Collective bargaining and labour relations

Collective bargaining is a fundamental right. It is rooted in the ILO Constitution and reaffirmed as such in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Collective bargaining is a key means through which employers and their organizations and trade unions can establish fair wages and working conditions. It also provides the basis for sound labour relations. Typical issues on the bargaining agenda include wages, working time, training, occupational health and safety and equal treatment. The objective of these negotiations is to arrive at a collective agreement that regulates terms and conditions of employment. Collective agreements may also address the rights and responsibilities of the parties thus ensuring harmonious and productive industries and workplaces. Enhancing the inclusiveness of collective bargaining and collective agreements is a key means for reducing inequality and extending labour protection.

Key ILO resources

  1. Publication

    Collective bargaining, a policy guide

    A guide to designing and implementing policies to promote and strengthen collective bargaining.

  2. Issue Briefs

  3. Factsheets

  4. An explanatory brochure

    Promoting Collective Bargaining

    A practical guide to the text of Convention 154 and Recommendation 163.


  1. Blog

    Want to tackle inequality? Shore up collective bargaining

    by Susan Hayter, Senior Specialist, Labour Relations and Collective Bargaining

  2. Infostory

    Can collective bargaining create a fairer economy?

    Explore this InfoStory to discover the impact of collective bargaining on the economy, businesses and working lives.

What's new

  1. ILO International Training Center - Turin, Italy

    Academy on Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations

  2. Video

    A new market for Sidi Bouzid

    14 June 2016

  3. Our impact, their voice

    Breaking the cycle of poverty in Tunisia

    14 June 2016


  1. International Labour Review (Vol. 154)

    What future for industrial relations?

    Traditional industrial relations institutions, born of labour law's premise of unbalanced power relations between the worker and the employer, are being undermined by unprecedented global changes in patterns of work and forms of employment.

  2. Publication

    The role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy - Negotiating for social justice

    This book looks at the role that collective bargaining plays in ensuring that workers are able to obtain a fair share of the benefits arising from participation in the global economy and in providing a measure of security against the risk to employment and wages.