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International Development Issues

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
A Trade Union Digest of Organisations and Resources

This is the ninth Digest compiled as a reference point for trade unionists, and trade union tutors in particular, interested in promoting greater understanding of international development. It is provided as a short cut and guide to information and resources, and is published at twice each year. It contains brief reviews of some of the resources directly appropriate to trade unionists (i.e. designed for use with them), useful web sites and contact details of organisations involved in international development matters. For this edition there are new reviews in each section. The Digest is available in hard copy, or on-line via the TUC web-site, International link (see below).

Written Resources

Action Aid (2005) Bound and Tied. The developmental impacts of industrial trade liberalisation negotiations at the World Trade Organisation. Action Aid Report, 34pp.

Another well-researched and written report from Action Aid, according to which 'Bound and Tied' are, roughly, the outcomes for the developing world of the evolution and application of neo-liberal 'free' trade policy.

The report begins by exploring the key arguments of the dominant trading blocs - the EU and USA - in terms of trade policy. Subsequent sections then consider the experience of developing country infant industrial sectors as a result of trade liberalisation, specifically the impact on employment and poverty reduction. The report concludes firstly, that reduced policy autonomy in the South (free trade or free trade) for improved market access in the North (if your export sectors have stood up to free imports) is a bad bargain where development is concerned; and secondly, that history shows us that free trade was not the development route of the developed world, and there is no reason to expect that it should be for the developing world. Drawing on the historical and contemporary indicators of routes to development, the final section makes recommendations for a fairer trade policy.

This is excellent and thought provoking material for those who already have some knowledge of trade and development issues. Tutors might use this as background reading for focused short courses or those offered at Certificate level and above.

Available from Action Aid. See Web-sites or Organisations listed below .

Action Aid (2004) Money Talks. How aid conditions continue to drive utility privatisation in poor countries. Action Aid. Report 28pp.

This is a highly informative read that draws together common factors driving privatisation across the world, their continuing failure to deal with the real needs of people in general and conditions of poverty in particular. The report details the key role played by institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in setting conditions for aid and debt relief - whether via direct imposition of privatisation or more indirect routes, such as getting countries to 'own' their development plans by proposing privatisation themselves.

The report deals with a subject that will be of interest to all trade unionists. The extensive use of country case studies highlights some common experiences of, for example, the privatisation of utilities in Africa, Asia and the UK. The difficulties for development and implications for poor people are sure to provide food for thought and debate.

The report is not over complex, but neither is it light reading. A keen interest or basic understanding of one or more aspects of the topic - utilities, privatisation, developing countries or the role of global financial institutions will help in getting the most from it. The case studies and country comparisons will be of particular use to trade union tutors, and the recommendations for the use of aid (including the UK government's) a good focus for discussion.

Available from Action Aid. See Web-sites or Organisations listed below.

ACTSA/Traidcraft/TUC (2007) New Deals New Danger. EPAs:a threat to workers . 12pp.

This is an alert to all trade unionists about trade discussions being carried out by the European Commission - and potentially disastrous for people in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

The pamphlet explains very clearly the background to the talks to bring the special trade arrangements that European countries have with former colonies into line with the World Trade Organisation rules. Dependent on aid, some of the poorest countries in the world are finding themselves unable to resist the negotiating pressures of the EU. The proposals - to open up their markets to European goods in return for access to European markets - seem destined to destroy agriculture and infant industrial production. Trade unions and trade ministers alike are quoted in their opposition to these trade deals.

The final section underlines the futility of pressing the Millennium Development Goals on the one hand and pressing for deals that will surely aggravate poverty on the other. It appeals for urgent action - to stop the unequal deals, to press for impact assessments on jobs and labour standards, and especially, to make these points to the trade minister.

Available for download at

CAFOD (2004) Clean Up Your Computer. Working conditions in the electronics sector. Jan. CAFOD Report, 40pp.

A well-written and well-researched report that explores the far from 'pc' conditions of workers in the PC electronics industry. It makes strong comparisons between the conditions of production of personal computers in the developing world with those usually regarded with horror in textiles. These typically involve high profit brand managers at the head of the chain with low wages and poor conditions at the production and processing end.

Part I details The Personal Computer Supply Chain, part II The Computer Companies and Labour Standards and Part III Working Conditions in PC Supply Chains: Mexico and China. The Report provides an excellent resource for use on IT, union representative and health and safety representative training courses. For trade unionists in general this is a relatively easy, informative read, laying bare as it does the too often unfair employment practices of the global economic model.

See Web-site listed below for availability.

Canadian Labour Congress & Tony Biddle (2004) Globalization. Who's winning and who's losing? 12pp comic/booklet

This is a short, easy to read comic-format booklet of great value to all trade unionists and trade union tutors. In just 12 pages it works through What is globalization?, through How we got here ... a quick history lesson to So how does the world look today? and Action for change. The booklet poses questions from a range of perspectives about globalization and its effects. It is both informative and a good stimulus to discussion and debate.

Available on-line at

Christian Aid (2006) The Climate of Poverty: facts, fears and hope. May, Christian Aid Report, 48pp

The news agenda may have shifted its focus from trade, debt and aid to climate change but, according to this report, climate and environmental change is also a pressing poverty issue. The way the report is written means that it builds interest as you read (rather than building a feeling of 'too-complex-for-me-to-understand-then') whether or not you have much prior knowledge.

First, the effects on developing countries and poor people in particular are considered, in the context of current climatic problems and energy uses. These are not simply left at the level of abstract references, but illustrated with situations being experienced in Africa now. This is followed up with examples of how the involvement of poor people in developing and using alternative energy forms can help solve some practical problems and contribute to development. The report has two country case studies that show how in Kenya climate change is leading to conflict because of drought, and how in Bangladesh floods are affecting lives and livelihoods.

Available at

Christian Aid (2005) The Economics of Failure. The real cost of 'free trade' for poor countries. June, Christian Aid Briefing Paper.

This briefing paper tackles the view that those who are losing out in the Third World as a result of trade liberalisation are an unfortunate minority. An econometrics expert and a panel of academics were contracted to check out the claim for 32 developing countries. The report sets out, in a straightforward manner, what would have been the economic situation of specific countries had they not been obliged to shift to free trade.

This is a worthwhile read for any trade unionist interested in globalization and trade justice. It presents an alternative view to free trade orthodoxy and a head on challenge to the notion that rich countries are helping poorer ones become less poor.

Available for download at or see Organisations listed below.

Christian Aid (2004) Taking Liberties. Poor People, free trade and trade justice. Christian Aid Report, 68pp

In introducing the survey of the impact of free trade policies on the developing world over the last 20 years, this report places itself fairly and squarely in the camp of 'exploding the myth of free trade'. It traces evidence of how poor countries have not only remained poor, but many have become poorer, and the fact that the gap between rich and poor nations has become wider. As more than half the worlds' workers exist on less than $2 (£1.30ish) a day, this report will clearly be of interest to all trade unionists. (NB This is slightly less than the $2.20 per day for the average European cow currently being paid out in subsidies to their owners.)

The reports briefly explores how trade affects people's lives, and how the gearing of economies to colonial needs has meant that post independence many developing countries remain vulnerable to shifts in trade policies. A section on 'The lessons from history' compares the experience of developing countries in the 1960s and 70s with that of the 80s and 90s. This is followed by illustrative case studies of India, Mozambique and Honduras. The final section then uses the research to tackle the political rhetoric that forms the myths, and puts forward proposals for how trade can really begin to function in the interests of poor people.

Available at or see Organisations listed below.

Co-operative College (2004) Make Your Town a Fairtrade Town. A guide for co-operators. The Cooperative College. Booklets and posters.

This is a great starter kit for those interested in promoting fair trade - a system of trading that supports sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. Working on the principles of observation of core labour standards, a fair reward plus premium for social development, fair trade presents an opportunity for us as trade unionists to buy things we need, and at the same time avoid unwitting exploitation of workers overseas.

This is a pack that trade unionists can use in the branch, workplace or community as a focus for organising and campaigning. Trade union tutors could also use it as part of any course that develops issues of putting trade union principles into practice. It has everything that's needed for awareness raising, discussion, campaigning (drafting press releases, leaflets, action planning etc) - plus details of how to find out more about the issues involved.

