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Course Description



The Workers' Education Programme of the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) of the ILO is aimed at improving trade union capacities to represent and defend the interests of their members. The Programme for Workers’ Activities of the International Training Centre of the ILO (ACTRAV-Turin) is an integral part of this ILO/ACTRAV’s Workers’ Education Programme, and has a specific task of assisting trade unions in strengthening their training capacities through a series of training programmes provided at the Turin Center, in the field and through distance/online education.


For more information on the ACTRAV-Turin Programme, please visit




The course on Economic and Financial Analysis of Enterprises for Collective Bargaining aims to develop technical capacities of the trade union representatives in the area of freedom of association and collective bargaining so as enable the unions to play an effective role in tripartite dialogue, bi-partite negotiations and other decision-making processes at the national level with a view to promote decent work for all workers.


The training programme will provide an opportunity for the participants to learn and share experiences on collective bargaining strategies, techniques, understanding wages & productivity policies, company financial information for collective bargaining and methods of data collection for formulating effective charter of demands. Within this context the course will also focus on the global economic crisis, its impact in the world of work and response to the crisis at national and collective bargaining level. Participants will also learn about ILO’s Global Jobs Pact – as a response to crisis and ILO policies in general for promoting democratic labour relations and Decent Work for all workers.


Most Asia-Pacific countries have been undergoing rapid socio-economic transformations during the last few years. The economic liberalisation, the reforms in state owned enterprises and the rapid expansion of private sector led by the opening of the domestic markets for foreign investments has generated economic growth but also brought along with it a number of challenges before the trade unions - both at enterprise levels and at national economic policy levels. Trade Unions, as the key institutions for protecting the rights of workers, have been making efforts to ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected even as nations manage their economic development challenges. However, there remains a big gap between stated policies (and laws) and the situation on the ground. Ensuring respect for Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining in Asian economies remains a major task before trade unions, employers and the national governments.


The emerging economic environment (made worse by the global economic crisis), changes in the labour markets and irregular/precarious employment relationships also means that the unions have to develop innovative and inclusive organizing and collective bargaining approaches to reach out and cover workers in precarious work as well as those in the informal economy; To face the challenges of collective bargaining in this age of flexible employment, outsourcing and competition, unions need to not only expand union coverage but also skills to deal with private sector employers. There is a need to improve their abilities to analyse companies financial data, formulate effective charter of demands and negotiation skills to ensure that workers get a real share of the gains from productivity growth.


ACTRAV SYMPOSIUM in Oct 2009 in Geneva (on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of Convention No. 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining) reviewed the developments and challenges facing unions globally in the area of collective bargaining and resolved to work, through their respective organizations, through joint international actions, and through ACTRAV and the ILO, to promote and strengthen the exercise of this fundamental right of workers. Among its recommendations was also the need to prioritize ILO technical cooperation and training programmes to strengthen the capacity of trade unions to bargain collectively and to promote the ratification and implementation of international labour standards.


This course is part of Actrav efforts to develop trade union capacities. It will provide the union representatives from Asia-Pacific with opportunity to deepen their understanding on the impact & responses to global economic crisis, share experiences on the new strategies for organizing & representing workers interests and learn specifically about collective bargaining techniques and strategies, including methodologies for conducting financial and economic analyses of enterprises, methods of data collect for wage & productivity bargaining & formulating effective charter of demands. The participants will also go for a study visit to Japan where the participants will have an opportunity to learn about their collective bargaining systems and share and exchange experiences on steps being undertaken to strengthen union organizations and protect workers employment and rights in the current global economic crisis.




