Resistance against free trade agreements has increased since the demonstrations at the WTO ministerial conference in Seattle in 1999. Positions by trade unions on free trade agreements are, however, ambiguous. While trade unions in the North especially in manufacturing have supported free trade agreements to secure export markets for ‘their’ companies, trade unions in the Global South oppose these agreements, since they often imply deindustrialisation.
I have been awarded a small research grant of £6960 by the British Academy for a workshop on Trade unions, free trade and the problem of transnational solidarity (SG102043). The purpose of this project is to understand better the dynamics underlying free trade as well as explore possibilities for transnational solidarity between labour movements in the North and South. Methodologically, academics, trade union researchers and social movement activists will meet in a two-day workshop on 2 and 3 December 2011, hosted by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ), to discuss these issues in detail. Samir Amin, the internationally renowned political economist, will be the keynote speaker. In addition to the grant by the British Academy, this workshop is also supported by a grant of £1750 by the University of Nottingham priority group Integrating Global Society.
Prof. Andreas Bieler
Professor of Political Economy
University of Nottingham/UK
Personal website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ldzab
16 February 2011