Available free from the Co-operative College (see Organisations listed below).

Dana Frank (2005) Bananeras. Women transforming the banana unions of Latin America. South End press, Cambridge, MA

The 'popular' style and presentation of serious issues in this book makes it a bit of a mold breaker. Despite having over 20 pages of research references, it would still make for a captivating bedtime (or any other time) read. It follows the development of women activists in the banana unions of Central America.

The rise of women within the unions is interesting in itself, but it is made much more so by the steadfast approach to looking at the whole of the women's experience as trade unionists - be that at work, in the union or at home. Its power is also in integrating what sometimes might seem like small things (attendance at a meeting, the company of like-minded women) into the bigger picture of organising collectively to improve lives and livelihoods.

Available from Bananalink, £10 + P&P. See Web-site or Organisations listed below.

DFID (2004) The Rough Guide to a Better World and How You Can Make a Difference. DFID booklet, 96pp.

Produced by Rough Guide travel team in collaboration with the Dept for International Development, this pocket sized booklet deals with international development issues in easy to access format. The foreword by Bob Geldof, typically does not mince words about issues of poverty and development - ....those hidden worlds of decay, decline and death [that]whisper to us through the unfair trade of the supermarket shelves - and, of course, the need and possibilities for doing something about it.

The booklet then has 2 principal sections - one that explores globalization and development, and identifies the scale and scope of problems for development. The second part deals with how we can make a difference - Speaking out on behalf of poor people (including a small paragraph on trade unions), Making trade ethical, Ethical Tourism, and Charity.

The booklet is a welcome tool in raising awareness that we can all do something to help change the situation of the poor. Tutors and reps will be able to make good use of its availability and easy to read format. But, they will need supplementary information to speak with confidence about the role and significance of trade union activity in helping people access their rights and, thereby, improve the conditions of their lives.

Available from Post Offices, or see for a downloadable copy.

Ethical Trading Initiative (2003) ETI Workbook. Step-bystep to ethical trade. ETI, first ed.

The ETI is an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs. It seeks to ensure that the conditions in which work is performed in the supply chains of companies selling in the UK market meet or exceed international standards. Updated yearly, the ETI Handbook shares the experience and good practice of organisations opting for ethical trading. It is aimed at organisations, doesn't profess to have all the answers, but is committed to sharing solutions and providing step by step guidance on securing functioning and observable minimum labour standards. This will make the Handbook of interest to both trade union tutors and, especially, reps wishing to work with their organisations in moving towards trading that does not generate or reinforce internationally unacceptable labour practices.

The Handbook is very readable. The early explanations of what ethical sourcing is, the importance of getting support, and understanding supply chains are done simply, and with a minimum of technical jargon - serving to make the process seem worthwhile and possible. Getting suppliers to comply, inspections, auditable standards, monitoring and capacity building are some of the other aspects covered. These are illustrated by reference to, for example, the ETI base code, the presentation given in one company to win support, and inspection and audit sample checklists.

There is a lot here for tutors to base activities around and for reps to use in their companies or union branches. As a first step in encouraging companies to move towards ethical trading, the ETI Handbook looks like a good investment.

Available from ETI. See Web-site or Organisations listed below. £176.25 companies, £58.75 trade unions/not-for-profit organisations.

ICEM (2004) Contract/Agency Labour: A Threat to Our Social Standards. ICEM. Report 46pp.

The purpose of this report - to develop practical union responses, promote dialogue and partnership on the issue of contract and agency work - is not specifically educational. But, the way in which the research has been carried out and reported lends itself to use in an educational setting.

There is a section on the growth of flexible employment internationally, providing a short, (highly useable for tutors) context for discussing agency and contract work. This is followed by the detailing of the growth of non-permanent work in ICEM industries - mining, oil, gas, chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, power generation/distribution, glass, construction materials, pulp and paper etc. This is illustrated by information on the impact on women workers, specialist contractors, standards and agencies - all suitable case study material.

The bulk of the report then focuses upon union responses to contract/agency work - illustrating the use of 'defensive' and 'offensive' strategies, collective bargaining, global framework agreements, national legislation, union structures and union information and education. There are key recommendations that, although drawn up for ICEM unions, provide suitable points for discussion among unions generally.

Available from ICEM (see Organisations or Website listed below).

ICFTU (2006) Fighting for Alternatives: cases of successful trade union resistance to the policies of the IMF and World Bank. April, ICFTU Report, 67pp.

This is an uplifting publication - partly because it focuses on success, but also because it shows the strength of trade union and civil society bodies working together. It describes how international, national trade union centres and local organisations worked to combat, reject and even overturn ill-conceived IMF and World Bank policies.

Six country case studies (Uruguay, S. Africa, Croatia, Argentina, Indonesia and Tanzania) focus on campaigns against the privatization of water, railways, postal services, the restructuring of power and, finally, a failing water privatization. In each case, background information is given on the country context, the way in which IMF and World Bank commitment to privatization was effected, the impact on working people and their response. This is followed by accounts of other successes of trade union campaigning on core labour standards and debt relief.

The report is not a heavy read. It is illuminating and absorbing. There is something for all trade unionists here - for building knowledge , understanding the push for privatisation , recognising the potential of good organisation, providing examples of success, a source of case studies for teaching, a source of concrete achievements for building optimism and positive planning.

Available for download at

ICFTU (monthly) Trade Union World Briefing. 8-12pp

Each edition of this Briefing covers a different theme - e.g. Sri Lanka : unions overcome barriers to organising in export processing zones (Aug 2006 ), Women trade unionists in Palestine: A daily struggle (Feb 05), Uganda: a government at the service of employers (Aug 05) and Taking on Grupo M: EPZs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Nov 05). Each features short articles, interviews and reports that are readable at any time, and particularly good for quick engagement with topics in an educational setting.

Access to the Briefing is not evident at first sight, but here is one way in: follow Site Map in the left hand column, select Trade Union World Briefing to take you to a list of the latest editions, clic the edition of interest to take you to a brief summary and a download option. If, from the site map, you follow ICFTU Online Bulletins, you will find additional references to the Briefings. There is, for example, a video clip with a Haitian activist, and a spotlight interview with a leading trade unionist answering questions on the significance of international solidarity for the collective bargaining in Haiti and Dominican Republic. Taken together with the Briefing these are excellent resources for workshop activities.

Available at or see Organisations listed below.

ICFTU/Oxfam (2004) Play Fair At The Olympics. Respect workers' rights in the sportswear industry. Oxfam, Clean Clothes Campaign, Global Unions. Report, 77pp

This is an excellent report which, in spite of its topical focus will be of practical value for trade union tutors and trade unionists in general long after the Olympics are over. The impact of the report is heightened by the research that went into it. The experience of workers is gathered together (permanent, temporary, agency, union and non-union members in 6 countries), along with those of sportswear brand owners, contractors and sub-contractors (from the concerned to the unconcerned about labour rights).

The Report has 3 chapters - dealing with the experience of workers, the global market for sportswear goods and exploration of precisely where the difficulties lie in improving the situation of abuse of workers and their rights. Charts and diagrams are used to set out relationships in the supply chain, the mismatch in specific companies between inspection evidence and actual working conditions, and the gap between trade union rights in theory and the practical realities. These present a subtle lesson in the economics of globalisation - powerfully and painlessly.

Available from Oxfam (see Organisations listed below) or downloadable from

ICFTU (2004) A Trade Union Guide to Globalisation. ICFTU. 2nd edition

This is the second edition of the much used and respected guide, published together with Global Union Federations, intended for use in trade union education, and as a reference book for trade unionists in general.

Part I of the book - Globalisation and Solidarity - provides a level of analysis of globalisation that avoids over-simplification without being too complex. It then sets out the international framework for trade union action and social justice, the challenge of multinationals, and the new concept of corporate social responsibility. Part II - The Practical International Dimension of Trade Union Work - focuses more on the everyday implications of meeting the challenges. This has lots of examples and case studies of the circumstances and way in which a range of international action can be initiated and sustained. There are excellent chapters on company information and research, and trade union campaigns with an international dimension.

The appendices should not be overlooked - they contain details of global union federations and other international trade union organisations, plus handy references to core labour standards and the ILO conventions on which they're based. A highly usable and valuable handbook for all trade unionists.

