Trade union rights news

All work has dignity, and all workers deserve to be treated with respect by their employers. Trade unions play a decisive role in improving working conditions, safety and wages – yet some governments and employers systematically abuse the right of workers to join existing unions or form new ones. PSI works actively to support the right of workers to free collective bargaining, and to help stop abuses when they occur.

UN staff protest in Geneva against unilateral 7.5% pay cut

27 April 2017
No 7.5% pay cut

At its 84th session, in March 2017, the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) decided that pay for UN Geneva-based staff will be reduced by 7.5%. This amounts to a reduction of one month’s salary in a year.

Motion of support from PSI's Executive Board to the general strike in Brazil called on 28 April

24 April 2017

The Executive Board of PSI expresses its support for the general strike in Brazil called by the trade union centres on 28th April. In response to the attacks on democracy and trade union and labour rights by the illegitimate government of Michel Temer, a general strike clearly shows strong opposition from the working class to the backward steps taken by the government.

Turkey: Solidarity fund for trade unions

20 April 2017

In the aftermath of the failed coup that took place last July, the Turkish government has arrested and detained thousands of workers and trade unionists. Public employees have been summarily suspended or dismissed. PSI calls on affiliates to contribute to a solidarity fund to help trade unions and workers operate under these difficult conditions. #SolidarityTurkey

Chad: tentative progress on trade union rights

10 April 2017
PSI Subregional Secretary Charlotte Kalanbani met the Prime Minister of Chad in February 2017

Since 2012, trade unionists in Chad have been struggling to obtain trade union rights for their members. Their hard work is starting to pay off.

UN Special Rapporteur reminds the ILO that fundamental right to strike must be preserved

05 April 2017
Maina Kai, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Mr. Maina Kai, has reminded the ILO that the right to strike is fundamentally enshrined in international human rights and labour law, and that its protection is necessary in ensuring just, stable and democratic societies.

President Park is gone for good – and trade unions played a major role in making it happen

15 March 2017

The impeachment of Park Geun-hye, now former President of South Korea, is not only the culmination of a political scandal involving corruption. It is also a victory built by the trade union movement which, relentless, denounced for years the abuses against workers committed by her regime.

Solidarity with dismissed unionists in Turkey

21 February 2017

Ms. Gülüzar ATES, is a union representative and has been working for the Bureau of Labourers Union (a member of KESK) for the past 14 years. She is one of the thousands of Turkish public employees who were removed from their jobs after the attempted coup of 15 July 2016.

Turkey: Solidarity fund for trade unions

20 April 2017

In the aftermath of the failed coup that took place last July, the Turkish government has arrested and detained thousands of workers and trade unionists. Public employees have been summarily suspended or dismissed. PSI calls on affiliates to contribute to a solidarity fund to help trade unions and workers operate under these difficult conditions. #SolidarityTurkey

EU: whistleblowers need wide and comprehensive legal protection - Sign the petition!

07 November 2016

On 17 October a platform for a EU-wide whistleblower protection was launched by 44 organizations calling on the European Commission to urgently take action on bringing forward proposals on EU-wide legislation on whistleblower protection with a broad scope of groups and areas of activities protected.

Stay strong, Korean public workers! Stop labour repression!

06 October 2016

Trade unions in Korea are campaigning for the Park Geun-hye government’s proposed legislation for a discriminatory performance-related pay and termination system for public sector workers to be cancelled. They held a huge general strike and rally on 27 September and are now asking for international solidarity support.

Respect the right to organise - Reinstate Liberian trade union leaders NOW!

06 October 2016

The Liberian regime has no respect for basic Human Rights; or Workers Rights!



In Liberia, the government has arbitrarily fired health workers who were on the front lines of the fight against Ebola; simply because they were trying to ensure adequate protection and working conditions for public workers. Before you consider traveling to or investing in Liberia, think about whether you really want to support a regime which treats health heroes as disposable goods.



Learn more about how to stand up for the rights of Liberian workers by watching the video above and signing the petition below!

Urgent action: solidarity with Vice President of KPTU in Korea

01 July 2016
Cho Sung-deok

PSI calls all its affiliates to support the Korean Public Services and Transportation Workers Union (KPTU) Vice President, Cho Sung-deok, who is facing trial in Korea and for whom the prosecutor’s office requested a prison sentence of 5 years.