This training programme will contribute to:

  1. Strengthening trade unions’ education and training capacities for promoting fundamental rights of workers, especially Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining in tripartite & bipartite social dialogue fora;

  2. Developing understanding among the trade unions on how ILO policies & standards can help promote democratic and responsive labour relations systems so as to promote Decent Work for all workers;

  3. Developing negotiation skills among union representatives for effective collective bargaining;




Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the process and driving forces of globalization & global financial crisis, identify main challenges being faced by trade unions in promoting Decent Work in national economies and explain how trade unions can meet them effectively;

  2. Review the collective bargaining policies and practices – its strengths, weaknesses and changes needed;

  3. Understand various factors that determine wages and service conditions;

  4. Demonstrate understanding of the management policies, key areas for collective bargaining and formulate effective charter of demands;

  5. Identify the financial and economic information of enterprises that are necessary for unions to make effective negotiations, and how to collect them;

  6. Develop abilities to analyse companies financial information (as reflected in the balance sheets) – for the purpose of collective bargaining

  7. Discuss strategies for collective bargaining and acquire negotiations and influencing techniques for successful negotiations;

  8. Build understanding of the Decent Work approach and role of core ILO standards concerning freedom of association & collective bargaining for promotion of Decent Work;

  9. Mainstream gender issues in all the programmes and actions of unions, including in collective bargaining activities;

  10. Prepare a follow up proposal for transferring knowledge & experience gained to their unions to enhance their programmes and activities for promotion of Decent Work – especially in the areas of organizing and collective bargaining.




The course will comprise the following sessions:


A) Globalization, Decent Work and the labour movement

The course will include a session on the Globalisation, Financial Crisis and Decent Work – focusing on changes in the world of work, impact on labour relations, ILO response (2008 Declaration of ILO on Social Justice for Fair Globalization & Global Jobs Pact) and challenges before the trade union movement. Participants are expected to actively join in the discussion on the impact of globalization & financial crisis on their economies, in particular on rights and interests of workers (including impact on women workers).


B) Review of Country Situations – each participant is expected to bring along with her/him a country situation presentation – which will form the basis of this session. The guidelines for the country presentation are mentioned below under course pre-requisites.


C) Enabling conditions and strategies for promoting Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining - The session will focus on – organizing approaches at different levels (enterprise, industry-wide and national), based on the experiences of the unions in different countries – focus will also be on how to create enabling conditions at policy/law level for organizing and promotion of Decent Work, including role of ILO’s supervisory machinery for promotion respect for freedom of association.


D) Global Wage Trends and role of Collective Bargaining in shaping wage Policies

The session will focus on key findings of the ILO’s Global Wage Report, impact of crisis on wages & incomes of workers, challenges for national economies and trade unions and role of collective bargaining in shaping national wages/incomes policies.


E) Strategies for collective bargaining at enterprise levels

The sessions will focus on understanding areas of collective bargaining, techniques, formulating charter of demands and strategies that protect workers incomes and working conditions. More specifically, the following sessions will be conducted in order to promote understanding on collective bargaining:

  • Introduction to Collective Bargaining

  • Economics of a firm and Balance Sheet Analysis.

  • How to collect information, analysis and prepare charter of demands.

  • Sources of Information for collective bargaining.

  • Changing management policies, strategies in this age of globalization & consequences for collective bargaining

  • Understanding Productivity from union point of view & Negotiating Productivity agreements.

  • New strategies for unions for organizing and reaching out to workers.

Each session will entail group work and presentations by the participants to tap into the participants own knowledge and also to promote the applicability of the ideas presented to their national situation. Emphasis will also be placed on learning and sharing experiences on women workers issues and understand how to mainstream gender issues in all policies and programmes of trade unions, including collective bargaining to promote women workers’ rights.

F) Collective bargaining in European countries

Participants from Asia would be exposed to the collective bargaining systems, current status & challenges before European unions – focusing on the experience of Italy, Germany, Scandinavia)

G) International Framework Agreements and role of national trade unions

International framework agreements (IFAs) are relatively new instruments for promoting workers rights in TNCs and these seek to encourage the recognition of social partnership between unions and TNCs across national borders. The session will focus on informing participants of the potential representing by IFAs to promote organizing and collective bargaining rights in TNCs national affiliates and in their supply chains and what role national unions can play in following up on the IFAs signed by Global Union Federations.