Available from ICFTU (see Organisations listed below) or online at

ICTU (2003) Global Solidarity. Campaigning for workers' rights in the global economy

This is a pack of good, short, and to the point materials that seeks to engage readers in using their position as trade unionists, consumers, pension holders, voters, in more effective action to protect workers' rights worldwide. The pack presents 10 Information Sheets that work simply and logically through the trade union position on global solidarity - from Making Globalisation Work for People, through Union Rights to Making Companies Accountable. Each set of information provides ideas for action and further information details. For reps the pack provides a handy guide to the issues, and trade union education tutors could use these as a basis for further activities.

Available from ICTU. See Organisations listed below.

ICTUR (2003-6) ( a) Freedom of Association: the Protection of Trade Union Rights Worldwide, ( b) Child Labour: Time for Global Action, (c)Equality At Work: the Global Picture, (d) Forced Labour: Mapping a Global Problem

These are great posters for any Union office or Trade Union Education Centre. They provide a visual image of support around the world for the ILO's core labour standards . They can be used to aid training across a range of trade union activity, bringing to life facts and statistics. They are colourful, informative, a focus for maybe illustrating a point, or for browsing over, reflecting upon and coming back to. You can view them on-line before ordering.

Available from ICTUR (see Organisations listed below) or £5 each, £15 for the set of 4.

ILO (2005) A global alliance against forced labour . ILO Global Report

For any detailed work on forced labour, this report is a must. Freedom from forced labour was part of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (considered binding on all member states) and this is a four yearly report required by the follow-up. Much other research and comment on forced labour uses information from this report.

Part I focuses on Understanding and measuring forced labour today - including definitions (a good thing to have as interpretations vary widely!), statistical estimates and description of the main forms of forced labour. Part II details A dynamic global picture, looking at changes in the nature of forced labour, its causes, experiences and dilemmas in combating forced labour, the significance of state forced labour, poverty, discrimination, migration and globalization. Part III deals with Global action to combat forced labour - information in ILO work to date and its current action plan.

For all trade unionists, this is a great source of hard facts and statistics and like any good report, will not only provide answers to questions but raise new ones too. For the activist, information on where progress is being made provides motivating examples, and the action plan a place for anchoring campaigns.

Available for download at

ILO (2005) Rules of the Game. A brief introduction to International Labour Standards. ILO booklet, 95pp

The key theme of this report is that, as economic development is based on rules - property and contract rights, respect for procedure etc - it is more than fitting that these cover labour practices too. The undesirable, unsustainable, widening poverty gap and glaring injustices accompanying globalisation have made international labour standards more relevant than ever.

The first part moves on from the case for international labour standards to detail what exactly they are, how they are created and how they are used. The core of the report then focuses on subjects covered by the standards, giving them life as rules about the right to form trade unions, have decent wages and working time, maternity protection and migrant workers, social policy and occupational safety and health. The final section covers implementing and promoting international labour standards. This is the stuff that should inform Codes of Practice , workplace and government policies the world over. Not light reading, but a good overview of the case for labour standards everywhere.

Available from

ITF (2002) Globalising Solidarity. An ITF resource book for trade unionists in the transport sector. ITF. 64pp

An information packed A4 booklet aimed at educators and activists in the transport sector. It is designed to help unions and workers discuss and understand the way in which globalisation affects their lives, their jobs and how they need to organise themselves.

Its first section explores What is globalisation?, immediately engaging readers with different perspectives, and the identification and recognition of their own. The second part then looks at Globalisation in the Transport Sectors - detailing the practical effects of globalisation, including the experience of transport workers in defending their rights and conditions. The final section then works on Mobilising Global Solidarity - the need for cross sector support, communication and action.

This is a substantial booklet in terms of content and the activities at the end of each section, and taken as a whole is perhaps best suited to the more experienced rep or activist. The information and case studies it contains are well researched and provide a solid basis for discussion and an invaluable reference point for activists in the sector.

Available from ITF - see Organisations listed below, or downloadable from web-site.

ITF (2002) Workers' Rights are Human Rights. An ITF resource book for trade unionists in the transport sector. ITF. 67pp

This booklet is aimed at activists, educators, officers and officials in the transport sector. It presents a combination of information, case studies, key points for discussion and activities, encompassing all the transport sectors.

The first two parts examine the undermining of workers' and human rights affected by neo-liberal globalisation. This includes a fairly powerful section on the implications of government/organisation policies on refugees and migrant workers - policies that transport workers themselves can be required to implement. It is followed by consideration of whether some rights (for some people) are more important than others, and the significance of changing attitudes.

The third part contextualises workers' rights at their different levels - global, national, local, and the different structures through which they have legitimacy and can be upheld. This, and the following section on Taking Action for Rights has lots of case studies and examples - providing practical tips, guidelines and stimulus for activism.

Available from ITF - see Organisations listed below, or downloadable from web-site.

ITGLWF (2001) Women in the Global Economy. An ITGLWF handbook for educators, campaigners and activists. ITGLWF 34pp

This is a nicely presented, easy to read A4 booklet. It has 4 sections of information - Women in the Global Economy, Organising Bargaining and Representation, International Standards and Women's Rights At Work. Each section has an activity that can be used on training courses, or for reps to use with branch committees or workplace groups. Briefly and simply the booklet links the global with the local, the individual with the collective, and workplace organising and bargaining with international standards. Suitable for developing activism at all levels.

Available from ITGLWF, Transport House, John Dobson St, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8TW. Tel: 0191 230 1704.

IUF (2002) Getting to Grips With the Global Food Trade. IUF

This is an education manual designed for use with workers in the food, agriculture, hotel, restaurant, catering, tobacco and beverages sectors, whose unions are IUF affiliates (these can be checked on the IUF website). It is made up of activities and resources and tutor notes. A video, The Globalisation Tapes, can be used alongside the manual.

The purpose of the manual is to strengthen members' capacity for organising and bargaining with employers. It sets out to do this by focusing on the role of trans-national employers (TNCs) in world trade, and increasingly in setting the international and social agenda. While the manual is international in focus, it retains an organising approach to trade unionism that returns learners to their own situation, and to what they think and can do locally as well as nationally and internationally.

The manual is visually beautifully presented and the activities are varied - based on group discussion, quizzes, case studies, role plays and message-loaded games. These are supported by well-pitched resources that trade unionists will find accessible and thought provoking. It also has tutor notes that provide guidance on programming alternatives, timing, techniques and linkages.

Available for use by trade unions and other civil society organisations free of charge from IUF.

Labour Behind the Label (2006) Let's Clean Up Fashion. The state of pay behind the UK high street. 84pp

This Labour Behind the Label report uses the thing every worker needs - a decent living wage - to get behind what leading high street names would like us, the consumers, to associate with their fashion goods.

The initial chapters explore the idea of a living wage and its importance for working people and companies alike. This will surely be of great interest in itself to all trade unionists. The discussion is followed by a gem of a chapter Why Trade Unions Are Important. This demonstrates the contradiction between the big high street names' professed commitment to workers' rights, their suppliers' industrial relations practices, and their own pricing policies.

Subsequent chapters look at the practical inadequacies of many Codes of Conduct and social audits, and make recommendations for brand action to make sure the realities of their supply chain meet their commitments in theory to good practice.

The final chapter too is well worth a browse, as this goes through the responses of most names on your high street to the living wage survey - marking them as feet-draggers through to pulling ahead. This isn't designed to inspire guilt (on the consumers' part at least), but to inform us of where big brand names are buoyed by less than living wages. There is though, lots of information for caring people to act on and let high street suppliers know when their supply conditions offend.

Available for download at or see Organisations below.

Tourism Concern (2004) Labour standards, social responsibility and tourism. Report, 20pp. Tourism Concern

This report looks at the lack of attention given to labour rights and working conditions in the current dialogue on corporate social responsibility in the tourism sector. It draws on research in Bali, Canary Islands, Dominican Republic, Egypt and Mexico. The report explores some of the difficulties of workers in the sector, including health and safety, long hours, and sexual harassment.

While indicating the difficulties workers face in the industry - among them the capacity to organise in trade unions - the report gives less attention to analysis of what can be done, of successful organisation and actions, and of what trade unions themselves are doing in pressing for decent labour standards. Nevertheless, this is a welcome attempt to draw attention to the extent of poor labour practice in the sector and underlines the importance of trade union involvement in securing decent labour standards.

