International Trade Union Policy

No democracy without trade unions

If our aim is to promote Social Democracy worldwide, then we must first strengthen unions. Through them, employees can shape society economically, socially and politically –ultimately aiming for decent work and social justice. We support advocacy groups that serve formal and informal employees in becoming more representative, democratic and independent. For this is the prerequisite for a successful mobilisation of their power resources, both locally and across state borders.

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News and publications on international trade union policy

Solidarity in action in value chains


Trade unionists from Germany and the global South discussed how digitalization is changing working conditions globally at an international conference...

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From Club to Mission Governance


At the Labour 7 Summit, trade unionists from G7 countries draw the contours of a global common good

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Ghost riders: the invisible lives of Johannesburg food couriers – photo essay

An army of riders ferry food around the South African city, their lives and travails largely unseen by the people they serve. With the support of FES...

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Online Course on Union Tech


Trade Unions are confronted with the need to go digital. We offer a tool and skills to responsibly collect data and build a data-powered campaign.

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Wixforth, Susanne; Botsch, Andreas

Strategic autonomy for a social and sovereign Europe

Bonn, 2022

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Building workers' power in digital capitalism

Old and new labour struggles
Bonn, 2021

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Samskott, Anne Mari; Skjerve, Ingvar

On the Corona Frontline

The experiences of care workers in Norway
Stockholm, 2021

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More news can be found here.

Making trade unions viable in the future

Many trade unions have recognised that they have to undergo change in order to remain or become viable in the global economy of the 21st century... more

Agenda for decent work

With the Decent Work Agenda, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has developed an operationalisation of priorities in the world of work adopted in a consensus by governments... more

Transnational representation of interests

In a globalised economy, effective representation of the interests of employees can no longer take place merely within national borders. more

Trade Unions in Transformation

Our project “Trade Unions in Transformation” shifts the narrative about trade unions. Moving away from the standard depiction of unions as victims of globalization, we highlight ... more

International economic and social policy

The world economic crisis has fuelled the global debate over a comprehensive change in the factors shaping the process of economic globalisation. more

International labour and social standards

Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization (ILO)... more

How the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung approaches international trade union work

Trade union representation is a fundamental democratic right. It provides a relevant section of the population with the means to help shape the economic, social and political future of society around decent working conditions and social justice. Without trade unions there can be no social democracy!

Our international trade union work fosters social democracy worldwide. We act in close coordination with the unions affiliated to the German Confederation of Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund - DGB). For the global trade union movement, our foundation is a unique partner, thanks to decades of experience and a worldwide network of field offices.

Our work helps trade union positions contribute to political and economical decision-making. This applies both within the countries where we operate, and at regional and global levels.

Trade unions, works councils and other structures for the defence of employee interests in the workplace can only function successfully when they are representative, democratic, independent, competent and effective. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has made helping trade union organisations to achieve this one of its core tasks.

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