Product/service offer: Workers' organisations

Presentation | 10 March 2021

The challenge

Independent trade unions in Central and Eastern Europe were only established after the fall of the iron curtain in the early 1990s. Some unions emerged out of the previous trade union system changing their constitutions, others were newly established organizations.  The challenges to these unions are significant. The lack of respect for workers’ rights and established social dialogue structures is undermining the unions’ work. Violations of workers’ rights are reported throughout the region.  Decreasing coverage of collective bargaining agreements and the difficulties in maintaining high membership with few services has led to a decreased membership in most countries.  In countries with low trade union coverage, it is hard for the organizations to influence policies or undertake effective recruitment campaigns.

The COVID-19 pandemic will be an additional challenge for the trade union movement if the economic crisis caused by the pandemic leads to a longer lasting reduction of employment in the region. However, recent months also showed that the crisis is an opportunity for trade unions to gain more prominence as advocates for rights at work and a safer working environment.


Main interventions offered to support Workers’ Organizations

Capacity Building: Customized technical assistance to support trade union engagement in social dialogue at national, sectoral and enterprise levels.

Advocacy: Assist workers’ organizations in drafting policy proposals to national and/or multilateral institutions to influence decisions on social, economic or environmental issues.

Empower workers through better trade union services:
Assist trade unions in introducing and/or improving demand driven services for affiliates and/or workers.


Contact: Magnus Berge, Senior Specialist Workers' Activities through budapest@ilo.org