Workers' Organizations

Workers’ organisations and trade unions are one of the core three constituencies of the ILO’s tripartite structure. Established and run by workers to protect and advance their interests, these organisations aim to secure decent work, social security, gender equality, non-discrimination and well-being of workers and their families. Through its work in the Arab States, the ILO supports workers’ organizations and  trade unions to bolster their effective participation and engagement in national, regional and international activities. The ILO provides advisory services and technical assistance to Workers’ Organisations throughout the Arab States through the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV).  ACTRAV activities in the region support representative, independent, and democratic trade unions to  enhance their capacity to impact labour law reforms, employment policies, wage-setting, social security, occupational safety and health, gender equality, as well as the protection of migrant and domestic workers' rights. See more…

Facts & Figures

  • Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have ratified the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87).
  • Only Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen have ratified the ILO Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).
  • Public sector and government employees are not permitted to organize in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, and Oman; in Syria, Yemen, and Kuwait the right to organize is open to both public and private sector workers, although there is little evidence of effective organization in the private sector.
  • Trade unions have yet to effectively reach out to informal workers and new labour market entrants in the labour force, including women and youth.
  • With the exception of Bahrain and Oman, across the Arab States migrant workers are excluded from trade union representation by law.

Key resources

International Labour Standards
Good practices

Focus on

  1. Workers’ Guide to Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation (No. 205)

    Through this Workers’ Guide, the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) provides information and guidance on how trade unions can ensure the implementation of this new global tool to their advantage. It is intended to serve as a valuable reference to workers’ organizations on the provisions of Recommendation No. 205.

Publications

  1. Characteristics and Structure of the Union Movement in Lebanon

    The study covers the history and present characteristics of the trade union movement in Lebanon as well as the structure of trade union movements, the results of a field survey and recommendations for a future trade union development.