H) Social Dialogue & Collective Bargaining: Key issues for unions in this age of globalization

I) Study Visit: As integral part of the programme, the participants will also go on a study visit to learn about and share experiences in regard to organizing, collective bargaining, union responses to current global economic crisis and organizational initiatives being taken to strengthen the labour movement and improve effectiveness of trade union actions.

J) Evaluation of the course:


Course activities will be reviewed weekly and through an end-of-course evaluation.


K) Preparation of follow up work plan

Participants will prepare a work plan – a project proposal to be submitted to his/her organization upon their return home. The work plan should specify what they intend to do in the area of freedom of association and collective bargaining, reflecting what they have learnt during this training programme. These plans will be used by the Programme for future evaluations and for follow-up activities.




The course is meant for Asia Pacific trade union leaders/staff engaged in negotiations and collective bargaining (at company/industry/national level) or educators of national or industrial trade unions responsible for workers education on collective bargaining; The nominating organization is requested to nominate two suitable candidates, under 45 years of age, atleast one of who has to be a woman, based on the following criteria:

  • Office bearer/member of the union responsible for collective bargaining negotiations and policy;

  • Trade Union educator responsible for organizing training programmes in the field of organizing and collective bargaining rights;


From the two nominated participants only ONE participant will be selected by ACTRAV, keeping in view the course pre-requisites and the objectives.


The course will be conducted in English. Participants are expected to fully involve themselves in discussions and other activities and so they must be able to understand and speak in English. However, advanced English writing skills are not a requirement




The learning methods used in the course will acknowledge the participants' level of competence and experience, taking into account the proposition that they already have practical experience in the field of trade unions, organizing, negotiations and participating in the bipartite and tripartite fora. Active learning methods will be employed through the course, which will encourage the participants for group discussions and to be fully involved in all aspects of training.




Training modules, handouts and booklets dealing with the subject will be distributed to participants.





A. Country Report:

It is expected that every participant will prepare and submit in advance a country report, no

longer than 2-3 pages. The report should cover the following areas:

  • The state of trade unions, including – extent of unionization, number of national centers, structure and organization of trade unions, main challenges facing trade union movement;

  • Consultation mechanisms at industry, and national levels – how well respected are collective bargaining rights? Which sectors? Any salient features of collective agreements?

  • Major difficulties (if any) in organizing and representing workers at private enterprises, including MNCs; and

  • Three top priority areas for their future actions/programmes in the area protection of workers’ fundamental rights.


Kindly also focus on the situation of the women workers and union policies/strategies to address the gender dimensions of the identified problems.


Each participant is expected to bring along with her/him a copy of a balance sheet of a company. This will be used in course activities.

B) Pre-course Orientation via computer communications

There will be a pre-course orientation via computer communication (e-mail mailing list) organized for the course participants. The major objective of this pre-course orientation is to get the participants acquainted with the main subjects, objectives and target outputs of the course. All participants are required to take part in this pre-course activity.

C) Resource Material

The participants should collect documents and other sources of information concerning the following aspects of their countries and trade unions:

  • National labour laws and regulations concerning freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; Union policy paper or campaign materials on FoA and/or collective bargaining

  • Copy of a collective agreement – as a sample to analyse what is negotiated.

  • Copy of a balance sheet of a company

  • Any other materials that may be of interest to the course.




The course will run from 28 June to 16 July 2010. The information on the study visit and other details regarding the programme will be notified later.




The training will be conducted by staff of the Centre, external collaborators with specialized expertise and staff of the ILO/Geneva. The Centre's resources include classrooms, a learning resources centre and library, a computer training laboratory and an interactive language laboratory. Located on the banks of the river Po, the Centre's campus provides a congenial environment in which to study and live. The accommodation is provided in serviced bed/study rooms with private bathrooms. Other amenities on campus include a restaurant, cafeteria, bank, travel agency, post office and an infirmary.

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International Training Centre
Programme for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) - International Training Centre of the ILO
Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10 - 10127 Turin, Italy