What is the course about?
Times of Corona are times of change. Hence, post-Corona is not only a crisis, but also a moment to explore new pathways for our societies towards greater equity, environmental sustainability and democratic participation.
This FREE online course brings together academics, trade unionists, human and labour rights advocates and policy makers from around the world to discuss policy solutions to the most pressing issues exposed by Covid-19. It also offers the opportunity to discuss an agenda for change.
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. These can be accessed under "Additional materials" section of each unit.
Thematic webinars on the main topics of this course featuring international experts. Four webinars were held during the period June-July 2020:
Webinar 1: Covid 19: Lessons for health care systems with Rosa Pavanelli and Philip Alston.
Watch the webinar here
Webinar 2: Income security: Protecting people, saving economies with Mirai Chatterjee and Patrick Belser. Watch the webinar here
Webinar 3: Financing the recovery: Can governments spend as much as needed? with Jayati Gosh and Wolfgang Schmidt. Watch the webinar here
Webinar 4: Recovering and redirecting: Labour's post-Corona priorities with Stephen Cotton and James Ritchie. Watch the webinar here
What will I learn?
The course participants in this course will get a labour perspective on the main challenges and systemic deficiencies exposed by Covid-19 and on debates policy solutions to such challenges. In particular, the course would help them to acquire a deeper understanding of the underlying barriers to comprehensive and universal health and social protection systems, as well as policy proposal to address and overcome such barriers. They will also learn more about policy debates on how to finance the emergency measures and the recovery towards services and infrastructure, which meets basic human needs and rights. Finally, completing the course and attending the webinars will help the course participants to effectively communicate the acquired knowledge during this course.
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 email@example.com indicating your organisation and the country you are from. Please complete the course before applying for a scholarship.
How to use 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.
Course structure and content
Chapter 1: Course introduction
Here, the course participants will be introduced to the online platform and its interactive features. They will get a general overview of the key challenges exposed by Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on workers and their families.
Chapter 2: Resilient health systems: Responding to pandemics and beyond
The focus of Chapter 2 is on the health systems – which have been at the center of debates during the pandemic. After a discussion on some of the main weaknesses of health systems exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the chapter sums up the main lessons of the pandemic and puts forward some key policy proposals to strengthen health systems and make them more resilient. Special focus is given to the critical issue of health workers who are critical to achieving universal health care.
Chapter 3: Income support and social protection for all workers
In this chapter, the emphasis is on another immediate policy issue, that of income security and social protection systems. The arguments about income insecurity and weak social protection exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, is complemented with a discussion on the impact on two major groups of workers – self-employed informal workers and (formal and informal) workers in global supply chains. This is followed by lectures on existing and potential policy responses to address the dire situation of these workers through building comprehensive and resilient social protection systems as well as strengthening wage systems. The chapter concludes by emphasising the need for a gender perspective in all the policies related to social protection and wage-determination systems.
Chapter 4: Securing emergency funding and financing recovery
This chapter looks at the main challenges for countries in the global North and global South to finance the pandemic emergency and the economic recovery. This is followed by a discussion on the role of international financial institutions and policies such as debt cancellation to increase the financial space in the Global South. This discussion is complemented with a debate on debt cancellation for sustainable development as well as possible policy measures for countries in the South to strengthen the policy space to respond to the pandemic. Finally, the case of South Africa is used to illustrate some of these challenges and policy measures
Chapter 5: Redirecting the economy towards a socially and environmentally sustainable future
The final chapter discusses the way forward by emphasising the importance of reorienting the economy and society towards greater equity, environmental sustainability and democratic participation. The example of a green transformation for the transport industry is used to illustrate the challenges as well as the policy implications of reorienting the economy. This includes issues of long-term financing for such transformations, solidarity and coalition building coalitions within and across nations.
Dr. Jeremy Anderson, Head of Strategic Research, International Transport Workers’ Federation
Prof. Dr. Mark Anner, Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, Penn State University, USA
Baba Aye, Health and Social Services Officer, Public Services International
Leo Baunach, Director, International Trade Union Confederation/Global Unions Washington Office
Marlese von Broembsen, Director of the Law Programme, Women in the Informal Economy, Globalising and Organising
Dr. Bruno De Conti, Lecturer, Institute of Economics, University of Campinas, Brazil.
Ruth Castel-Branco, Research Manager, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, Wits University
Aleksandra Draganic, International Center for Development and Decent Work, University of Kassel, Germany
Prof. Dr. Trevor Evans, Professor Emeritus, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
David Francis, Deputy Director, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Mirko Herberg, Coordinator, Global Trade Union Programme, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Dr. Frank Hoffer, Non-executive Director, Global Labour University Online Academy
Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Herr, Professor Emeritus, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
Prof. Dr. Praveen Jha, Professor for Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Tendai Makanza, Regional Officer, IndustriALL Global Union, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office
Dr. Sulakshana Nandi, Co-Chair, People's Health Movement Global
Dr. Nicolas Pons-Vignon, Acting Director of the Corporate Strategy and Industrial Development Programme, University of the Witwatersrand
Angelo Salento, Associate Professor of Economic and Labour Sociology, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
Prof. Dr. Christoph Scherrer, Professor for Globalization and Politics, Social Science Department of the University of Kassel, Germany
Prof. Dr. Martina Sproll, Professor for Social Sciences, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
Prof. Karel Williams, Professor of Accounting and Political Economy, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Prof. Dr. Markus Wissen, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
Dr. Edlira Xhafa, Executive Director, Global Labour University Online Academy
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
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 Education International, Public Services International, Building and Wood Workers' International, International Labour Organisation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and others.
