GAIA / Towards a Global Labour Charter

In response to Peter Waterman’s call, GAIA, New Transnational Social Network Union [experiment] launches a wiki Charter building page. The below text taken from there. 

“The items below are Australia Asia Worker Link (AAWL)’s proposal for a Global Labour Charter. GAIA supports this initiative and open AAWL’s text to a wiki formation process, here in this space, in order to create the most cretive and geniune charter that fits the global conditions of labour in the 21st cantury. 

GAIA takes the below text that has produced by the AAWL as basis for a wiki production process. Following is what we added on top of these items:

  • The right to organise unions and take collective action including industrial action and solidarity actions
  • The right of all workers to organise collectively without being subjected to violence, intimidation or legal harassment
  • Secure employment
  • Health & Safety at work, compensation, rehabilitation
  • A living wage for all workers in all industries
  • Decent work, with appropriate hours of work proposed by workers, paid leave and paid holidays
  • Full rights for women workers
  • Indigenous workers’ rights & Land Rights
  • Permanent residence with full employment rights for all refugees and all migrant workers in all countries
  • No child labour
  • Education, housing, health and childcare provisions
  • Social security and adequate welfare benefits



  • taxing capital, not workers and their families, in order to pay for the cost of the global crisis,
  • zero foriegn debts for the 3rd world / developing countries,
  • immediate cease of social cuts, globally,
  • 4 hours work day and 20 hours work week for all workers, without any decrease in exisiting wages,   
  • stop every kind of oppression and discrinmination based on race, gender and sexual preference,
  • abolition of intellectual propoerity rights, patents over genes, ownership on natural resources, rivers, lakes and costal lines, 
  • immediate mesurement for zero-carbon world, 
  • end of all military occupations,
  • abolition of all foreign miliraty bases, and nuclear arsenals,
  • fere internet and common information source for all,
  • recognition of immigrants and domestic workers as workers globally, 
  • keeping water, education, healt, energy, telecommunication, transporation public,
  • free public social security for all,
  • global minimum wage,
  • full transparency on corporate lobbying over national and local decision making, and on foreign doplomacy between state elits,
  • totaly open decision making to all citizens, workers, consumers globally.”

3 thoughts on “GAIA / Towards a Global Labour Charter

  1. Orsan (and AAWLinks), and everyone else, for that matter.

    Although I welcome the AAWL initiative, as also your Wiki-Project and your additions above, I would like to argue for my Global Labour Charter Project as a more appropriate basis for discussion, amendment, extension – or even rejection. Let me try to formulate my problems with the AAWL proposal and your additions:

    1. The AAWL proposal:

    a) I cannot for the life of me see any difference of principle between this proposal and that of the ILO/ITUC/Global Unions proposal for ‘Decent Work’.
    b) The only significant difference seems to be that it avoids this phrase, but otherwise it seems to consist of a series of narrowly worker or union demands that are both reasonable and acceptable to most trade unions. Given that work, workers, unions are all under radical transformation or crisis, this is neither subversive institutions, processes and discourses (ideologies) nor creative of the emancipatory labour project necessary under present capitalist conditions.
    c) It contains no theoretical, historical or analytical component, yet a new understanding of all three is necessary to an emancipatory project.

    2. Your additons:
    These merely extend the demands, rather than critically commenting upon or radically renewing them.

    As for my GLC Project, I would claim for it:

    1. That it does make a critique of the old
    2. That it does either explicitly or implicitly introduce new theoretical and strategic elements
    3. That it goes beyond ‘unionism'[ and ‘workerism’, particularly by attempting to integrate or articulate these with the demands of citizen, ecological, indigenous, women’s and other ‘new global social’ movements and discourses.
    4. Suggests a novel radical-democratic procedure for its discussion and development.

    This in no way means a claim that this represents either the 10 Commandments, the 11 Theses on Feuerbach, a 21st Century Communist Manifesto.

    On the contrary, my GLC Project is an invitation or provocation to a dialogue, with the built-in understanding that any more widely-endorsed (and permanently discussable) document might end up quite differently, or in various different versions.

    This is, after all, what happened with my late-1980s argument for ‘social movement unionism’, which took off in various directions, or has run parallel to discussions of ‘labour-community unionism’, ‘social-justice unionism’, etc.

    As I have publicly stated – ruefully if not pessimistically, in various places – I believe that my proposal, whilst not hyper-r-r-revolutiionary in the sense of various old or new Marxisms, is beyond the radar screen of labour activists, writers and theorists, whether of the right, the centre or the left (to which beling the proposals of yourself, the AAWL and, for that matter, the activities of the Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights).

    I in no way consider this a shortcoming of my project in so far as a shifting of deckchairs (addition of new ones, or return to old ones) whilst the Titanic is headed for the iceberg (vice versa actually, it is the iceberg that is chasing the Titanic), is inadequate to the capitalist (counter-) revolution implied by globalisation, computerisation, financialisation, militarism, destruction pre-capitalist cultures, of nature and the atmosphere, and commodisation of all social or human relations.

    Left trade unionism has a long, often heroic, but sad history, being repeatedly either marginalised or incorporated. My proposal, I would like to think, situates itself firmly at the margins (of the class, of the unions, of the labour movement), whilst basing itself on the newest global labour and social movements that, in form or content, are currently leading the struggle for global social emancipation.

    All the above arguments or claims are detailed either in the GLC Project or in other writings of mine, mostly available either on LabourBook or by searching ‘Choike Waterman’ and finding my many contributions to this bilingual Uruguayan cyberspace.

    I look forward to a positive or negative response from the above-named, or, of course, from other UnionBook surfers.

    • Hi Peter,

      For my account, GAIA wiki page wishes to contribute to your call by providing possibly most democratic discussion and production space,
      If you wish, you can add and delete items on the page, yet first it needs to become a member of OpenFSM site. Modifications can be made without explanation or discussion, yet preferably with appropriate justification. So I suggest you becoming member to OpenFSM, after that you do not need to join GAIA project for leaving comment and modifying the document.
      As for the content, I have added on top of the AAWL list, without feeling necessary to justify the items, since they are the most known demands of; tax justice movement, trade justice movement, water justice movement, movements against human trafficking, gay and lesbian rights, climate justice movement, campaign for lobbying transparency, free software and information movement. What I wish is to organising justice movement activist within GAIA SNU, and let them contribute to the charter them selves, since they know much better about the demands of movements active in that field.
      If you find these demands not enough or see them as merely extension of AAWL’ non-critical demands, please feel free to modify them, as I suggest, this has been already the objective.
      This does not mean that we do not need theoretical and conversational elements to be added. In a wiki form, this too can be much faster and better than other platforms, and possibly in most democratic way.

  2. Pingback: Partido X, Global Labour Charter, GNUnion: Modelling Peoples’ Transnational Self-Governance and the rEvolutionary transition to FLOS Societies! | Social Network Unionism

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