Global report shows workers' rights violated across Europe

Trade union rights are human rights - collective bargaining/yes

The International Trade Union Confederation’s ‘Global Rights Index 2019’, published today, says that

  • The greatest increase in countries excluding certain workers from the right to establish or join a trade union in 2019 took place in Europe – in 2019 40% of European countries do not provide workers with a guaranteed right to unionise.
  • 50% of European countries violated collective bargaining rights in 2019, up from 20% in 2018
  • Belarus, Greece and Turkey are rated as giving ‘no guarantee of rights’;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania are rated as having ‘systematic violations of rights’;
  • Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Poland, Spain and UK are rated as having ‘regular violations of rights;
  • Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Portugal and Switzerland are rated as having ‘repeated violations of rights’
  • Ryanair violated workers’ rights in Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands; Amazon and Uber violated workers’ rights in Europe; Goodyear, Renault and Istanbul Airport violated workers’ rights in Turkey; Dunnes Stores did so in Ireland and TS Laevad did so in Estonia

The report also highlights a worrying increase in the number of workers threatened and arrested and killed in Europe.

“There is serious work to be done to improve trade union rights in many European countries – including within the European Union” said Esther Lynch, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) “above all to make sure that all workers can join a union without fear and to have their right to organise and to bargain collectively properly recognised and protected.

“This global snapshot of workers’ rights is timely, coming just in the week before a high-level conference hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council ‘A new start for collective bargainingin Europe’, where the ETUC will try to persuade the European Union to give strong backing to collective bargaining in every EU member state.”  

For more on the ITUC Global Rights Index see

Press release