

SOUTH AFRICA: Labour Research Service (LRS) celebrates its 30th anniversary and holds a National Workshop on Collective Agreements"

"The LRS' anniversary and workshop was attended by unions from the agricultural, higher education, mining and postal services sectors. The workshop analysed the framework for collective bargaining, and celebrated the victories unions have made in these sectors recently.'

SOUTH AFRICA via GroundUp: IFWEA General Secretary Sahra Ryklief writes on "South Africa’s 2016 municipal elections – why the excitement? An in-depth analysis of the results."

'It is nearly three weeks since the South African electorate voted in the fourth municipal elections since 1996. The municipal elections are normally a quiet affair, without much fanfare or high profile post-electoral analysis. The aftermath of this year’s elections turned out to be anything but quiet, due to a number of milestones which have some significance in South Africa’s maturing democracy.'

SOUTH AFRICA "National Women's Day"

"General Secretary Sahra Ryklief was asked to do the key note address at the Congress of South African Trade Unions' (COSATU)'s Women's Day event held at Community House in Cape Town South Africa, where the Secretariat is based. Those who attended included gender representatives from member unions - educators, members and office bearers. Community members and associates of the labour movement also attended. The gathering honoured veterans of the labour movement - Hester Stephens and Lynn Carneson. COSATU in the Western Cape also honoured outgoing educator Mike Louw for his years of service."

SOUTH AFRICA: IFWEA welcomes affiliate member Ditsela's new director

IFWEA's programme manager Saliem Patel welcomed the new executive director of Ditsela, Ntsilo Molumaelea. Ditsela is a South African affiliate, and the Secretariat staff attended their first 'Western Cape Educators' Forum' for this year.

EGYPT via Center for Trade Union and Workers' Services [CTUWS] CTUWS launches new website

"On its website CTUWS is trying to open a window onto the Egyptian labour movement and highlight its events, presenting their news and presenting its issues and dilemmas with the hope of developing its services to meet more labour needs."

USA via Sunshine Publishing: "In Motion" by Andy Piascik NEW RELEASE

"In Motion, first and foremost, is a story of solidarity: the solidarity of two sisters, the solidarity of the sisters and their mother, the solidarity of the multi-racial residents of a city under siege. Most of all, In Motion is the story of the solidarity of Jackie and Jack, two passionate lovers on the cusp of adulthood seeking to live authentically."

IFWEA's Second Quarter e-bulletin of 2016 Issue 33 "Labour Solidarity Has No Borders"

In this e-bulletin: ▶ IFWEA SECRETARIAT NEWS ▶IFWEA PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENTS ▶ AFFILIATE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS ▶ SOLIDARITY IN ACTION: Check out the campaigns where you can take online action, view research and download resources.

SOUTH AFRICA via Popular Education: "Colloquium on Forging Solidarity: Southern Perspectives of Popular Education, 9 - 11 June 2016"

IFWEA Secretariat's Saliem Patel and Erna Curry attended this two day workshop. "Some fifty people gathered at the colloquium which was held at the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch. Participants came from different organisations, including academic institutions, government, social movements and NGOs, from as far away as Chile, India, Senegal and Canada and as close as Delft, Khayelitsha and Grahamstown. They brought with them focus, energy and willingness to be creative, and a commitment to engage with critical questions both on a one on one basis, around tables, and in plenary sessions. The aims of the colloquium were to grapple with the central theme and in the process give food for thought to 20 people who are contributing chapters to a book of the same name. Presentations were made, in the main, by contributors to the forthcoming book."


The IFWEA Secretariat and Labour Research Service hosted a solidarity visit from General Secretary Manuel Cortes and President Mick Carney from Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), an affiliate of IFWEA member International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)

FINLAND: YGAP Nordic School - Annual 2016 Meeting

YGAP Co-ordinators Niklas Skeppar from ABF Sweden and Katri Söder from TSL Finland had their annual meeting with former Finnish YGAPpers in Kirkkonummi. Present was Jenni Pilaste, Serveh Khalili, Milla Granlund, Rami Lindström, Tiina Vesa and Maria Nyroos.


IFWEA's Fourth Quarter e-bulletin "Year End News from IFWEA 2016"/ Issue 35 2016  

You will find Secretariat News, Programme Developments, Affiliate News Highlights as well as Resource,  Research, Opinion and Campaigns for Solidarity

▶️ click here www.IFWEA/Issue34/2016



YGAP "Postcards from the South" 2016

SOUTH AFRICA - IFWEA's 5th annual Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP) took place at the Secretariat in Cape Town South Africa from Sunday 30th October to Saturday 12th November 2016. The Nordic School and the Foundation Leadership Skills School programmes were based at the Secretariat at Community House in Salt River, Cape Town. The YGAP participants produced "Postcards from the South" to chronicle their experience.