Available on-line and from Tourism Concern. See Organisations listed below.

TUC (2006) Slave and Forced Labour in the Twenty First Century; (2005) Trade and Trade Unions; (2004) International Development and the Trade Union Role; (2004) Refugees and Migrant Workers. TUC Fact files and activities packs for trade union tutors

These fact files have been produced in response to feedback from trade union tutors. Each pack has a series of short, explanatory Fact Sheets followed by activities for use in an educational setting and tutor notes.

They are multi-purpose in design - to assist tutors and union officers in professional updating, to provide background information and activities that can be used on courses or in workshops, and as a focus for support and ideas for all trade unionists wishing to know/do more about international issues. The work has been supported by the Department for International Development, as part of the Strategic Grant Agreement with the TUC.

Available at

TUC (2007) Getting to the Core - Trade Unions and International Core Labour Standards

This small booklet starts out by clearly explaining what the ILO's core labour standards are and how they came into being. It offers five well-argued reasons for why they are necessary and points out that if the same attention was paid to ensuring universal respect for core labour standards as is paid to securing free trade, it would be a huge step towards enabling people to improve their own lives. The last section sets out the international trade union movement's agenda for core labour standards, and offer robust answers to often quoted myths, before ending with suggestions about how trade unionists can get involved.

TUC (2004) Trade unions and international health and safety. 2nd ed. TUC. Workbook, 115pp

This welcome updating of the original CTUC workbook has been supported by the Department for International Development, as part of the Strategic Grant Agreement with the TUC. It is designed specifically for use with union health and safety reps - for either development of short courses, or as a resource for integrating in other courses. Individual reps, health and safety or branch committees would also find this an easy to use resource in terms of developing a broader understanding of health and safety issues.

The workbook leads reps from the contextual and motivating factors for developing an international perspective on health and safety, through campaigns, structures, issues, and future strategies. Each section is divided into activities with supportive fact sheets, providing a complete study pack - and is well-referenced for pursuing research and building contacts. A publication every health and safety rep and trade union centre would benefit from having access to.

Available from TUC (see Organisations or Website listed below). £40 each (£10 for member unions).

TUC International Development Matters. TUC. Monthly Newlsetter

International Development Matters is a monthly newsletter for trade union members who want more information about development issues, and is distributed free by e-mail. It includes news about trade unions in developing countries, trade union visitors to the UK, trade and globalisation, funding opportunities for development projects, useful sources of information and events, and publications. Trade union educators could well use this it as stimulus material for discussing why and how the interests of trade unionists everywhere are inextricably linked. The new format uses hyperlinks and is now much easier to read on-line.

Available by registering on-line -, via the International link.

UNISON (2004) Twinning. How to develop contact with sister unions around the world. UNISON. Booklet, 17pp

An easy to use, to the point booklet which could be used by any trade unionists looking to establishing links with unions in other countries. It considers different reasons for twinning, what is involved, and how to make it happen. This is accompanied by checklists on the practical arrangements, financing visits, and a pro forma for setting out a twinning project. It presents a practical guide for reps and members and a useful resource for trade union tutors.

The booklet can be ordered or down-loaded at

War on Want (2005) (a) Caterpillar (b) Asda Wal-Mart. The Alternative Report Series. 12pp (c) Globeleq (d) Coca-Cola

These are the first four of War on Want's 'The Alternative Report Series'. Their purpose is to compare and contrast companies' verbal commitment to corporate social responsibility with what they do in practice. The reports form part of War on Want's ongoing campaign for a global framework of corporate regulation, and each recommends action that ordinary people can take to rein in the power of multinational corporations around the world.

The content of the reports is similar in that they consider what Caterpillar and Asda Wal-Mart say about themselves in the light of what they actually do. The evidence shows a gap (if not chasm) between Caterpillar's claim to high ethical standards, and its disregard on the ground for the end use of its machinery in bulldozing homes, farms, land and lives in the Occupies Palestinian territories. The report on Asda similarly contrasts the company's folksy 'all working together to do the right thing' theory with its anti-trade union , 'squeeze 'em til the pips squeak' trading practices.

The subject matter provides suitable case study material for trade union education and training. The style is highly readable and rounds off with a 'Take Action' page that demands confirmation that these particular stories aren't quite finished.

Available from War on Want (see Organisations below or Website ).

War on Want (2003) The Pension Business. War on Want

This is a pack of 5 fact sheets designed to encourage trade unionists to find out and work to influence the kind of employment practices their pension schemes are supporting. These range through The pension business, Globalisation and Workers' Rights, Model article for your local paper or trade union journal, Model Motion and a model letter that could be sent to the pension scheme supporting the Invest in Freedom campaign for socially responsible investment.

The pack presents useful support for trade union courses on pensions and representational issues, and for trade union activists is an excellent resource for debate and information in the workplace.

Available from War on Want (see Organisations below or Website ).

War on Want (2003) Fighting Palestinian Poverty. War on Want

Although this publication is not aimed specifically at trade unions, but at all civil society organisations, the poverty and the context for poverty it describes will be both enlightening and disturbing for trade unionists in general.

The first 3 sections trace the economic and social impact of political decisions and Israeli military operations on Palestinian people. The fourth section deals with the specifics in terms of restrictions on economic development, on access to water, on freedom of movement to work, of the struggle of women in this environment and the chronic malnutrition of two thirds of Palestinian children. The final section presents an appeal to organisations to help fight Palestinian poverty by working to secure an end to Israeli occupation. There are examples of what can be done - including War on Want Projects with trade unions.

Trade unionists in general will find this publication presents a snapshot of life behind the headlines and media images, and the kind of information they will not easily come across elsewhere.

Available from War on Want (see Organisations below or Website ), £4 +p&p.

Videos and DVDs

Banana Link (2004) Los Alamos. Banana Link. 9 mins. English/Spanish

This is an excellent short video that tutors and branches can use in a variety of ways. Its focus is on families living and working on a banana plantation, owned by a multinational, beginning to organise in an attempt to improve the condition of their lives. It comes with a 4 page booklet that underlines the key points. It is simple, to the point and in just 9 minutes will impress viewers with its powerful messages.

It can be used to work on issues of organising, planning, campaigning, solidarity, core labour standards and workers' rights. With its mix of English/Spanish dialogue and sub-titles, it is also a great resource for use in Spanish language classes run in many trade union centres.

Available from Bananalink, See Websites or Organisations listed below.

Banana Link (2000) Bananas Unpeeled. 26 mins

Introduced by Mark Thomas, and supported by some catchy regional rhythms, this video/ DVD takes us from bananas piled high in Brixton market to the lowly conditions afforded plantation workers in Latin America and the Caribbean. It deals first of all with the control of the market by a handful of multinational companies, and their use of company or 'yellow' unions, and then looks at the effects of such control on living and working conditions. The footage moves from the statistics and devastation of lives resulting from widespread, poorly controlled use of chemicals hazardous to health, to companies' rationale for their usage - the only difference between medicine and poison is the dosage.

The video/ DVD moves on to the imbalance in the economic division of what is produced, and the difficulties of small farmers, in view of the power of multinationals to influence the international regulatory frameworks at a global level. It finishes with a look at the significance of Fairtrade arrangements for workers and consumers, as one part of the initiative being taken by producers to improve their situation.

Tutors and trade unionists in general will find this a good, awareness raising focus for discussion. It raises lots of opportunities for development - by linking to Target 2015 Poverty Reduction goals, to health and safety issues, international union solidarity, framework agreements, lobbying and more. There are lots of materials and activities (see under Written Materials above or via Web-site listed below) to support extended discussion - not forgetting the fruit itself, which is certainly food for thought.

Available in video or DVD from Banana Link , £10 + pp . See Web-sites or Organisations listed below for contact details.

Fair Trade Center (2004) Santa's Workshop. Fair Trade Center/Lotta Films with the support of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation's cultural fund. 33mins

Despite the seasonal title, this is a video about the general pay and conditions involved in the production of toys in China and can be used at any time of year.

