What is the course about?
This FREE online course provides unionists, scholars, and practitioners from around the world with critical knowledge on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on workers in global supply chains and labour’s response to protect workers. The course also explores some of the key questions in rethinking the global supply chains as well as labour’s proposals and policy measures to build them anew.
The course consists of:
Focused video lectures by international experts from academia, trade unions and civil society at large;
Key readings selected by the experts;
Discussion and quiz questions to help the course participants to reflect how the knowledge received through the lectures applies to their local context;
Zoom workshops for each unit to enable course participants to engage directly with the course experts.
Thematic webinars on the main topics of this course featuring international experts.
Chapter 1: Covid-19 crisis in global supply chains: Introduction
This chapter provides a general overview of the main challenges posed and exposed by Covid-19 in global supply chains and the effect on workers.
Chapter 2: The house of Cards: The structural weaknesses of the global supply chain model
The chapter 2 offers a comprehensive analysis of the systemic dysfunctionalities in the ‘raise to the bottom’ model of global supply chains. Trade and tax regimes, price and time squeeze practices, environmental sourcing and on the shareholder model of multinational companies – have all played a key role in this model with very serious economic, social and environmental consequences. The analysis of the current model of global supply chains echoes the imperialism debate and dependency theory of the last century. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the failure of macho authoritarian leaders in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.
Chapter 3: The impact of Covid-19 on garment supply chains: Labour’s response
This chapter turns to the specific issues of different segments of garment supply chains from crop to shop. In each unit, the impact Covid-19 outbreak on workers is used as a point of departure to highlight the systematic problems affecting workers in cotton growing, garment production, seafaring, distribution and retail. Each unit contains also examples of how labour at various segments of garment supply chain has mobilised to protect workers from the effects of the pandemic.
Chapter 4: The impact of Covid-19 on other global supply chains: Labour’s response
It contains a similar analysis to the previous but for other sectors in global supply chains such as slaughterhouses, agriculture food production, electronics, cut flower and platform workers.
Chapter 5: Looking Forward: A labour perspective on key demands, strategic response and policy proposals
Finally, this chapter focuses on the way forward. It provides a discussion on key policy proposals and strategic responses from the international trade unions movement and labour-support organisations on how to regulate GSCs. The chapter also covers a more elaborate analysis of some of these policy proposals, such as those pertaining to labour markets, industrial policy and trade regimes.
What do I need to know?
The course requires a working level of English. It draws on the fields of social, political and economic sciences at the level of a Masters’ programme. However, the concepts are explained in an accessible and well-illustrated way, so it is also possible to participate in the course using skills and knowledge acquired outside formal education.
The estimated workload is 5-6 hours per week if you read also the key reading for each unit.
Certificates and Scholarships
You can enrol and complete this course for FREE.
If you wish, you can also obtain a Certificate of Participation. This Certificate is an official document issued by iversity, which states that you have participated in the course. It contains your name, the time when you took the course, a short information about the course content and the logo of the GLU and iversity.
Requirements to obtain a Certificate of participation
You need to complete the course before you can purchase a Certificate of Participation, which costs 29€. To complete the course, you need to watch all the videos, respond to the quiz questions of each video and read the chapter summaries.
If you are from a non-OECD country or a trade unionist from an OECD country, you can apply for a scholarship, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your organisation and the country you are from.
Please complete the course before applying for a scholarship.
How to use the course materials?
You can organise a local workshop on the topics of the course combining the course materials with local experts from trade unions, labour research institutes and universities.
If you work for a university, trade union or any other labour-related institution you are welcome to integrate the course material into your education and training programmes. All video lectures and interviews, readings, online resources, and exercises can be downloaded separately and used for free.
Dr. Jeremy Anderson, Head of Strategic Research, International Transport Workers’ Federation
Prof. Dr. Mark Anner, Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, Penn State University, USA
Leo Baunach, Director, International Trade Union Confederation and Global Unions Office
Walter Belik, Professor of Economics, University of Campinas, Brazil
Kiril Buketov, Program Coordinator, International Union of Food Workers
Liz Blackshaw, Director of Global Campaigns, International Transport Worker's Federation
Marlese von Broembsen, Director of the Law Programme, Women in the Informal Economy, Globalising and Organising
Dr. Luis Campos, Coordinator of the Social Rights Observatory of the Argentinian Workers Union (CTA-A)
Laila Castaldo, Senior Coordinator, UNI Global Union
Alejandro González, International Coordinator, GoodElectronics Network
Christina Hajagos-Clausen, Director, IndustriAll Global Union
Dr. Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Herr, Professor Emeritus, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
Dr. Frank Hoffer, Non-executive Director, Global Labour University Online Academy
Dr. Kjeld Aagaard Jakobsen, lecturer at the GLU Masters Program, University of Campinas (UniCamp), Brazil
Prof. Dr. Praveen Jha, Professor for Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Paolo Marinaro, Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Global Worker's Rights
Scott Nova, Executive Director, Worker Rights Consortium
Seth Payer, Strategic Researcher, International Transport Workers’ Federation
James Ritchie, Assistant General Secretary, International Union of Food Workers (IUF)
Nick Rudikoff, Campaigns Director, UNI Global Union
Prof. Dr. Christoph Scherrer, Professor for Globalization and Politics, Social Science Department, University of Kassel, Germany
Prof. Dr. Melisa R. Serrano, Director of Center for Labor Justice, School of Labor and Industrial Relations
(SOLAIR), University of the Philippines
Dr. Edlira Xhafa, Executive Director, Global Labour University Online Academy
Ineke Zeldenrust, International Coordinator, Clean Clothes Campaign
Prof Mark Anner, Penn State University
Mark Anner is a Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, and he is the Director of the Center for Global Workers' Rights at Penn State University. He is also the chair of the MPS Program in Labor and Global Workers' Rights, which is a part of the Global Labour University network. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University and a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. Dr. Anner's research examines freedom of association and corporate social responsibility, labor law reform and enforcement, and workers' rights in apparel global value chains in Central America and Vietnam. His publications include Solidarity Transformed: Labor Responses to Globalization and Crisis in Latin America* (Cornell University Press, 2011). Before beginning his academic career, Mark Anner spent eleven years working with labor unions and labor research centers in Central America and Brazil, and he was a union organizer in Boston.
