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FES / International trade union policy

The international trade union policy of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

No social democracy without trade unions

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) sees strengthening the representation of employees through their trade unions as an integral component of its efforts towards advancing social democracy around the world. Trade unions, works councils and other structures of workplace representation can only function successfully if 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.

The FES applies its trade union policies at three mutually aligned levels: nationally via approximately 100 country offices around the world, regionally via supranational trade union programmes, e.g. for Latin America, Asia or South-East Europe, and globally via the Global Trade Union Project. Each level addresses specific issues and challenges. Read more

Trade Unions in Transformation-Project

Our most current project has been collecting around two dozen Case Studies of Trade Unions successfully gaining strength from around the world. In many countries, Trade Unions have achieved remarkable successes. Some are already consolidated, others are still in phases of struggle, whilst some have already gained enough strength to now embark on new campaigns. As a conceptual framework, all case studies use the Power Resources Approach. more



TiSA eating away democracy.

What is at stake for global food production and workers when every economic activity becomes a service and is governed by the rules of the controversial Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is subject of the latest study of the IUF: TISA. Not our future!

L20 Summit, Berlin, 16-17 May 2017

Under the title "Building Resilience, Improving Sustainability and Assuming Responsibility", G20 labour leaders elaborated on Trade Unions’ positions and demands towards the G20. The L20 Summit took these demands to German Chancellor Merkel and German Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Andrea Nahles (as host to the Labour Ministers of the G20) who both engaged L20 participants in discussions.
Please find the L20 Statement to the G20 Summit here. Information about L20 positioning on the Labour and Employment Track of the G20 can be found here.

© ITUCITUC Report on Violations of Trade Union Rights

The 2017 Global Rights Index provides an insight into workers’ rights violations around the world, which continue to be significant with arrests and
violence against trade unionists a particular cause for concern. Read more

The proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

... aims to rewrite the rules of the game for the service economy – in favour of Transnational Corporations. Two reports analyse the potential impacts of the agreement on democratic rights and on workers in affected sectors: ITF’s “The trouble with TiSA” puts emphasis on transport workers and their sectors while UNI Global Union’s “TISA-Foul Play” concentrates on e-commerce, telecommunications, financial services and post and logistics sectors.


The Right to Strike Struck Down?
An Analysis on Recent Trends

The right to strike is under attack, not only at the ILO. The present survey identifies trends and patterns of restrictions and violations of the right to strike at national level. Identifying 41 new violations over the last 5 years in 21 out of 69 countries covered, the study confirms the global trend of securitizing politics and society, with fundamental rights at stake in many countries. Read more

© ITUCNo Gender Justice without Tax Justice

Putting the gender perspective on the international debate about tax justice was the objective of a PSI-FES workshop with the participation of leading trade union and NGO gender and tax experts in London, July 2016. Read more

International Conference: ”Transnational Campaigning for Decent Work”,
Berlin, 5-6 October 2015

“Campaigns” are becoming more important for Trade Union success. The 2015 FES International Trade Union Conference “Transnational Campaigning (and Network Building) for Decent Work” provided a unique and timely space for a discussion on the state of the art of trade union campaigning.        more

© International Labour Organization/Dutta B. ILO survey: worldwide 52 million Domestic Workers

The number of persons working as Domestic Workers has increased considerably. Since 1995, there was an increase of more than 20 million people says the first report of its kind conducted by the International Labour Organization.Read more


Trade Unions in Transformation: Innovative Change-making Union-style
FES Singapore, March 21-22, 2018
Programme & Info

XIII Global Labour University Conference "The Future of Work": Call for papers
in Campinas, Brazil, 7 - 9 Aug. 2018


The "Labour Rights Indicators" -
An initiative of the Global Labour University and the Center for Global Workers’ Rights at Penn State University. >>> video

Global Labour University
The GLU reflects a global partnership. Teaching is at the heart of its work, with four M.A. degree courses offered on five continents. Read more
Out now: GLU Network Brochure

The OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises
- recommendations on responsible business conduct. Trade unions have filed numerous complaints against multinational companies. The Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) Information Portal, supported by the FES, provides information on these cases. Read more