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for disenfranchised workers

25 May 2016
construction worker

In his upcoming report to the UN General Assembly to be presented in October 2016, the Special Rapporteur will examine the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (FOAA) for disenfranchised workers.

Tunisia : General strike due to negotiations deadlock

20 May 2016
Union protestors in Tunis

On 19 May, health workers in Tunisia, members of PSI affiliate Fédération Générale de la Santé (FGS), organised a general strike in all the country’s hospitals (general, regional and teaching hospitals) following the deadlock in negotiations between the union and the Tunisian Health Ministry.

Support the Korean Education workers' strike on 1st April!

22 March 2016
Poster: Support Education Workers' Strike

On 1 April, PSI affiliate KPTU-EdSol and other education support workers' unions will go on a 24-hours strike calling for improvements in working conditions and job security for all education support workers. Show your support for the strike - #SupportKPTUEducationWorkers

Trade unionists killed and arrested in Turkey

21 January 2016

Sanitation worker Mehmet Kaplan, father of three children and member of PSI affiliate DİSK/Genel-İş Union in Cizre Municipality (Şırnak), was shot dead on 17 January in front of his house while another worker was seriously injured and a further three arrested in separate incidents.

Solidarity with trade unionists in Korea

10 December 2015

UPDATE 10 December 2015: KCTU President Han Sang-gyun is in detention after handing himself over to the police.
Trade unions in South Korea are facing a barrage of restrictions and repression from the government of President Park, Geun-hye. Please write a protest letter to President Park and to the Korean embassy in your country, denouncing the crackdown on trade unions and disregard for freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Korea.

PSI stands in solidarity with South Korean unions after government carries out punitive raids

25 November 2015
Police raid on the KPTU offices

PSI condemns police raids on 6 and 21 November 2015 on the Korean Federation of Public Service and Transport workers’ Union (KPTU), which the government carried out in an attempt to discourage workers from standing up for their rights.

Support PCS strike at London's National Gallery

21 August 2015

Staff at London's National Gallery, organised by PSI affiliate the Public and commercial services union (PCS), have been on strike since February 2015 following the Gallery's decision to privatise almost all staff, including those who look after the paintings and help the gallery's six million annual visitors.

Campaign to restore trade union rights in Ecuador

20 August 2015
Workers demonstrate in Quito, Ecuador

The United Collective of Workers, Social and Indigenous Organisations of Ecuador held a national strike on 13 August to demand the Ecuadorian government to rectify their restrictive rights policy. Since then, trade unions and indigenous and civil society organizations have continued to demonstrate in Quito, the Amazon region and the south of the country.

Trade unionists in Swaziland under attack

03 April 2015
Vincent Ncongwane and PSI affiliate representatives at a meeting in London

Trade unionists and activists are subjected to intensified attacks in Swaziland, the only remaining absolute monarchy.

Guatemala’s President defies the ILO by cancelling all collective agreements in the public sector

24 March 2015

Only days before Guatemala is due for discussion at the ILO’s Governing Body, President General Otto Pérez Molina, takes the unprecedented initiative of prohibiting the negotiation of collective agreements in the public sector, on the grounds that austerity measures are needed to deal with a massive fiscal deficit.

A passport to worker and union rights in South Africa

10 March 2017
A passport to worker and union rights in South Africa

The passport for worker and union rights in South Africa has been developed by PSI and its affiliated trade unions in order to provide migrant workers with essential information related to their rights, recruitment, documentation and employment before they migrate to South Africa. It also covers those migrant workers already working in the country.

Policy brief EB-148 : Trade Union Rights

04 October 2016

This policy brief on Trade Union Rights was produced for the PSI Executive Board EB-148 held at the ILO in Geneva (Switzerland) on 19-20 May 2016. Its objective is for EB-148 to note activities in the area of trade union rights. The brief is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Swedish and Japanese.

Route of Shame 2016: Campaign Materials

26 May 2016

Join PSI and global trade unionists in a walk for social justice! Download campaign materials here and find out more about the Route of Shame 2016.

