Workers' Organizations

A cornerstone of the ILO's mission is the protection and promotion of workers' rights around the world. Workers’ organizations – trade unions – are one of the pillars of the ILO’s tripartite structure.

The Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) coordinates activities between the ILO and workers’ organizations, from headquarters to field level. ACTRAV's mission is to maintain close relations with the trade union movement throughout the various countries of the world, to provide trade unions with the support of the ILO in efforts to strengthen their influence by promoting activities that protect and advance the rights of workers. The ACTRAV global network includes over 500 national trade union organizations, as well as the major international industry-based trade union federations and international trade union confederations accredited to the ILO.

The ILO Workers Group Priorities (2011-2014) addresses International Labour Standards, employment and policy coherence, taking a rights-based approach to migration, collective bargaining and labour laws, social security, wages and working conditions.

Most Arab States have not ratified core Conventions No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948 and No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining,1949.

Adopted in 1998, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, guarantees that Member States, whether or not they have ratified the relevant Conventions, are committed to respecting and promoting the principles and rights addressed in the Declaration, which include freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

The ILO is promoting socioeconomic and legal literacy among worker representatives in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territory. This includes a socioeconomic and legal literacy training programme, the development and dissemination of policy briefs to better inform labour leaders, and the training of instructors to contribute to analysis, training and the organizing of unorganized workers.