Europe and Central Asia

ICTUR provides in-depth country profiles for all countries in Trade Unions of the World. Summary overviews are also published online (accesssible below) when ICTUR responds to violations, publishes relevant features in International Union Rights, or presents comments to international human rights monitoring procedures.

Albania
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Belgium
Bonsnia and Herz.
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Malta
Moldova
Montenegro
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russian Federation
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Sweden
Switzerland
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan

European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade established regimes of profound inequality and labour exploitation around the world, while in Europe many toiled in appalling conditions. The first trade unions emerged here, in the face of strong repression. In the Soviet era in the east vast trade union structures were established by the State. Across Europe unions played a regulatory role in national dialogue and bargaining. Under austerity collective bargaining has been pushed from national and sector to workplace level. In much of Europe workers enjoy respect for basic union rights, but problems are reported. Widespread precarious work and short-term contracts hinder organising.

In the UK multinational companies colluded with a blacklisting operation throughout the construction industry. The government further restricted the right to strike, despite ILO criticism. In France unpopular law reforms have been pushed through in the face of popular protests. In Spain legislation limits participation in public protests and demonstrations and trade unionists have been arrested and fined.

Belarus rejected free-market capitalism and retained massive unions close to a paternalist authoritarian state, but as in several other post-Soviet states, including Russia, independent unions have complained of repression, and the country is undergoing ILO evaluation. In Turkey the criminal justice system has been used to repress trade union rights, and ‘double threshold’ laws require unions to organise vast sectors of industry before they winning bargaining rights at a single workplace.

Full details for all countries in the region, including political history, the development of trade unionism, and contact and affiliation details for all national trade union centres can be found in ICTUR's in-depth global reference book: Trade Unions of the World.

Link to reportFull country profiles: Trade Unions of the World (2016)

 

The International Centre for Trade Union Rights

Established in 1987, ICTUR is a non-profit organisation
based in London, promoting international trade
union rights through research and advocacy services.
Email: ictur@ictur.org / Web: www.ictur.org