Christoph Scherrer is professor for Globalization and Politics and executive director of the International Center for Development and Decent Work at the University of Kassel and a member of Steering Committee of the Global Labour University.
Dr Frank Hoffer
Dr Frank Hoffer is a research fellow of the Global Labour University. He studied in Bremen, London and Moscow. He holds a PhD in Economics. During his professional career, Frank Hoffer was a Labour Attache at the Germany Embassy in Moscow, worked as a senior research officer at the International Labour Organisation and served as the Executive Director of the ACT Foundation. His main areas of interest and research are social policy, wage policies and the application of international labour standards. He is a non-executive director of the GLU Online Academy board
Dr. Edlira Xhafa
Edlira Xhafa is the Executive Director of the Online Academy of the Global Labour University. She has a master's degree in Labour Policies and Globalisation from the Global Labour University (Germany) and holds a PhD in Labour Studies from the University of Milan, Italy. Since 2000, she has been engaged with national trade unions in her home country Albania, as well as in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Myanmar. She has also worked for, and collaborated with a number of international trade unions and labour organisations such as EI, PSI, BWI, ILO, FES and others.
Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Herr
Emeritus professor of the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Expert in Micro & Macroeconomics, International Economics, Economic and Monetary Policies.
Praveen Jha completed his Ph.D. from the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and is currently a Professor and Chairperson at the same Centre. He was also the founding Chairperson of the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies. He has been a Visiting Professor at several universities and institutions and was also a Visiting Fellow at the International Labour Organisation. His major areas of research and teaching include: Political Economy of Development, with particular reference to Labour, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Public Finance, Education, and History of Economic Thought. He is one of the founding members of the Agrarian South Network and a founding editor of the Journal: Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy. His latest book is Labour in Contemporary India (Oxford University Press, 2016).
School of Labor and Industrial Relations, University of the Philippines
I teach courses on theories in industiral relations, labour and the economy, industrial relations and national development, and human resource development at the national level. My research involves the following topics: non-standard and precarious employment in ASEAN and East Asia; collective representation and collective action among workers in informal employment; union renewal; the informal economy; industrial relations in micro and small enterprises; trade unions and social movements; comparative industrial relations; wages and productivity in the Philippines; and 'alternatives' to capitalism. I engage with trade unions and other worker organisations in the Philippines and in other countries in terms of collaborative research, training and education, program development and evaluation, and other forms of technical support.
Seth Payer is a Strategic Researcher at the International Transport Workers’ Federation. He was previously Research Coordinator at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Veteran researcher and campaigner.
Prof Walter Belik
Walter Belik is Full Professor of Economics at UNICAMP - University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil. He is Ph.D. and M.S. in Agriculture Economics, B.A. in Business Administration, developing studies on agroprocessing for food and bioenergy. Prof. Belik was Visiting Fellow in ILAS, University College, London, in 1993, in the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, in 2003 and Guest Lecturer at University of Kassel, Germany. He was Coordinator of Center for Studies and Research on Food (NEPA) at UNICAMP, Brazil, for five years. During this period, NEPA developed the first official national food nutritional composition table of Brazil. He was one of the coordinators of Zero Hunger Project, a wide academic research that turned into public policy in Brazil from 2003. During the period 2003-07 he was member of the National Council for Food Security and Nutrition. Also, Zero Hunger was the inspiration for the Initiative Latin America and Caribbean without Hunger, project based on FAO regional office (Santiago, Chile), which was coordinated by him from 2007. In the academic field, Prof. Belik has published more than 200 national and international articles, books, chapters and short texts. Since 2013 Prof. Belik is member of High Level Panel of Experts from the Committee on World Food Security. As voluntary, he was Director of Confucius Institute at Unicamp (China Academic and Cultural Center) and is still member of the council of “Prato Cheio” Food Bank in Sao Paulo
Paolo Marinaro is a researcher for the Center for Global Workers' Rights and UCLA Labor Center. He is also a lecturer in labor and employment relations at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on alternative strategies of labor organizing and the future of workers, with particular attention to Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico border.
Alejandro is the international coordinator of the GoodElectronics Network – a network (hosted by SOMO) of civil society organizations and individuals that are concerned about human rights and sustainability issues in the global electronics supply chain. As a researcher, Alejandro specialises in corporate accountability issues in supply chains of various sectors, particularly labour rights in the electronics and extractives sectors.
Leo Baunach is director of the Washington Office of the International Trade Union Confederation and Global Unions, which leads advocacy on the international financial institutions including the IMF and World Bank. He previously was researcher for the Office, and worked in the International Affairs Department of the United Auto Workers union in the United States. Leo is a graduate of the University of Washington.
Ms Marlese von Broembsen
Marlese von Broembsen is the Law Programme Director of Women in the Informal Economy, Globalising and Organising (WIEGO). Marlese has a Masters Degree in Development Studies and law degrees from the Universities of Cape Town and Harvard. She convened a Masters Programme in Social Justice at the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town from 2009-2014. . She was awarded a Harvard South Africa Fellowship in 2014 and was a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School from 2015-2017. Marlese has published on labour law and development, global value chains, and informal employment.