It differs from other productions about workers' conditions elsewhere in the world, in the sense that the voice of workers in the offending factories is noticeably absent, as the video producers found access difficult. Trade unions in China are a function of the state and workers cannot organise independently. UK trade unionists will know that China is increasingly a magnet for cheap production and the relocation of jobs, but will have little information on what this economic miracle actually looks like. In formulating an image of what life is like for workers at the centre of China's production boom, this video will be of interest and relevance to all trade unionists.

The video starts by looking at the rapid development of China in the last 25 years - from fields to high rise and production for the 20 billion euros spent on toys in Europe each year. It explores the use of cheap female migrant labour in the supplying factories, which come complete with canteens and dormitories. Here workers work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day to complete orders, whether they like it or not.

Available from or tel: 00 46 643 43 64, cost 18 euros (£12-ish) + 7 euros pp.

ICFTU (2003) Philippines: a union foothold in the export processing zones. Merlin Films. 13 mins

This video highlights the linkage between liberalisation of trade and the race to the bottom - the drive for continuous cost reductions at the expense of decent working conditions and workers' rights - in places like the Philippines.

Following the working day of a female factory worker, the video traces the undermining of rights, lives and livelihoods that are the practical results of 'success' in establishing 'liberalised' trade enclaves in the form of EPZs (export processing zones). The rewards to the partners in production are contrasted - tax holidays and exemptions for the companies setting up production, with breaches of minimum wage legislation, health and safety regulations and excessive working hours for the producers.

The video is supported by a booklet Export Processing Zones - Symbols 0f Exploitation and a Development Dead-End that makes this an informative and highly useable resource for individual trade unionists and trade union Tutors. The video focus is the Philippines, but the outstanding themes are the links between trade liberalisation and workers' rights and conditions anywhere in the world.

Available from ICFTU. See Organisations or Websites listed below.

ICTU (2002) Race to the Bottom. Esperanza Productions. 52 mins

The first part of this video explores the pros and cons of the garment sector in Bangladesh, 75% of whose workers are women. It deals with the reality of women's lives - the independence afforded by employment on the one hand, and the high cost in terms of long hours, and health and safety abuses on the other. This is linked to the ever lower prices offered for goods by European and American retailers who maintain their profit margins by squeezing their suppliers.

Just as we might be lulled into thinking that life is different in other parts of the world, the scene shifts to the rise and fall of the garment industry in Northern Ireland since the 1960s. Working people chart having to leave school to work in the sector, their long hours, poor conditions, the fear of joining a trade union given the priority to 'put food on the table'; and the moment when their cheap labour was no longer cheap enough, the decline of the sector.

Back in Bangladesh the new cheap labour is finding that their labour is no longer cheap enough either, as the retailers and buyers begin to contract in China where unit labour costs in garments is half that of Bangladesh. The pace of the Race to the Bottom is underlined by some comments (highly useable for trade union tutors) from leading trade unionists - We need to be aware of conditions in other countries, and why - our contribution at present is our ignorance. The video finishes on a chilling note of desperation from an employer - you must emphasise to Western buyers what they are doing - we only have the garment sector, there is no place else for our 1.6m garment workers to go.

This is a knowledge-building, thought provoking production which trade unionists and trade union tutors will be able to use in a number of ways. It is quite a lengthy video, but there is lots of scope for structuring work around the issues it raises.

Available from Esperanza Productions, 44 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Tel: 353-1-2888648 Fax: 353-1-2888649. £25 + £5 p&p e-mail: web:

ITGLWF (2002) Global Companies Global Unions! 22 mins

A polished production, with a good mix of visuals, voice overs and interview clips. Its focus is on the low wages, harsh working conditions and long hours in the garment and footwear industry, and the value of International Framework Agreements in securing effective trade union organisation. Despite the industry focus, this is a video that can be used by trade union tutors with reps generally.

The video traces the movement of job around the world, and the drive by companies to seek ever lower unit labour costs at the expense of decent working conditions and wages. It provides excellent comparisons of retail costs versus manufacturing costs, and the controlling role of Brand owners - able to secure high profit margins by seeking out the cheapest production, wherever that may be in the world. Initiatives aimed at regulating such practices are assessed, with the conclusion that International Framework Agreements are the ones that can best guarantee minimum standards, and the freedom to organise and bargain at plant level.

This is a video that tutors and reps can use in different ways - it can be used as stimulus material for discussion of international trade union organisation and strategies, as general awareness raising material on globalisation, or as an aid in addressing fears that they're taking our jobs. This video underlines just who has the control of job mobility, and the importance of not making mistakes about it.

The video is supported by a stimulating education pack that includes information and activities relating to globalisation, supply chains, action, international framework agreements, and organising strategies

Available from ITGLWF, Transport House, John Dobson St, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8TW. Cost £10 inc p&p. Cheques payable to ITGLWF.

ITGLWF (1998) The Thread of Life. 35 mins

A well paced video that focuses on health and safety at work, and the importance of union health and safety reps in securing workers' health and well-being. Trade union tutors will be able to use the video in a number of ways, and the ease with which it brings life/meaning to the dryness of some regs could make it a helpful tool for union reps in building a health and safety culture among members.

Textile, garment and leatherwork situations globally provide the visuals in this production, but reps from all types of workplaces will quickly identify with the health and safety links. There are good general sections on identifying hazards and preventing risks, on fires, electrical installations and machines, physical and chemical risks, and movement and posture. This makes the video good for using in sections or as a whole. Not to be omitted are the final sections on work organisation, and a very powerful piece on child labour.

An extremely useful video that can be used to support a range of issues and approaches, and that makes an excellent case in establishing the key role of trade unions to the health and safety of workers. Copying for the widest dissemination possible is encouraged.

Available from ITGLWF, Transport House, John Dobson St, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8TW. Cost £5 inc p&p. Cheques payable to ITGLWF.

Justice for Columbia/War on Want (2004) Columbia. Trade Unionists in the Firing Line. 25 mins

This video has been produced as part of a War on Want/Justice for Columbia campaign against the continuation of British military aid which they see as only worsening the human rights crisis, poverty and inequality in Columbia. It reports the February visit by British trade unionists, parliamentarians and journalists to meet with Columbian trade unionists, and learn more about their situation.

This is not a stand-alone video and will be most effective when used in conjunction with the accompanying Briefing Military Update and other factual information from Justice for Columbia. The video does reinforce the critical conditions - economic and social, not to mention threats, intimidation and assassination - that form part of the Columbian trade unionists' daily experience. The appeal for British trade union action and pressure against UK military aid is underlined by the high level and degree of participation by union officers and officials in the delegation.

Available from Justice for Columbia, see Organisations or Websites below. £5 +p&p

Justice for Columbia/War on Want (2003) Mayday Columbia. 23 mins

This video is dedicated to the 3,800 trade unionists murdered in Columbia since 1998. Of these, teachers form the greatest number. Everyone knows a teacher - and this, if not the sheer horror of that statistic makes this video 'one to watch', trade unionist or not.

Supported by their Unions and the TUC, British education workers visited Columbia over the May Day period, the title for the video. The back drop to the union visits, interviews, and demonstrations attended by delegation is one in which governments have determinedly pursued the privatisation of public services, a condition for securing IMF loans. This has resulted in popular opposition to which the private armies of businesses and cattle ranchers have reacted with brutality, blood, and apparent impunity. They have declared trade unionists and human rights workers as valid 'military targets'. One teacher is killed every week.

The video is supported a booklet of the same name, that has sections on the militarization of education, a case study on displacement, information on underlying causes and poverty, together with ideas for action. There is also a pamphlet Blood on our hands? that explores the links between UK military assistance to Columbia and Human Rights consequences, and a War on Want leaflet. These are best ordered with the video - it is stirring, and a real call to action.

Available from Justice for Columbia, see Organisations or Websites below. £4 + p&p.

Public Services International (2003) Pay Equity Now! Merlin Films. 13 mins

Short and to the point, this is a video that literally brings home both the injustice and dangers of unequal pay. It starts with a snapshot of how in the Philippines, women's pay in relation to men's has actually gone down since the 1960s. Union campaigning on the issue is finding new resonance as the effect on poverty and the quality and levels of service is finally being acknowledged.

In Namibia, the legacy of injustice and discrimination affecting women in the labour market, has led Windhoek City Council to audit its workforce to identify the position of workers. The results underline the link between low levels of literacy and skills, and inequality. Here compulsory consultation has presented opportunities for the union to press pay equity and monitor progress towards it.

