Trade Unions of the World

Trade Unions of the World: the global encyclopedia of the labor movement / a history of labour struggle and the development of workers' rights and labour organisations around the globeISBN. 978-0-9933556-2-2
Published. Jan 2021

Format. 744pp., casebound hardback

Subject areas. Industrial relations / labour studies / international politics / labour history

Copies required

Trade Unions of the World is the essential guide to trade unions and trade unionism in more than 215 countries and territories around the world, examining the social, political and economic contexts they inhabit. Each country profile includes an overview of the political and economic history of the country or territory and an outline of the development of trade unionism locally and the situation for trade unions and trade union rights today.

The profiles include details not only of national centres but also of all larger affiliated unions, giving a comprehensive global picture of trade unionism around the world today. A wide range of data is provided on the history, structure, membership and political and industrial role of the unions.

Praise for the previous edition

‘…an invaluable resource for all interested in worker and union rights in an international context. No other publication holds the wealth of well researched information and insight to inform national and international union activities and build solidarity. It’s both unique and indispensable’
Amanda Brown, Deputy General Secretary, National Education Union (UK), and member of ILO Governing Body and Committee on Freedom of Association

‘… provides a wealth of knowledge of trade union struggle all over the world both at national and international level’
Kurshid Ahmed, General Secretary, All Pakistan Workers Confederation, and former member of ILO Governing Body

‘… an excellent overview of trade unions worldwide and the context in which they operate. It's a critical resource for trade unions, NGOs, businesses, and policy makers'
Danielle McMullan, Senior Researcher - Labour, Business and Human Rights Centre

‘… the essential reference for anyone attempting to build international trade union organisation and solidarity. It is a unique international encyclopaedia of the labour movement, reliable, well-researched, and very readable'
Dave Spooner, Global Labour Institute


Two-hundred and fifteen countries and territories are featured, covering:

• Political and economic background
• Population, GDP, HDI and GINI Indexes
• Overview and development of unions
• Contact details for union centres and main affiliates
• Postal, email and website addresses
• Leadership details
• Membership levels
• History and character of key unions
• International affiliations

Sample chapters - click for access

Also profiles key actors at global and regional levels, including the International Trade Union Confederation and the Global Union Federations.

Unions in low income countries who may be unable to afford the retail price, email

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.

Can Mezzanine, 7-14 Great Dover Street,
London, SE1 4YR, UK
Email: / Web: