HR Policy Global

S01E12 - International Trade Unions … Who They Are and What They Do (Part 2)

Welcome to the Wild Side, a podcast that discusses the world of modern employee relations ten minutes at a time. This is the second of three podcasts dealing with international trade unions and international framework agreements. In this episode, host Alan Wild discusses international trade unions: who they are, how they are organized, the way they work, and what their priorities are. Alan is the Global Affairs Director of the HR Policy Association, the leading voice in chief human resources offices today.

Trade unions have been active internationally at the International Labor Organization since 1919. At the ILO, the goal of international trade unions is to set international labor standards with the objective of influencing national laws.  More recently the Global Union Federations have emerged as direct counterparts to international companies. Today, we look at the three trade union groupings that are of most interest to companies, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), 10 industry-based Global Union Federations (GUF), the highly-influential European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and we glimpse into the best way to research and follow trade union news via the powerful website, Labourstart.

Key Takeaways: 

  • International trade unions were established to set international labor standards and influence national labor law. [:52]
  • The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) focus their activities on intergovernmental organizations. [2:51]
  • The 8 priorities of the ITUC. [3:55]
  • The 10 Global Union Federations (GUF) and how they are organized. [4:25] 
  • Looking at the two of the most active global union federations, Industri-ALL and UNI Global Union. [5:10]
  • Global or international framework agreements are signed between a manager of a multinational corporation and a Global Union Federation (GUF). [8:09]
  • Why companies may be reluctant to open a dialogue with trade unions. [9:44]
  • The role of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Industry Federations. [10:56]
  • The best way to follow trade union news is the website, Labourstart. [11:35]