Collective bargaining - a policy guide

08 December 2015

How can governments advance the effective recognition of this fundamental right? Which policies and institutions promote collective bargaining and how might they be established?

Trade Union Violations in the Africa & Arab regions (AFRECON)

24 September 2015

Trade union rights violations are widespread in Africa and the Mena region, ranging from highly restrictive legislation on the right to organize in the public sector, interference in collective bargaining agreements, heavy fines and imprisonment for trade union activities and strikes.

Banner: Right to strike

13 February 2015

Use these banners in your Right to Strike activities on 18 February and until 21 March.

PLADA - Development platform of the Americas

30 January 2015

This document was published by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) through the Union FES Project, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Programme of Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the ILO.

Stand for democracy at work on Human Rights Day!

10 December 2014
SEIU, US. Photo: Carrie Sloan, Creative Commons

“Everyone must enjoy full access to decent work, education, health, safety and peace,” says Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary. On International Human Rights Day, PSI calls on its affiliates and activists to unite and stand firm against the attack on core labour rights and freedoms.

Outcomes of PSI Steering Comittee SC-18

17 November 2014

PSI Steering Committee (SC-18) met in Geneva on 12-13 November 2014.

The agenda covered all items relating to the implementation of the Programme of Action with a special focus on the global campaigns PSI is leading on trade agreements and tax justice.

India: Core labour standards not implemented in ADB funded projects

02 September 2014
India - Sewage treatment plant, Kavoor, Mangalore, India. Photo: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Handbook on Core Labour Standards 2005, committed to comply with the internationally recognized core labour standards (CLS) and related labour laws in the design, formulation and operation of its loans to the developing countries. However the workers in the projects have identified union busting, harassment or physical violence against unions and discrimination and dismissals and other work-related anti-union/worker actions etc. in the projects and the compliance according to the CLS handbook is not strictly observed.

The right to strike and the ILO: the legal foundations

07 July 2014

A new 122-page ITUC legal report, confirming that the right to strike is protected under international law, as employers try to overturn decades of jurisprudence at the International Labour Organisation.

PSI Emergency Resolution on the Right to Strike

30 June 2014

Executive Board of Public Services International, 24-25 June 2014, Nyon, Suisse

(The Right to) Strike and the International Labour Organization

19 June 2014
FES publication

Is the System for Monitoring Labour and Social Standards in Trouble?

CLAUDIA HOFMANN


Mai 2014

Rosa Pavanelli's presentation at the ILC

10 June 2014

Find here the statement read by PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, at the International Labour Conference (ILC) on Thursday 5 June 2014.

Banners: Route of Shame 2014

22 May 2014
Banner: Route of shame

Banners (in pdf) for the 'Route of Shame 2014' bicycle ride.

The banners can be downloaded in English and French.

State of Power: Energy Democracy and Labour perspectives (India)

13 October 2016
State of Power: Energy Democracy and Labour perspectives (India)

During the People’s Forum on BRICS on 13 October from 14-17h, TUED (which PSI is part of) and TNI are co-organising a workshop called “State of Power: Energy Democracy and Labour perspectives”. PSI’s affiliated union representatives will be intervening in the workshop that will be held in Goa, India.

ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on Recruitment

06 September 2016
ILO TTM on refugees

The Tripartite Meeting of Experts to Develop Guidance on Fair Recruitment is being held at the ILO in Geneva on 5-7 September. The objective is to adopt ILO guidelines on fair recruitment, encompassing both cross-border and national recruitment. PSI Migration Programme Coordinator, Genevieve Gencianos, delivered a speech on 5 September at the opening session of the meeting.

Route of Shame 2016: Walk for social justice!

25 May 2016

PSI and global trade unionists walked for social justice in Geneva. Around the world, populist politicians are raising the flag of racism and xenophobia to hide the fact that they represent the interests of the few, not the many. PSI calls for global solidarity with refugees and the respect of their human rights.

PSI/EPSU-ILO Roundtable on Labour Migration and Trade Union Rights

23 November 2015

The PSI/EPSU-ILO Roundtable on Labour Migration and Trade Union Rights is taking place in Yerevan, Armenia on 24-25 November. This meeting will be held in English, Russian and Armenian with the participation of PSI/EPSU affiliates, ILO Moscow ACTRAV and invited guests, experts and PSI staff.

