Collective bargaining and labour relations

Collective bargaining is a fundamental right. It is rooted in the ILO Constitution and reaffirmed as such in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Collective bargaining is a key means through which employers and their organizations and trade unions can establish fair wages and working conditions. It also provides the basis for sound labour relations. Typical issues on the bargaining agenda include wages, working time, training, occupational health and safety and equal treatment. The objective of these negotiations is to arrive at a collective agreement that regulates terms and conditions of employment. Collective agreements may also address the rights and responsibilities of the parties thus ensuring harmonious and productive industries and workplaces. Enhancing the inclusiveness of collective bargaining and collective agreements is a key means for reducing inequality and extending labour protection.

Key ILO resources

  1. Publication

    A Review of Wage Setting through Collective Bargaining

    This Review of Wage Setting through Collective Bargaining provides insights about the wage component in collective agreements, as well as about the dynamics of the wage bargaining process in the private sector based on examples from selected countries in a variety of regions, wage bargaining systems and income levels.

  1. Flagship report

    Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective bargaining for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery

  2. Publication

    Collective bargaining, a policy guide

    A guide to design and implement policies promoting and strengthening collective bargaining.

  3. Issue Briefs

  4. Factsheets

  5. An explanatory brochure

    Promoting Collective Bargaining

    A practical guide to the text of Convention 154 and Recommendation 163.


  1. International Labour Conference

    Thematic Forum on "Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining: a foundation of decent work".

  2. Blogs

    • On-demand... and organized! , by Christopher Land-Kazlauskas, Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining Specialist and Hannah Johnston, Technical Officer.
    • Want to tackle inequality? Shore up collective bargaining , by Susan Hayter, Labour Relations & Collective Bargaining Senior Specialist.

  3. Infostory

    Can collective bargaining create a fairer economy? Discover the impact of collective bargaining on the economy, businesses and working lives.


  1. Working Paper

    Negotiations by workers in the informal economy

    This paper provides empirical evidence from Africa, Asia and the Americas on negotiations and collective bargaining by workers in the informal economy.

  2. A compendium of practice

    Interactions between Workers' Organisations and Workers in the Informal Economy

    A compilation of concrete examples, drawn from around the world, showing how trade unions have sought to reach out to workers in the informal economy to reduce the decent work deficits they face and support their transition to formality.

  3. Guidebook

    How and why to collect and use data on industrial relations

    A support to ILO’s tripartite constituents in the collection of data on industrial relations, including on trade union membership, on the coverage of collective bargaining agreements and on strikes and lockouts.

  4. Book

    Collective Agreements: Extending Labour Protection

    This volume examines the extension of collective agreements and its use as a policy tool to expand the coverage of labour protection, and shore up collective bargaining.