Workers and Employers Organizations in Asia and the Pacific

Trade union rally in Indonesia.

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The ILO’s tripartite structure is unique within the United Nations system and gives workers’ and employers’ representatives an equal voice with governments in shaping ILO policies and programmes. Social dialogue between these three parties underpins the ILO’s work, and the ILO helps to develop the capacity of these organizations so they can effectively support and represent their members.

Workers’ organizations are independent and democratic trade unions that protect and support workers’ rights and interests at the national and international level. As such, they play a key role in civil society. Trade unions in Asia Pacific face some major challenges, including promoting the right to organize and bargain collectively, a lack of protection of migrant workers’ rights, forced, bonded and child labour, gender inequality, increasing labour flexibility, a lack of social security and persistent poverty.

There are two major regional trade union bodies in Asia and the Pacific, the International Trade Union Confederation - Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) and the World Federation of Trade Unions - Asia Pacific Region (WFTU-AP).

Employers’ organizations represent the collective voices of small, medium and large businesses. They exist to protect and promote the interests of employers as these relate to labour and social policy at national and international levels.

The region has two important multinational employers’ organizations. The ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) represents employers’ organizations in the ASEAN countries (other than Myanmar and Laos). The Confederation of Asia-Pacific Employers (CAPE) has 21 members representing all the major economies of the region, from Iran to Fiji, including all the members of ACE. Practically all members of CAPE are also members of the global International Organisation of Employers (IOE).

Key resources

  1. Workers and employers organizations

    Through their organizations, workers and employers make tripartism and social dialogue a real life experience by applying them in practice.

  2. Social Dialogue, Labour Law and Labour Administration