Finally, North Yorkshire dinner ladies show how privatisation reduced their pay and conditions, as contractors saw it as 'pin money'. Recognising this as gender discrimination their union helped them win their case for equal pay.

Covering a number of clear, simple messages in a short space of time, this is a great video for use with workplacereps, equalities reps and union learning reps.

Available from PSI. See Websites or Organisations listed below.

Tobin Tax Network (2002) The Tobin Tax. 13 mins

A short, focused production that outlines the enormous currency transactions that take place every day. It links international currency speculation to the damage affected on developing countries, and advocates a tax on such transactions as a means of both helping to prevent widespread impoverishment, and providing funds for development.

The film features commentary by Jon Snow, and contributions from economist Will Hutton and Guardian Economics editor Larry Elliott. It makes clear links to world poverty and the Millennium Development Goals, and proposes the Tobin Tax as a viable means of securing a 50% poverty reduction by 2015. Trade union tutors will find this a useful aid in exploring the economics of global poverty, and as a focus for discussion of how poverty reduction might be achieved.

The video is supported by summary information on the Tobin Tax, an index of Frequently Asked Questions, and a very useful transcript of the film. The TUC is a member of the Network.

Available from Tobin Tax Network - see Organisations below. Cost £3 p&p.

TVE International (2004) The Millenium Development Goals - dream or reality? 27mins.

For those who have little previous knowledge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this is a good introduction to them. The rationale behind them is put by those with varying responsibilities for taking them forward at international, European and national level. The goals are contextualised with footage from developing countries, and the potential spin-off on achieving the goals is explained.

A critical edge to the video is introduced by the narrator's questions - posing the problem of governments who are not committed, unfair trade practices of Europe and the USA and the disproportionate amount spent on defence compared to development. Its weakness is in that, other than briefly mentioning reproductive rights, rights are not dealt with at all. Nevertheless, as an educational tool its strong points are in that it provides a clear introduction to the MDGs and the rationale behind them, and begins to open out some of the difficulties for achieving them. It also leaves the field wide open for discussion of the potential contribution of a rights based approach to poverty reduction and, of course, the particular role of trade unions.

A transcript for the DVD is available via the website.

Available from TVE International, £35 + pp. See Websites or Organisations below for details.

War on Want/UNISON (2002) Water for Sale. 15 mins

This video, produced by workers in the water industry initiating international solidarity, provides a snapshot of the War on Want/UNISON water workers visit to South Africa. It follows meetings between water workers, health and community groups and their exchange of experiences following privatisation. It picks up on issues such as the effects for both workers and consumers in terms of prices, quality of service and health and safety. Also briefly discussed are the benefits of the public-public partnership in Odi. This will be of special interest to workers in the water industry. Used with the accompanying booklet it could also be used as a basis for discussion of privatisation/globalisation and international solidarity. Be prepared for sometimes weak sound quality.

Available from War on Want. See Websites or Organisations below for details.


As with any other information source, the web sites listed here vary in terms of language, structure, usefulness for specific issues, and ease of access. They have been selected and reviewed with the key question in mind What might trade union members and educators interested in development issues find useful on this site? As with all web-sites, users should check when the site was last updated - some sites, or sections of sites are not maintained or their subject material can date very rapidly.

The reviews below are not summaries of the sites - surfers will find far more on them than is commented upon below. The comments are provided as guidance to those trade unionists who want to find out more about international issues and to develop their activism in some way. There is a wealth of information available on international development, and much of it is produced or targeted for specific groups. The purpose of this listing is to help those using the internet to find answers to questions they have as trade unionists do so more quickly and effectively.

This is the UK site of the international charity that works to overcome the poverty and injustice that causes it, key to which is its work with poor and marginalized groups to help them build their ability to defend their own interests. The What We Do link provides information on Action Aid's work on Trade, HIV/AIDs, Women's Rights and more (for more detailed info on activities globally visit the international website by omitting the UK in the address bar). The What You Can Do link lists up to the minute actions that you can take - or get ideas from for your union group's own.

Action for Southern Africa (the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) campaigns to support peace, democracy and development across the region. The web-site has links to information on specific campaigns - Angola, Debt, Trade, HIV & Aids, Solidarity - Africa Matters . You can set up or find local groups through the Get Involved link.

2007 is the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the UK, and this site provides a comprehensive range of information on slavery and forced labour past and present. A simple hover of the mouse over the pictures on the home page will produce drop down menus revealing the sub-sections of each link. For background history on the slave trade click About Us, for detailed fact sheets on forms of slavery and forced labour today click Slavery Today. The Campaigns link provides a range of actions appropriate for trade union activity, and the Resources link stacks of support for that. The Shop link too has posters, cards, books, and colour maps on child and forced labour - for no more than the cost of the postage.

The banana coloured web-site of the campaigning organisation for sustainable production and trade in bananas. The banana - and the wealth of information, campaign options and resources on it here - provides a symbol for the discussion of the injustices of international trade. This is all the more useful, as this organisation works closely with banana workers' unions and actively campaigns to support the right to freedom of association .

The site is a fairly comprehensive guide to everything you might want to know about bananas. There are links to further information on the banana trade, the companies involved (and their approach to trade unions), trade policy , social and environmental costs, alternatives for the future, campaigns ( see esp. the Union to Union sub-section). There are also activities, games, posters that could be used for working on the situation of banana workers in Latin America.

There is something about the familiarity of the banana that makes this site compelling.

CAFOD promotes long-term development, helping people in need to bring about change for themselves through development and relief work. To access information on the site, click on a tab - Policy/Analysis will take you to (among other things ) Rough Guides - to Labour Standards, Debt and Globalisation for example. The site also has some good Resources which trade unionists may find useful - in the form of downloadable campaign kits and How to ... (campaign, get media coverage etc . excellent booklets such as Clean Up Your Computer reviewed above.

This is the site of a Christian charity that works with poor people in over 60 countries, regardless of religion or race, to improve lives and tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. Its campaigning is often direct and does not mince words - see the Home Page items. The site is easy to use - the Campaigns/Take Action and In-Depth link provide a wealth of information, and opportunities for individuals and groups (including trade unions) to engage.

Tutors may find the Trade Campaign Case Studies easy to use with reps (also available in print) , or the section that deals with how to get local resolutions on trade justice. There are useful sub-sections on how to get involved locally, hints for lobbying MPs, writing letters, and the facility to join an activists web group for exchange of information. More detailed reports, position papers and reports on trade, aid or debt can be accessed too through an In-depth link.

This site gives information on how the Development Education Association supports development education programmes in the UK. It has links that detail its approach to work with adults, including community education, higher education, schools and youth work. The site describes its approach to these aspects of its work and contact points for obtaining its twice yearly Global Learning Newsletter, as well as information on training courses for educators. There are no specific references to work with trade unions, but there is a list of Development Education Centres for those interested in joining a group in their local area.

The Dept for International Development (DfID) has a specific remit to promote development and reduce poverty (set out in the 2002 International Development Act). The web site provides news and updates on topical issues and projects, and a facility to subscribe to the free quarterly magazine Developments. There are useful links to Statistics on International Development (e.g. Debt Relief and Aid), and to New Publications (e.g. for strategy papers, consultation documents, briefing papers and more). For more specific information, the Search facility can be used e.g. inserting <trade unions> and selecting sort by date will provide a list of meetings, statements, policy approaches etc affecting trade unions, with most recent first.

The re-designed site of Education International - the Global Union Federation for the education sector. It has a very busy home page, with more than fifty links, some of which have relatively small amounts of information subdivided into further links (Introduction, Policy, Activities, Documentation, Links). There are signs that the site is still under construction (some of the links are empty), so you may need to be prepared to click and be patient until it is finalised - there are lots of resources in there.

This site will be of interest to both reps and trade union tutors. The Ethical Trading Initiative involves companies, NGOs and trade unions in working together to identify and promote ethical trading. Its Resources/English language resources link has information on auditing supply chains, the business case for ethical sourcing, and implementation issues which will be of interest to trade unionists interested in progressing ethical trading. It has examples of joint work in promoting and implementing Labour Codes of Practice, ethical sourcing and other initiatives. A list of existing members can be accessed, and there's information on how new members can join.

