IALHI Special Conference The Past and Future of International Trade Unionism - Programme

International Conference
Ghent (Belgium)
19-20 May 2000


IALHI in collaboration with Amsab - Institute for Social History (Ghent, Belgium), the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), and the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Ghent. With the support of the Belgian Prime Minister's Services - Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC).

At the international conference The Past and Future of International Trade Unionism a number of provocative contributions will be made, clustered in four thematic sessions on structure, methods, regionalism and the ideology of international trade unionism. The confrontation of specialized academics, unionists and policymakers will without doubt result in gaining new insights for the future. Through observation of the turbulent twentieth century, the project itself will cast reflections on the next century.



Thursday 18 May, 2000

  • 7.00 pm -- Opening and reception
    Wouter Steenhaut (Secretary-general IALHI)
    Herman Balthazar (president Amsab)
    Bill Jordan (Secretary-general ICFTU)

Friday 19 May, 2000

  • 9.00 am -- Welcome (representative of the Belgian government)
  • 9.15 am -- General introduction by Bart De Wilde (AMSAB)
  • First session (moderator: Bob Reinalda, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands)
  • 9.30 am -- Introduction: "The Structure of International Trade Union Movement"
  • 9.50 am -- "A unified international trade union movement: From wishful thinking to nightmare" by Geert Van Goethem, Amsab, Belgium
  • 10.10 am -- "The Strength and Weaknesses of the post-war European Trade Union Movement from a comparative and international perspective" by Jelle Visser, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 10.30 am -- Coffee break
  • 10.50 am
  • 11.10 am -- "The limits of common interest in the International Federations of Trade Unions, 1919-1939" by Christine Collette, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom
  • 11.30 am -- Discussion
  • 12.00 am -- Lunch break (cold meal)
  • Second session (moderator: Richard Hyman, University of Warwick, United Kingdom)
  • 1.30 pm -- Introduction: "The methods of International Trade Unionism"
  • 1.50 pm -- "Secrétariat syndical international et Fédération syndicale internationale: mobilisation de masse et/ou négociation" by Michel Dreyfus, CRNS, France
  • 2.10 pm -- "Instruments of Trade Union Internationalism in the Transport Sector since 1945" by Sigrid Koch-Baumgarten, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 2.30 pm -- Coffee break
  • 2.50 pm -- "Perspectives on the ICFTU and the International Policy Agenda" by Stephen Pursey (ILO)
  • 3.10 pm -- "Labour Internationalism as Permanent Dialogue" by Peter Waterman
  • 3.30 pm -- Discussion

Saturday 20 May, 2000

  • Third session (moderator: Rebecca Gumbrell, University of Warwick, United Kingdom)
  • 9.30 am -- Introduction: "On regionalism"
  • 9.50 am -- "La coopération syndicale dans les Amériques: vers un élargissement des solidarités" by Mona Josée Gagnon, University of Montréal, Canada
  • 10.10 am -- "Atouts et limites de la Régionalisation du mouvement syndical dans une perspective de ré-internationalisation de l'action des travailleurs" by Gérard Fonteneau, ETUC
  • 10.30 am -- Coffee break
  • 10.50 am -- "Globalisation, the role of regions and the challenge for trade union politics" by Jürgen Hoffmann, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • 11.10 am -- "Trade Unions Regionalism and Trade Union Rights" by Tom Etty, FNV
  • 11.30 am -- Discussion
  • 12.00 am -- Lunch (cold meal)
  • Fourth session (moderator: Anthony Carew, Manchester School of Management, United Kingdom)
  • 1.00 pm -- Introduction: "Ideology and the International Trade Union Movement"
  • 1.20 pm -- "Moscow confronts Amsterdam: On the history of the Profintern (1920-1937)" by Reiner Tosstorff, University of Mainz, Germany
  • 1.40 pm -- "The meaning of the word Free for Free Trade Unions (1949-1999)" by Willy Buschak, ETUC
  • 2.00 pm -- Coffee break
  • 2.20 pm -- "Trade Union Ideologies and the Challenge of Globalisation" by Anthony Woodiwiss, City University London, United Kingdom
  • 2.40 pm -- "Le syndicalisme: resister pour exister?" by Georges Debunne, EFREP
  • 3.00 pm -- Discussion
  • 3.30 pm -- Conclusion by Marcel van der Linden, IISH, The Netherlands
  • 3.50 pm -- Round Table: Bob Reinalda, Richard Hyman, Rebecca Gumbrell, Anthony Carew
  • 4.30 pm -- Closing of the Conference by Wouter Steenhaut



To register please send the reply card below. Registrations are only valid if 1,500 Bef has been transfered to bank account number 870-0007163-48. Payments can also be made by credit card.

The registration fee includes:

  • summaries of the papers
  • an informative leaflet with tourist information on Ghent
  • a reception
  • coffee during the breaks
  • cold meals

Hotel accommodations are at the participant's expense. For hotel rooms please contact the Tourist Bureau in time:

Tourist Bureau
Predikherenlei 2
9000 Ghent.
Tel +32-9-225.36.41 - 266.52.32 - 224.15.55
Fax +32-9-225.62.88
E-mail voorlichting@gent.be
URL www.gent.be


At the start of the conference all registered participants will receive summaries of all lectures and a package of information. Following the conference a volume will be published in which the speakers' papers will be included.


All registration fees are non-refundable. A substitute may attend the conference.


The Aulacomplex in the Volderstraat is in the centre of Ghent, adjoining the Veldstraat, tram nos 1-10-11-12-13 from St. Pieterstation (stop St. Niklaasstraat).
Parking with tickets is also available in the underground car park on the Kouter or Wilsonplein (Ghent-Zuid).


Simultaneous translation from French to English.

Co-ordination and additional information

Amsab - Institute for Social History
Bart De Wilde
Bagattenstraat 174
9000 Gent
Tel +32-9-224.00.79
Fax +32-9-233.67.11
E-mail amsab@skynet.be