Internationalism sits at the heart of the British trade union movement and the key aims of the TUC’s international work extend to:
We work closely with our sister trade unions and international structures, such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to promote Decent Work and highlight the important role trade unions play in reducing poverty, achieving equality and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We represent workers at international labour institutions and engage in advocacy work with the UK and overseas governments to promote the right to freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining as enabling rights to achieve decent work. We build our relationships with unions around the world, building solidarity where workers are facing repression and joining together against the far right and divisive narratives.
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Watch the TUC May Day message 2021
The TUC has chosen 4 priority countries in line with TUC Congress motions, and where we believe we can make a difference, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey and Palestine for international solidarity work. We have strong relationships with sister union organisations on the ground, and we use our leverage and institutional engagement to raise our concerns. These countries are amongst the worst countries in the world for trade unionists, according to the ITUC Global Rights Index and several are also priorities for many of our affiliates.
Watch these solidarity videos highlighting the issues facing each country here:
The TUC produced a short video to highlight the main issues effecting working people and local communities in Brazil and what unions are doing to resist it.
The President of Brazil dismissed #Covid19 as “just a fantasy” and “a little flu”.— Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) May 7, 2020
Now Bolsonaro says "So what?" as cases reach new highs.
This is what a far-right leader looks like.
Solidarity with the Brazilian unions and people in their struggle against him. pic.twitter.com/69XgHDcrdJ
Hundreds of activists are still being murdered every year since the Colombian peace agreement was signed in 2016. Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade unionists. Watch our solidarity video on Colombia.
We call on the repressive authoritarian government of Turkey to stop human and labour rights abuses of trade unionists and wider civil society. Watch our message of solidarity to trade unionists in Turkey who are experiencing a sharp rise in violence and oppression.
Watch our latest messages of solidarity campaign videos for trade unionists around the world.
In solidarity with trade unionists around the world, the TUC regularly writes to government officials raising the labour and human rights abuses of working people.
Senior International Officer
Mariela Kohon, MKohon@tuc.org.uk
Policy Officer, Trade and migration
Rosa Crawford, RCrawford@TUC.ORG.UK
Policy Officer, Business and Human Rights, International Labour Standards, Brazil
Stephen Russell, SRussell@TUC.ORG.UK
Policy Officer, Development cooperation, Palestine and TUC Aid
Sharon Sukhram, SSukhram@TUC.ORG.UK
Policy and Campaigns Support Officer
Robert Maisey, RMaisey@TUC.ORG.UK
Pat Brown, PBrown@TUC.ORG.UK
The following TUC General Council (GC) members have specific international roles:
Kevin Courtney, TUC GC International Spokesperson
Gail Cartmail, TUC GC International Development Spokesperson
Steve Turner, TUC GC European Spokesperson
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TUC Global video recordings of past events
Watch recordings of our most recent online TUC international events.
Labour7 Summit 26-27 April - Open plenary (26 April)
The TUC is an affiliate of the International Trade Union Confederation, a worldwide union network that represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories. ITUC’s primary mission is to promote and defend workers’ rights through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within major global institutions. The TUC General Secretary, some TUC General Council members and senior TUC staff sit on the boards of the ITUC advisory councils.
Global Union Federations are the international representatives of unions organising in specific industry sectors or occupational groups. Some TUC unions belong to the union federation for their sector.
Building and Wood Workers International represents 326 free and democratic unions in the building, building materials, wood, forestry and allied sectors, representing about 12 million members in 130 countries. Its mission is to promote trade unions around the world, and to promote and enforce workers’ rights in the context of sustainable development.
Education International is the voice of teachers and other education employees around the globe. A federation of 401 associations and unions in 171 countries and territories, it represents 30 million educators and support professionals in educational institutions from early childhood centres to universities.
IndustriALL Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors. It is a force in solidarity fighting for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.
International Arts and Entertainment Alliance (IAEA) The alliance has three sections: the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), and the Media, Entertainment and Arts section of the UNI Global Union (UNI-MEI).
International Domestic Workers Federation is a membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers that is made up of both unions and associations.
The International Federation of Journalists is the world’s largest organisation of journalists. First established in 1926, the federation represents about 600,000 members in 134 countries. It promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation consists of about 700 unions representing more than 4.5 million transport workers from some 150 countries. Its mission is to promote respect for trade union and human rights worldwide, to work for peace based on social justice and economic progress, to help its affiliated unions defend member interests, and to provide research and information services to its affiliates.
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations represents workers employed in agriculture and plantations, the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages, hotels, restaurants and catering services, and all stages of tobacco processing. It is currently composed of 388 trade unions in 125 countries representing more than 12 million workers. Founded in 1920, it strives to build solidarity at every stage of the food chain, organise within transnational companies, and lead global action to defend human, democratic and trade union rights.
Public Services International brings together more than 20 million workers represented by 669 unions in 154 countries and territories. Dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world, its members—two-thirds of whom are women—work in social services, health care, municipal and community services, central government, and public utilities such as water and electricity.
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from more than 900 trade unions in the fastest-growing sectors in the world—skills and services. Its charge is to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining.
Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC)
The Trade Union Advisory Committee is an international trade union organization that has consultative status with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and its various committees. TUAC affiliates consist of more than 58 national trade union centers from the 30 OECD member countries, which together represent 66 million workers. TUAC’s role is to represent organized labor’s views within the new organization and to help ensure that global markets are balanced by an effective social dimension. The TUC is an affiliated member.
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
International Labour Organization: The only tripartite United Nations agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member states, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men.
EUROCOP European Confederation of Police
EFBWW/FETBB European Federation of Building and Woodworkers
EFFAT European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
EFJ/FEJ European Federation of Journalists
IndustriAll European Federation for Industry and Manufacturing workers
EPSU European Federation of Public Service Unions
ETF European Transport Workers’ Federation
ETUCE/CSEE European Trade Union Committee for Education
UNI-EUROPA European trade union federation for services and communication
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