This site provides up-to-date news on unions internationally, together with links to its constituent organisations (via the About link). It also provides an invaluable short cut to Campaign s, Framework Agreements with MNEs, Global Unions Research Network, and Global Call to Action Against Poverty among others.

This is a sub-site of the main War on Want web-site. White script on a black background does not make for an easy read, but the information on the site is worth persisting. There are two sets of links - one with information, facts and figures on globalisation and the importance of workers' rights; the other on campaigns and solidarity. For trade union tutors and trade unionists generally, this is a site worth recording under 'favourites' - for easy access to succinct, usable information.

Hazards magazine web-site is relatively small, but there are links here to trade union organisations, campaigns and health and safety issues in the developed and developing world. See especially the News and Working World sub-sections. This last links to editions of Hazards that deal with, for example, successful international union campaigning on asbestos, the dirty secrets of the 'clean' silicon chip industry from Scotland to India, and global union activities in construction.

The site of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Federation is clearly structured, with links that are not overwhelming in number, and contain what their title suggests. These cover ICEM Basics (good summary statement on what ICEM does), Action (for examples global agreements, sector/company networks and campaigns), Media (lists resources and publications), Links (some excellent links to affiliates, e.g. Ditsela in S. Africa), Resources (contains e.g. useable labour cartoons), plus ICEM Events and News. UK affiliates include AEEU, CATU, EMA, GMB, GPMU, MSF, TGWU, and USDAW.

The International Confederation of Trade Unions brings together the work of 221 National Trade Union Centres. As might be expected, its web site is packed full of useful information for trade unionists. Its home page is especially busy, and those unsure of which link to follow may be well advised to go to Site Map first as this lists the pages available.

Trade Union tutors will find the links to Multinational Enterprises, List of Framework Agreements and Trade and Labour Standards particularly useful in working with reps.

A Trade Union Guide to Globalisation can also be accessed/ordered on-line, as can articles from the ICFTU publication Trade Union World Briefing. Whether your interest is in Health and Safety, Equality, Organising or Basic Skills, there is lots here to warrant adding this to the list of Favourites for regular return visits.

The web site of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights is quite small. It has an About section and some of the latest News items from Labourstart. The Global Workplace (produced in conjunction with War on Want) can be ordered free here. Articles from its journal International Union Rights can also be accessed and subscribed to online.

The site of the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers, whose UK affiliates include UCATT, TGWU and GMB-CFTA. This is a relatively small site, but there is information on IFBWW policies, activities, publications and affiliates. The links are easy to use e.g. the Policies link provides a strategic plan overview, with hyperlinks to actions taken on them. There is also a log-on facility for members.

The is the relaunched site of the International Federation of Journalists and associated web-sites. There is list of subjects and regions with sub-links to items relevant to trade unionists in journalism. There is much here of specific interest to journalists interested in international activism, but not so much that specifically deals with issues of globalisation and development.

This is the site of the tripartite International Labour Organisation (ILO), at which the TUC represents the interests of British workers. Resources on development issues frequently quote the ILO labour standards, and these are listed on the site, together with a list of those countries that have ratified them.

The ILO magazine World of Work can be accessed online, and copies of its well-known journal International Labour Review can be ordered. There is also up to date information on World Summits, Assemblies and Conferences, as well as ILO Databases referring to labour statistics, occupational safety and more. This is a large, photo-rich site, and trade unionists are advised to keep clearly in mind what they want from the site, so as not to become overwhelmed by the volume of information on offer, and the time it may take to get it.

An easy to use web site for union affiliates in the steel, non-ferrous metals and ore mining, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, automobile, aerospace, electrical and electronics industries. It is easy to use, has a good About section and Union Women link that provides updates and a useful Snapshots link to articles on the experiences of women trade unionists in different countries.

The Publications link provides access to a range of materials - from reports on specific multinationals to information on International Framework Agreements - all available in a format that can be downloaded.

This is the site of the independent trade union movement in Iraq. The site, like the movement, is growing and provides scarce information on what Iraqi trade unionists are themselves doing to make life better in changed but extremely difficult circumstances.

There is an interesting History link, plus lots of news items - testimony to the ongoing struggle and threat to trade unionists in this part of the world. Well worth a few clicks to find news from Iraq that rarely makes The News, and ideas as to the practical support you can give.

The International Transport Federation (ITF) site is user friendly, with easy to identify links to news and information on its specialist sectors and sub-sections. There's up to date news on the constituent sectors, resolutions and reports of its Congress, and information on campaigns.

The About ITF link has Information Sheets that provide lots of useful data on different aspects of the ITF's work - valuable for both members and those with a general interest in trade unions and development. Its latest publications are available on-line or to order, as is its quarterly magazine Transport International.

The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation site is easy to use and has a wealth of information that both reps and Tutors will find useful. It has the usual About Us, Press Releases and Affiliates Only links, supplemented by topic specific links that have a common structure, enabling the user to access the related Federation Agenda for Action, publications, press release, news items and resources. The Agenda for Action provides plain English background information and ITGLWF proposals for dealing with the issues - representing accessible explanations and highly useable materials for both reps and tutors.

The Priorities links include MNCs, EPZs, Linking Trade and Worker Rights, Homeworking, Women's Issues, Wages and Working Conditions, Eliminating Child Labour, Health & Safety, and Organising and Defending Workers' Rights. This last then provides information on basic trade union rights, how to report a violation, the importance of organising and the Federation position statement. The Health & Safety section has the facility to order a video entitled The Thread of Life, and provides a good link to a web site of the same name, which promises to answer all health & safety questions from trade unionists in the sector. You can then follow the Education link to access to a simulation activity with tutor notes, and information on Globalisation, Workers' Rights and Codes of Conduct.

This is an information and resource rich site for all trade unionists interested in development issues, and it is well worth spending time exploring the links.

The web-site of the newly combined (Nov 2006) ICFTU (see web reference above) and WCL. For older information on the international activities of national trade union centres (such as the TUC) see the ICFTU site. From November 2006 information, publications and other resources will be posted at this site.

The website of the global union federation for food, agriculture, hotel, restaurant, catering, tobacco and beverages sectors. The site lists its affiliates worldwide and is available in 6 different languages. There are links to regional offices, urgent actions, viewpoints and editorials on topical issues and a News and Information link relevant to general membership. For more specific news and items, a sector or company search can be selected. The number of items varies considerably between companies, but there is a facility for Members Only to log on, and for whom a larger selection of items is available. UK members (AMICUS, BFAWU, GMB, TGWU, USDAW) can apply to their national HQ, or national secretaries for IUF sectors, to obtain log-ins.

Here you can find a wealth of information about the work of the coalition of British trade unions and other organisations in supporting the rights, and struggle for peace and social justice of Columbian people. The site has easy to use links: About giving further information on Justice for Columbia; Projects, Resources and Urgent Actions - a must once an image of Columbia today has begun to reveal itself (see Videos above). Especially valuable is the JFC Shop link - from which you can order the quarterly journal, posters (suitable for the Union office), booklets and articles.

The web site of the campaign that supports garment workers' efforts worldwide to improve their working conditions has a clear sector focus, with workers' rights and trade unions at its centre. Follow the Background/Union rights and other sub-links or Campaigns for an overview of how this NGO works. Active in supporting trade unions locally, pressurizing company owners and brand managers, and in generally bringing campaigns home to consumer countries, you will find the site always has opportunities for individual or collective support .

This is an invaluable site for all trade unionists. It provides up-to-date information on the trade union movement around the world. It has a facility for single country searches, and links to online forums, campaigns, subscription to weekly mailings, plus guidance on how to set up and maintain a website. For trade union educators this is a rich source of items for background information and potential case studies, using current or archived articles.

This is the UK site of the Global Call to Action against poverty (see for other country links). The TUC is one of the more than 200 civil society organisations organising events and actions. The links provide information on why the call for urgent action on Trade Justice, Drop the Debt and More and Better Aid. Originally constructed for the 2005 global call to action, the site provides information on ongoing campaign activities.

If you are planning any work or have a general interest in migrant, refugee or asylum issues, then this site is a must. Here you can find information about inflows and outflows of people for almost any country you choose. Not only that, but information can be selected and presented in a range of formats - text, tables, graphs, comparative charts and interactive map. You can also access tools to help you write on migration issues, and if you don't find what you need there is a phone number with the hint of real, un-pre-recorded help at the end of it. The goal of the site is to put everything you need at your fingertips.