International Labour Conference 2015

01 June 2015

The 104th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) will be held at the Palais des Nations and the ILO headquarters in Geneva, from 1 to 13 June 2015.

ILO Tripartite meeting on the Right to Strike

20 February 2015

The Meeting will bring together participants from 32 Governments of ILO member States, 16 Employer participants and 16 Worker participants nominated by the Employers’ group and the Workers’ group of the Governing Body respectively, as well as observers from the three groups.

Technical Mission from the ILO visits Ecuador

26 January 2015

An ILO technical mission will visit Ecuador on 26-30 January 2015 to examine first-hand a series of complaints received by the Committee of Application of Standards (CAS) on the working conditions of Ecuadorian public sector workers since 2007.

PSI Union Development and Strategy and Planning Workshops for the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU)

07 November 2014

1.    One-day workshop for executive members of the young workers’ group and young activists. November 18, 2014 at DPSU headquarters – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Main aims

Bachelet calls on PSI to fight for an ILO resolution on the elimination of violence against women at work

01 November 2014
Mujeres de la ISP el “Encuentro Internacional sobre Violencia de Género en los lugares de trabajo y el empleo público”

Before an audience of more than 140 women members of the PSI, the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, called on the organisation to continue fighting for approval of an ILO resolution on the elimination of violence against women at the workplace and in public employment.

Asia Pacific Forum on trade union rights: It is time for ACTION NOW!

30 October 2014

The Asia Pacific Regional Forum on Trade Union rights will come up with an Action Plan for the region for 2015. PSI affiliate leaders will share experience on campaigns for freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike. Special attention will be devoted to the impact of privatisation and precarious forms of employment in the public sector, fire-fighters’ right to organise and campaigning for the ratification and implementation of international labour standards.

International Labour Conference 2014

28 May 2014

The Conference will be held in Geneva (Switzerland), at the Palais des Nations and ILO headquarters. Please note that Tuesday 27th May will be devoted to preparatory meetings requiring the attendance of the tripartite members of national delegations to the Conference.

EPSU 9th Congress

20 May 2014
EPSU Congress logo

The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), PSI's European branch, is holding its 9th Congress, 20-23 May 2014, in Toulouse, France.

PSI follow-up mission to Guatemala

24 March 2014

A PSI international delegation returned to Guatemala in March 2014 to follow-up on the trade union rights and solidarity mission made in August 2013.

PSI Sub-regional Advisory Committee for the Caribbean (SUBRAC)

07 March 2014

Co-chairs: Sis Jillian Bartlett (NUGFW-TT) and Bro Wayne Jones (JCSA)

The SUBRAC is a PSI advisory body comprising representatives from affiliates who “facilitate the consultation process at sub-regional level on policy issues and work programme implementation, and who participate in exchange and dialogue on issues relevant to PSI affiliates.” 

Also see the SUBWOC meeting.

Audio: RadioLabour interview with NAHWAL leaders

18 October 2016

In 2014, at the height of the Ebola crisis, the Liberian government fired 22 union leaders. It still has not reinstated two of the fired leaders: Joseph Tamba, the president of the National Health Workers' Association of Liberia and George Poe Williams, the General Secretary . A RadioLabour interview with Mr Williams.

South Korea's human rights hypocrisy

29 February 2016

South Korea is currently Chair of the UN Human Rights Council, but their own record on human rights abuses is far from perfect.

Video: Precarious work situation of education support workers in Korea

08 June 2015

Representatives of PSI affiliates met in Geneva on 25-26 May 2015 for the PSI World Women’s Committee. In this interview, Bohee Choi, Vice President of the KCTU Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), talks about the precarious work situation of education support workers in Korea.

Video: ILO Director General speaks about the future of work for the public sector

02 June 2015

Interview with Guy Ryder, ILO Director General, at the PSI Executive Board meeting (EB-147) that took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 27-28 May 2015.

Video: Brazil - cuts and privatisation damaging health and other public services

01 June 2015

In this video, Juneia Batista, WOC Chair, talks about the situation in her home country, Brazil. She says that 2015 has started poorly, with the government introducing new measures to allow foreign capital into the Brazilian health system.

Video: PSAC - defending sick leave rights and fighting privatisation

29 May 2015

Morna Ballantyne, Public Service Alliance of Canada explains that the PSAC has launched an important campaign in defence of the sick leave provisions enshrined in their collective bargaining agreement.

Video: Many jobs need to be revalued in terms of status and salary, says Isolde Kunkel-Weber, Ver.di, Germany

29 May 2015

Representatives of PSI affiliates met in Geneva on 27-28 May 2015 for the PSI Executive Board meeting. In this video, Isolde Kunkel-Weber, Ver.di, Germany, says that her union is confronting cuts to public services. But even when services are privatised, the union makes its voice heard and demonstrates how important public services are for society. Ver.di is actively campaigning to demonstrate that kindergarten workers’ jobs need to be revalued in terms of status and salary, highlighting the importance of their role in caring for and educating children. (This video is in German)

Video: Unions in Latin America are fighting for trade union rights and quality public services

29 May 2015

Representatives of PSI affiliates met in Geneva on 27-28 May 2015 for the PSI Executive Board meeting. In this interview, Omar Autón, Unión del Personal Civil de la Nación, Argentina, describes the situation in Latin America. Unions are fighting for trade union rights, the right to strike, unionization, collective bargaining, and to obtain quality public services. The video is in Spanish.

Video: In Nigeria, faced with rocketing electricity costs but no electricity, unions and the public demand end to privatisation

28 May 2015

Representatives of PSI affiliates met in Geneva on 27-28 May 2015 for the PSI Executive Board meeting. In this interview, Adeniyi Peters Adeyemi, Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU), Nigeria, speaks about privatisation, reforms and Ebola. He explains how Nigerian people have suffered under privatisation, and how in view of the consequences of privatisation, they are now joining in the unions’ opposition and asking the government to fix the problems. He also explains how Nigeria achieved good results in tackling the Ebola crisis.

Video: JPSU, Japan campaigns for workers' rights, demands end to restrictions on collective bargaining

28 May 2015

Representatives of PSI affiliates met in Geneva on 27-28 May 2015 for the PSI Executive Board meeting. Tomio Ishihara, JPSU, Japan, explains that in Japan, public employees’ basic worker rights, including the right to collective bargaining, are restricted. JPSU is running a campaign for workers’ rights, appealing to the ILO and lobbying the Japanese government.

Video: Route of Shame 2014

12 June 2014

Public Services International and trade union leaders from around the world joined in Geneva for the "Route of Shame" on 4th June 2014, calling for the right to strike for all workers and shaming countries where workers' and trade union rights are violated. Quality public services and social justice are key to achieving equality, equity and dignity. On the same day, PSI affiliates in Guatemala, Panama, Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago de Chile, Paraguay, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tokyo and Seoul also organized "Route of Shame" actions. International solidarity makes us stronger!

Photos: Route of Shame 2014 - Geneva

11 June 2014

The Route of Shame is a solidarity action organized by Public Services International, calling for the right to strike and shaming countries that violate workers' rights. On 4th June 2014, the second edition of The Route of Shame brought together trade unionists from all over the world and all sectors in Geneva and in Guatemala, Buenos Aires, Paraguay, Sao Paolo, Panama,Tokyo, Indonesia, Santiago de Chile, Lima and other cities (more updates soon).

Video: Nigerian public services union demands right to health in new constitution

03 June 2014

Watch this interview with Ayuba Wabba, President of the PSI-affiliated Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN). Brother Wabba has been selected to join a constitutional review committee considering health-related rights for the drafting of Nigeria's new constitution.

Audio: Ecuador - Interview with Sandra Vermuyten, PSI Equality and Rights Officer

07 May 2014

A RadioLabour interview with Sandra Vermuyten, the Equality and Rights Officer of Public Services International.

Photos: Demonstration in Geneva in front of the Korean mission

20 January 2014

PSI staff members joined by other Global Union staff members in Geneva demonstrate in front of the Korean mission - 17 January 2014.