 ▶️ Join us on Facebook to view photographs and videos about YGAP


 ▶️ View the "Postcards from the South" on IFWEA's You Tube channel



Weekly Labour News

CHINA "A Fire Broke Out At A Samsung Battery Factory" by Ben Sin

'The following story is so sensational, so "nooo way!" that I sat on it for a few hours after first seeing photos and "tweets" about it on Weibo (aka China's version of Twitter): the factory that made batteries for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire. The dozens of "tweets" from Weibo, with photos of thick black smoke coming out of the plant looked convincing. I also checked in with some friends in China who work in the tech industry, and they too considered the news to be legit. Still, I hesitated to post about it because I didn't want to end up writing a post about a Note 7 battery factory going up in flames without further confirmation... because the story seemed too ridiculous, too good to be true.'

USA "A Kick In The Ass" For Labor: A Union Leader Considers The Age Of Trump" by

"Stuart Appelbaum, the head of the most powerful retail workers union in America, swears he is optimistic. Why? Appelbaum has been president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) for nearly 20 years. He previously worked as a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, and is still a DNC member. Under his leadership, the union has had notable victories in the generally hostile retail world, representing workers at H&M, Zara, Duane Reade, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s, as well as significant numbers of car wash workers, southern poultry workers, and factory workers across America. Appelbaum spoke to us last week about the future of unions in the Donald Trump era.''

USA: "Activists call for national general strike in the US to bring down Donald Trump' by Andrew Griffin

'The argument was first published in the mainstream media in a Guardian article in which writer Francine Prose wrote that protests wouldn't be enough to oppose Mr Trump. “The trouble is that these protests are too easily ignored and forgotten by those who wish to ignore and forget them,” Prose wrote. “The barriers go up, the march takes place, the barriers come down. Everyone goes home happier."

LATIN AMERICA via Equal Times "

"In 2010, the Argentinian TV station Encuentro broadcast a series of interviews with Latin American presidents that would go down in history: Brazilian Lula da Silva, Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, Ecuadorian Rafael Correa, Argentinian Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Chilean Michelle Bachelet, Uruguayan Pepe Mujica and Paraguayan Fernando Lugo. All of them, however diverse, had one thing in common: they formed part of those governments describing themselves as progressive."

BANGLADESh via IndustriAll: "Bangladesh: Release arrested garment union leaders now!"

'IndustriALL Global Union together with UNI Global Union has launched an online campaign calling on the government of Bangladesh to immediately and unconditionally release garment trade union leaders detained in recent weeks. In an alarming step backwards for worker rights and democracy in the country, at least 11 trade union leaders and worker activists have been arrested. At the same time, security forces have raided the houses of trade union leaders and volunteers, and many have gone into hiding in fear of their safety.'

UK / GLOBAL via Equal Times: "Why British Airways cabin crew are striking" by

'Despite performing the same job, BA’s mixed fleet earn far less than their colleagues on legacy crews. For example, in 2015 their basic starting salary was £12,000 (with an additional £3 an hour when flying). This is compared to an average expenditure per head of all cabin crew of £37,200. Indeed, when industrial action was last threatened by BA cabin crew in 2014, unions at the time claimed that mixed fleet staff were reliant on working tax credits (state benefits) to supplement their income. So, in effect, the government was subsidising BA’s operations. '

ECUADOR via Equal Times: "Schools in Ecuador to preserve ancestral languages" by Erika Astudillo

'A modern construction occupying around four hectares of land surrounded by brick houses, tractors and businesses of all kinds stands out between the farmlands and the snow-capped mountains of the Andes, at an altitude of 3200 metres. It is a community school, the full name of which is “Chibuleo Bilingual Intercultural Education Unit of the Millennium, Guardian of the Language.” '

TURKEY via Equal Times: "‘We Want Our Jobs Back’: Turkish Workers Protest Post-Coup Purges" by Jennifer Hattam

'Selma Atabey had been working as a nurse in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Diyarbakır for 22 years when she was summarily dismissed from her job by government decree in late October. “I’ve had to sell my house and my car, I’ve lost my SGK [social security],” she says. “My son is getting ready for the high-school entrance exam and I’m afraid he won’t do well because of the stress we’re under.”'