The co-operative that publishes the monthly magazine New Internationalist has a large website that includes on-line copies of the magazine, links to action groups created to work on the issues it publicises, and to its publications on world development. Information also extends to reviews of books, music and theatre that deal with developing world issues, as well as using calendars and cook books to spread information and generate interest.

The focus of the site is world development, and because this always involves what ordinary people can do to improve their lives, trade unions are a frequent theme of individual articles. Monthly issues such as The State of the World's Ocean, Corruption. Can the Rot be Stopped?, Poverty, Aid and Activism, Transnationals, Bread and Roses. The trade union revival. can be viewed and subscribed to online.

It is worth taking time to follow through the links, or use the search facility for specific items. A valuable research site for both trade union educators and members.

The homepage of this NGO opens with a few simple words that will find sympathy with trade unionists - R eal change happens when citizens know and exercise their rights . Workers' rights and core labour standards are a clear theme throughout their work. One World Action partners include a range of workers' groups and there's information on development news and events for those wishing to find out more or get involved.

The web-site of the charity Oxfam, like many other development agency sites, is now structured along the lines of About Us, What We Do, What You Can Do etc that do not have drop down menus and means you have to do a fair amount of clicking to find much out. Although there is no specific trade union or labour rights section, there is stacks here for those interested in international development. All the links seem to be very busy in terms of information presented at any one time, so you will need to have a clear idea of what you are looking for, or a lot of time for browsing. For starters, you could try What We Do and Issues We Work On or Campaign With Us, Get Active and Change Minds and Activist Resources.

Baby Milk Action, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the TUC are a few of the more than 60 groups that make up the Trade Justice Movement, which campaigns for fundamental changes in unfair international trade rules. The News link provides up-to-date press articles and statements on campaign issues, including the TUC Congress resolution on trade. Trade union tutors may find this a good starting point for further exploration of the site contents. The Briefings and Resources link provides supportive information, notes and arguments on the campaign, together with tricky questions and simple answers.

The new Trades Union Congress (TUC) website format presents a much easier 'at a glance' visual summary as to its contents. Clicking on the International link provides a fuller list of sub-themes - including information on Human Rights, MNCs, Migration and Globalisation. The latest on-line version of this Digest can be accessed here, as can the DfID/TUC booklet Target 2015, Halving World Poverty. There is also plain English background information on globalisation, and a Trade Unions in Action link with examples of a range of campaigns and associated web sites, including the global union federations.

Television for the Environment is an independent, non-profit organisation, which promotes global awareness of the environment, development, human rights and health issues. Click on the Life or Earth Report links for a list of the latest videos/DVDs that could provide useful background on specific development themes or issues, and many of which have transcripts. Alternatively, use the A-Z list in Resources to scroll through the whole 400 or so.

Union Network International was formed from a merger of FIET, MEI, IGF and CI. The web site is not always easy to read or to navigate and there did not seem to be a list of UK affiliates for the sectors covered (includes Casino, Commerce, Electrical, Finance, Graphical, Hair and Beauty, Postal, Tourism and others). There is a lot on this site, and lots of value to reps and tutors. The Themes link has useful info, especially on multinationals.

The website of War on Want which was founded by Victor Gollancz (who founded the Left Book Club in the 1930s) and Harold Wilson in 1951 to fight the war against poverty. It is an easy site to use - there are a small number of links, and these have drop down menus so that you can review what's in them before making a connection. The Campaigns link is particularly useful for both Tutors and reps. It has a series of sub-sections e.g. Just Trade, Privatisation and Poverty and Columbia , that provide an overview of the issue, with further links to specific actions (NB The Trade Unions link has information on Tax Issues, not trade unions, but see review under - a War on Want sub-site dedicated to workplace issues).

The Country Profiles link is well worth a visit - it gives a background political/social/ economic sketch that is needed to better understand the context for specific campaigns and activities.

The revised web site of Public Services International - representing public sector unions - has links with drop-down menus, making it easy to use. There are global/regional links, each providing handy summaries of information and issues. Using the Meetings & Networks links reps can quickly identify PSI's scheduled meetings as well as latest news affecting the public sector. The Policy & Issues links has info, reports & policies grouped both thematically (e.g. Worker Rights) and according to sector (e.g. Health, Utilities). Valuable to reps and trade union Tutors alike, the Campaigns link has detailed information on action such as the Pay & Equity and HIV/Aids campaigns. Similarly the Resources Centre has a list of publications available on-line and, importantly, the offer of paper-based publications available at no cost to affiliates.


Action Aid

Hamlyn House, Macdonald Rd, London N19 5PG

tel +44 (0)20 7561 7561



ACTSA 28 Penton St, London N1 9SA

tel: 0203 263 2001



Banana Link 8a Guildhall Hill, Norwich NR2 1JG

tel 01603 765670


Christian Aid 35 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London SE1 7RL

tel 020 7620 0719



Co-operative College

Holyoake House, Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AS

tel 0161 246 2926



Development Education Association

(DEA) Ist Floor River House, 143-145 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3AB

tel 020 7812 1282



Department for International Development

(DfID) 1 Palace St, London SW1E 5HE

tel 0845 300 4100



Education International

International Trade Union House, Bd du Roi Albert II, 5 B-1210 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 224 0611



Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

Cromwell House, 14 Fulwood Place,London WC1V 6HZ

tel +44 (0) 20 7404 1463



European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

International Trade Union House, Bd du Roi Albert II, 5, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 224 0411



International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)

177 Abbeville Road, London, SW4 9RL

tel 020 7498 4700



International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) See also International Trade Union Confederation

International Trade Union House, Bd du Roi Albert II, 5, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 224 0211


web ( NB For information after November 2006 see )

International Federation of Building and Woodworkers (IFBWW)

54 Route des Acacias, PO Box 1412, CH 1227 Carouge-Geneva, Switzerland

tel 00 4122 8273777



International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), 109 avenue Emile de Béco, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 626 2020



International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

International Press Centre, Rés Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 23 52200



International Labour Organisation (ILO)

ILO London Office, 2nd floor, Millbank Towers, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

tel 020 7828 6401



International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF)

Route des Acacias 54 bis, Case Postale 1516, CH-1227 Carouge-Geneva, Switzerland

tel 00 4122 308 5050



International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation ((ITGLWF)

8 Rue Joseph Stevens, (Bte 4), B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00 322 512 2606/ 512 2833



International Trade Union Confederation

5 Boulevard du Roi Albert II, Bte 1, 1210 Brussels, Belgium

tel 00322 224 0211



International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)

49-60 Borough Rd, London SE1 1DS

tel 020 7403 2733



International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

Rampe du Pont Rouge, 8, CH1213 Petit Lancy, Switzerland

tel 00 4122 7932233/37



Irish Congress of Trade Unions

32 Parnell Sq, Dublin 1

tel + 353 (01) 889 7777



Justice for Columbia

9 Arkwright Rd,London, NW3 6AB

tel 0207 794 3644


Labour Behind the Label

38 Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1AX

tel 01603 666160




274 Banbury Rd, Oxford OX2 DZ


Public Services International (PSI)

BP9, F01211 Ferney-Voltaire, Cedex, France

tel 00 33 (0)4 50 406464



Tobin Tax Network

Fenner Brockway House, 37-39 Guildford Street, London SE1 0ES

tel 020 7620 1111



Tourism Concern

Stapleton House, 277-281 Holloway Rd, London N7 8HN

tel 020 7133 3330



TVE International. Television for the Environment

21 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9RP

tel 020 7901 8855



UNI (Union Network International)

Avenue Reverdi, 8-10, CH-1260 Nyon, Switzerland

tel 00 4122 365 2162



Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers (UADW)

Langekievitstraat, 57 - Bus 1, B-2018 Antwerp, Belgium

tel 00 323 232 4860

War on Want

37-39 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0ES

tel 020 7620 1111



Women Working Worldwide

Rm 412 MMU Manton Building, Rosamund St West, Manchester M15 6LL

tel 0161 247 1760


For further information or comments on this Digest please contact Liz Rees, TUC National Education & Training Officer tel 020 7079 6923 email or Jackie Williams, TUC Education & Training Officer tel 020 7079 6924 email

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