Trade Union Movement

Trade Unions in the Balance

On the occasion of the ILO Centenary celebration, the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ILO-ACTRAV) commissioned a research on the current state of the unions in the world. The research conducts by Professor Visser explores developments in union membership across the world in the past decades.

Trade unions have enormous challenges ahead of them. It is hard to be a unionist today. Violations of trade union rights are widespread. Technological and economic changes affect the nature and type of jobs and with that the potential of organizing and representing workers both in the North and in the Global South.

This is set against important changes in the economy and labour market. The paper also suggests four daring but equally realistic future scenarios for trade unions: marginalization, dualization, replacement and revitalization. The future will tell which of these scenarios will become reality.