International Labour Standards on Collective bargaining
ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
Promoting jobs, protecting people

International Labour Standards on Collective bargaining


Freedom of association ensures that workers and employers can associate to efficiently negotiate work relations. Combined with strong freedom of association, sound collective bargaining practices ensure that employers and workers have an equal voice in negotiations and that the outcome will be fair and equitable. Collective bargaining allows both sides to negotiate a fair employment relationship and prevents costly labour disputes. Indeed, some research has indicated that countries with highly coordinated collective bargaining tend to have less inequality in wages, lower and less persistent unemployment, and fewer and shorter strikes than countries where collective bargaining is less established. (Note 1) Established collective bargaining practices were an element that allowed the Republic of Korea to weather the Asian financial crisis and enabled South Africa to make a relatively peaceful transition into the post-apartheid era. (Note 2) ILO standards promote collective bargaining and help to ensure that good labour relations benefit everyone.

Selected relevant ILO instruments

Further information

Note 1 - T. Aidt; Z. Tzannatos: Unions and Collective Bargaining: Economic effects in a Global Environment (Washington, DC, World Bank, 2002).
Note 2
- OECD: International Trade and Core Labour Standards (Paris, 2000).

© 1996-2014 International Labour Organization (ILO) | Copyright and permissions | Privacy policy | Fraud alert | Disclaimer