Ten Years of the Global Labour Journal: Reflecting on the Rise of the New Global Labour Studies

  • Edward Webster University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
  • Robert O'Brien McMaster University


The article examines the origins of the Global Labour Journal (GLJ) and its goal of broadening labour studies. It shows how, over the past decade, the GLJ has recorded and analysed the forms of action and organisation that fall outside the traditional focus of labour studies. Through a range of careful case studies, the Journal has made an important contribution to the growing field of global labour studies. The two topics that have been the focus of most attention across all types of submissions have been: 1) precarious work and new forms of labour struggles; and 2) international trade unionism or transnational/global labour. The Journal has been successful in giving a platform to content from the Global South, but it is uneven and limited. Another major limitation is the failure to bridge the divide between the big questions raised in the Marx/Polanyi debates during the early phase of the Journal with the more concrete accounts of labour rediscovering its power on the periphery of labour movement.  The article concludes by pointing towards possible options facing labour and the choices facing the GLJ.

KEY WORDS: Global labour; global labour studies; precarious work; future of labour