Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Future of Organised Labour: A Time for Analysis & Action


Some places are still available for the MA in international labour & trade union studies (ILTUS) at Ruskin College in Oxford.

The current MA cohort: A fine example of scholar/activists in
Ruskin's historical, radical tradition
The MA ILTUS at Ruskin provides learners (who are typically trade union activists, officers and
others with the same profound interest in issues of social justice globally) with a unique opportunity to pinpoint the major, global challenges facing labour movements, and other, organisations which collectively represent the interests of workers, their families and the communities they are drawn from.

The MA affords learners with an opportunity to critically assess the capacity of such organisations to respond to the range of global challenges, examining the relative strengths and weaknesses of such strategy and action.

This analysis includes those mainstream responses of labour movements in Europe and North America around the theme of renewal and revitalisation strategy.

With Sharan Burrow, centre (Gen Sec of the ITUC), and Tracy Walsh
who heads the ILTUS programme at Ruskin at the start of the ITUC
Congress in Berlin in May, and the 9th Congress of the Global
Labour University (GLU) of which Ruskin is an associate.
We do not however, neglect those more innovative, radical responses, including the many captured in the new book from Manny Ness (, broadly centred on the syndicalist and autonomous traditions, and of course the wave of activity, particularly in the global south, focusing on strategy and activity to organise informal workers, particularly women.

You will have an opportunity to critically examine these responses, and perhaps create your own, through the MA dissertation.

This encourages learners to determine a scope an opportunity for the future of organised labour via research in two or more countries.

The dissertation is no dry, theoretical academic exercise. The MA's focus on praxis challenges learners to consider how they, and their research, can make a genuine, original contribution to the way in which the economic and social well-being, and security of workers can be secured internationally.

I welcome an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about an application for the new course starting in October this year.

Ruskin College offers a distinctive, radical learning experience in an educational institution which still places excellence in the provision of working class education at the centre of its mission and ethos.

On a recent visit to Ruskin Frances O'Grady, centre
(Gen Sec of UK TUC) refers to Ruskin's role as the 'intellectual
hub of the working class'. Pictured (right) is Caroline Holmes who runs
the BA ILTUS at Ruskin

In the YouTube clip below you can hear directly from past and current MA students on their perspective on the Ruskin experience and of their study on the MA ILTUS.

Below is a detailed online prospectus (which can be downloaded via Issuu) which details practical and logistical issues regarding fees, study periods and the nature and context of the MA curriculum.

Some UK trade unions, and the UK TUC, provide some financial assistance to enrol the MA.I can provide support and guidance in approaching UK and international educational trusts to gain financial support. Although my contact details are in the prospectus and video they are:

email: - telephone: 01865 759653

The MA ILTUS cohort 2010-12 graduate in August 2013: A
day of pride and achievement.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

21st June @ Ruskin College: A Celebration of the History & Future of Organised Labour


You are all welcome to come to Ruskin on 21st June to share in a celebration of the ways in which workers and communities come together to resist and respond to external pressure and/or assault.

At 12.30 Professor Manny Ness will discuss his new book, New Forms of Worker Organisation, as part of a national book launch tour, taking in visits also to several IWW branches across the UK. I am delighted that Manny has agreed to feature Ruskin as part of his itinerary and I look forward to a discussion of his analysis for the future of organised labour. There is a dedicated website for the new book here:

From 2.30pm onwards Ruskin will host, in collaboration with Oxford & District Trades Council a celebration and exploration of the role of women during the epic miners' strike dispute of 1984-85. The afternoon event will centre around a screening of the film 'Going Through the Change' from Oxford-based film maker Anne-Marie Sweeney which explores the impact of involvement in the strike on the lives of  women involved in the dispute. There will be several speakers from the national Women Against Pit Closures campaign (NWAPC) who will help provide specific insight on this impact. There is a social event from 7.30pm onwards at East Oxford Community Centre.

For further details and information about the day please email me: