Regional Trade Union Programme

Trade unions have played an important political role during the political unrest and following the overthrow of the country's rulers. In Tunisia and Egypt, the workers in the factories had gone on strike during the demonstrations. In Tunisia, the strike, which was called by the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) led to the overthrow of President Ben Ali on 14 January 2011. In other countries, such as Libya and Bahrain, trade unions also succeeded in mobilizing the population. Beyond their political role, trade unions play at national level a significant role in economic and social development. They are mostly present all over the country and can ensure that the interests of the employees are taken into account in policy-making and that labour market and social policy goals are not neglected.

In the coming years, it is for many trade unions in the Near / Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to demand and accompany the political reforms after the "Arab Spring". Concretely, this means that unions will push for economic and social reforms in the interests of the employees while protecting in particular the workers’ rights.

For unions in the region to take on this responsibility and fully fulfil their role, the democratic and independent trade union structures must be strengthened in their capacities.

Through the regional trade union project, FES pursues the following objectives:

  • Consolidating the regional trade union structures in the MENA region and providing support for women's and youth structures.
  • Promoting regional cooperation between unions
  • Elaborating strategies and trade union position on the socio-economic themes such as social security, migration, informal sector and climate change.
  • Developing e-learning methods to strengthen the knowledge about workers right.

To implement its projects, the regional trade union project works together with:

  • Member of the executive and with young trade unionist. As well as officials and members of the national and sub-regional trade unions.
  • Independent civil society organizations representing the interests of citizens and workers.
  • Policy makers who have influence on the relevant issues;
  • Workers, progressive scientific and intellectual elite dealing with social and trade unions rights.

The planned activities are for instance conferences, seminars, workshops, publications and information visits as well as dialogue. Additionally, more recent instruments such as animated videos and infographics can be used as learning material.

Our Regional Projects


E-learning (e-learning) platform for training and education of workers

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation launched with the Arab Trade Unions confederation the e-learning project which is related to various causes of workers and unions.

This project is essential to educate an audience of unionists, workers and professionals and to build their capacities and awareness about their rights, especially those in countries affected by conflicts or prohibiting union work.

This program includes a group of videos that summarize and simplify the most important conventions of the International Labor Organization. But in the infographics, there are comparisons between the local legislation in Arab countries in matters of workers' rights. For example: equal pay and social security.

E-Learning Videos for Trade Unionists on Youtube

Get more videos from our Youtube-Playlist on the FES Channel.


Video 01 TUP
Video 02 TUP
Video 03 TUP

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a continued support for working women

Social justice and rights of workers through political and economic changes


The power resources approach in the MENA region

Slaiby, Ghassan

The power resources approach in the MENA region

Tunis, 2018

Download publication (540 KB, PDF-File)


01.12.2019 | Trade Union Program | Events

The meeting was attended by 10 leaders representing 8 domestic workers’ groups from the MENA region. From the 10 leaders, 9 are MDWs (8 females and 1…


09.04.2019 | Trade Union Program | Events

Promotion of youth participation continues: 2nd edition of the Young Leaders Academy for Trade Unions


19.04.2018 | Trade Union Program | Events

Young Leaders for a better future - MENA Young Leaders Academy for Trade Unions




| Political Feminism | Press

The book which is aimed at children, was supported by the German foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, which operates across the MENA region.


| Promoting Migration Governance | Press

Each year, thousands of Tunisians attempt the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in order to reach Italy. But dreams of an Italian promised…


| Press

In a world marked by a political incertainties and the constant quest for democratic freedom, The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) stands out as an…


Helmut Elischer

Project Director

+216 71 775 343