I am General Secretary of the global union federation Public Services International. I was elected at PSI’s World Congress in November 2012 and was re-elected for a second mandate in November 2017.
In March 2016, I was nominated as Commissioner on the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (UN ComHEEG), representing the trade union movement, health workers and public services.
I am also a member of the United Nations High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters and of the Cornell University International Labour Relations Worker Institute Advisory Council. I also collaborate closely with the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT).
In 2002, I was elected to the FP-CGIL (Public Services branch of the Italian General Confederation of Labour) National Secretariat and led the European and International Department from 2005 to 2012. Prior to that, I was responsible for the municipal and healthcare sector and was FP-CGIL General Secretary of the Lombardy region. In these roles, I led successful campaigns against water and health privatisation and led the first European project on the role of public services for an inclusive policy for migrants and asylum seekers.
Sulakshana Nandi is National Joint Convener of People's Health Movement India (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan) and Co-chair of PHM Global. She works in Chhattisgarh state of India. She is involved in research, capacity building, and advocacy on issues related to health equity and access, and public policy and programmes for health and nutrition, with a focus on gender and vulnerable and indigenous communities. She is associated with the Public Health Resource Network and the Right To Food Campaign. Sulakshana Nandi holds a PhD in public health from University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Karel Williams is part of an international collective of academics working with practitioners to get economic policy re- focused onto the provision of basic goods and services- health, care, education, housing, utilities and food supply- which are the basis of well-being and citizenship. Their work can be followed via the foundationaleconomy.com web site which includes their post covid ten point platform in five languages.
Baba Aye is the Health and Social Sector Officer for Public Services International (PSI), the world wide body linking public sector trade unions with a combined membership of over 30 million across 154 countries.
He Is also the Vice President of Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2). He worked for two decades in the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) before leaving as Deputy General Secretary to join PSI. He was also the pioneering Coordinating Secretary of the West African Health Sector Unions Network (WAHSUN) and a contributing editor of the Review of African Political Economy [RoAPE]
Baba has represented organised labour on several international health panels of experts and guidelines development groups. He is currently a member of the WHO Health Emergencies Program (WHE) ad-hoc COVID-19 IPC guidance development group of experts (COVID-19 IPC GDG) & the WHO 2020 World Patient Safety Day Steering Committee.
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).
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.
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.
Ruth Castel Branco is the Research Manager for the Future of Work(ers) project at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She holds a MA in Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2012), a BA in Geography and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005); and is finalizing her PhD in Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Previously she worked as ILO program coordinator for social protection in Mozambique, and a labor organized with Jobs with Justice in the United States. Her research interests include social protection, minimum wages and (informal) worker organizing.
Martina Sproll is professor of Social Sciences and Academic Director of the GLU Master programme "Labour Policies and Globalisation" at HWR Berlin (Berlin School of Economics and Law). She is member of the International Steering Committee of the Global Labour University (GLU).
Emeritus professor of the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Expert in Micro & Macroeconomics, International Economics, Economic and Monetary Policies.
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.
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.
David Francis is the Deputy Director at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, and a PhD candidate in Economics at Wits University. His research interests focus on labour market economics, the informal economy, and inequality. He was the researcher for the Advisory Panel on the minimum wage in South Africa. He has previously worked as a development consultant, and a policy and budget analyst at South Africa’s National Treasury, where he worked in health and social policy. He has an MA in development studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a bachelor of social sciences in economics and history from the University of Cape Town.
I am a professor of social sciences at Berlin School of Economics and Law. My main area of work is socio-ecological transformation. In particular, I am interested in the labour-environment relationship as well as in mobility and transport. More recently, I have conducted a reserch project on the role of workers in the transformation of the automotive industry, featuring issues of conversion and democracy.
Ông là giáo sư khoa học xã hội tại Trường Kinh tế và Luật Berlin. Lĩnh vực nghiên cứu chính của ông là chuyển đổi sinh thái xã hội. Đặc biệt, ông quan tâm đến mối quan hệ lao động - môi trường cũng như sự di chuyển và giao thông. Mới đây, ông đã thực hiện một dự án về vai trò của người lao động trong quá trình chuyển đổi của ngành công nghiệp ô tô, bao gồm các vấn đề về chuyển đổi và dân chủ.
I've been at the ITF since 2008. I'm currently leading the ITF's Sustainable Transport programme. I've also worked extensively on organising campaigns in multinationals such as DHL, Maersk and Ryanair. I'm from Aotearoa New Zealand, where I worked as a researcher with the union E tū from 2003-4. My PhD (Queen Mary, University of London, 2009) looks at models of transnational union organising from a geographical perspective.
Angelo Salento is associate professor of Economic and Labour Sociology in the University Salento (Lecce, Italy). His background is in labour law and economic sociology. He has done research on the regulation of economy and work, financialization, local and rural development, the foundational economy. His last book is “Foundational economy. The infrastructure of everyday life”, Manchester University Press 2018, co-authored with the Foundational Economy Collective.
Selected Course Reviews
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