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An overview of workers' rights worldwide

Workers' rights in Europe are well protected compared to the rest of the world. In 2023, an analysis by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) found violations of the right to strike in 87 percent of the 148 countries surveyed worldwide.

A Statista graphic offers a detailed look at the global state of workers' rights, considering factors like freedom of association, collective bargaining, and the right to strike.

Many countries in Asia and Africa fall into the lowest category for workers' rights. In these regions, a general breakdown of the rule of law often results in the loss of all rights. Afghanistan and Somalia are examples of such countries.

Violations of workers' rights are seen worldwide. The ITUC even rates the United States as a country where workers' rights are systematically violated, giving it a worse rating than neighbouring Mexico and Canada.

In contrast, workers' rights in Europe are generally well protected. According to the ITUC, all the countries with the highest ratings are in Europe. Scandinavian countries, in particular, have excellent working conditions, and Germany is also highly rated. However, occasional violations of workers' rights still occur. In the UK, the situation has worsened significantly, and the country has been downgraded by one category compared to the previous year.

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Unions report increasing membership

Unions are groups of workers that advocate for their members' interests, such as better wages, vacation days, and break times. The right for all employees to form unions is protected by Article 9, Paragraph 3 of the German Basic Law. Unions can use strikes as a way to push for their demands.

In 2023, half of the unions in the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) saw an increase in members compared to the previous year. Frank Werneke, the chairman of ver.di, said that the economic situation and the growing shortage of skilled workers have led more people to join unions to support their demands. However, this increase does not necessarily mean there will be a long-term trend.

This article is from the 3/2024 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.