LO/FTF Council

The LO/FTF Council (the Danish trade union council for international development co-operation) supports democratic movements in several MENA countries through local partners in the union movement and with funding from DAPP.

The Council focuses heavily on the ability of trade unions to enter into dialogue and negotiation, and to fight for the protection of workers’ rights, decent working conditions and the right to organise. The Council is working with the trade union movement, employers and governments to promote social dialogue and to generate development and stability on the labour market. The LO/FTF Council works closely with the Confederation of Danish Industry on some of these themes and has a presence in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, along with regional representation on a wider basis in the MENA region.

Work by the LO/FTF Council in the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA region)

The LO/FTF Council collaborates with a number of trade unions on boosting their financial and institutional capacity to help them become strong and credible negotiation partners able to contribute to democratisation and economic development. It supports training in collective bargaining, social dialogue and studies on the labour market that can form the background for dissemination of information and lobbying. It contributes to courses for union representatives, communication and special campaigns for women and youth in the trade union movement. On a regional basis, it supports a media network in partnership with the Arab trade union association, which reports from the whole region on infringements of workers’ rights. The LO/FTF Council has set up an equality network with representatives from Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Palestine and Denmark, to exchange views on trade-union and structural problems faced by women on the labour market. It has also set up a youth network focusing on the problems encountered by young people within the trade union movement and on the labour market in general.

The following groups have benefitted from the LO/FTF Council programme:

  • Workers and union representatives in the private and public sectors in partner countries.
  • Trade union leaders.
  • Workers in the informal economy.
  • The LO/FTF Council has cross-cutting focus on youth and women.

The objectives of the LO/FTF Council for the next five years

The LO/FTF Council is a member of a consortium with the Confederation of Danish Industry designed to enhance economic potential in the MENA region moving towards 2022. A particular aim is to strengthen democracy, social institutions, civil society and industry. In general, the LO/FTF Council seeks to strengthen social dialogue on the labour market to increase the number of collective agreements, lower the number of industrial disputes and improve working conditions within certain sectors. The aim is to strengthen employees, employers and governments so that they can work together to improve labour-market legislation, worker’s rights and financial opportunities – not least for young people and women.

Nobel Peace Prize for the LO/FTF Council’s Tunisian partner, UGTT, maternity leave legislation and better conditions for workers

The LO/FTF Council’s partner in Tunisia, UGTT, was the driving force in the ‘dialogue quartet’ awarded in the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. Employers and human rights organisations were also part of the quartet, and the prize is recognition of the successful dialogue that took place in Tunisia in the aftermath of the Arab Spring in 2011. Similarly, their Tunisian partner contributed to the country’s new constitution, which incorporated the right to strike and a new law on maternity leave. The LO/FTF Council supported ATUC, the regional trade union movement, in its information dissemination programme, which also focuses on the conditions of migrant workers in the region. Their work has also helped improve women’s representation in the trade union movements in several countries (e.g. Bahrain, Tunisia and Morocco). Courses for trade union representatives and training for leaders have helped improve the conditions for workers through more collective agreements, and actual wage increases (e.g. in Jordan and Tunisia).