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Trade Unions in the Third World

At first glance, the topic of trade unions in the Third World might seem to be a mere niche issue. However, if one takes a look at the sometimes dramatic changes in international economic relations, which are usually referred to as "globalization", it quickly becomes apparent that the manufacturing of products and the provision of services in the Third World a n d the prevailing working conditions there are becoming ever more important for us in Germany and in Europe.

Both in industrialized countries and in the countries of the Third World, free and democratic trade unions are organizations established to represent the employees' interests - open for participation, membership and involvement.

Against the backdrop of rapidly increasing global economic integration, it is of paramount importance for Germans and Europeans alike to gain access to information on trade unions in the Third World - through schools, adult education events, trade union education centres or church education institutions. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation Library is home to one of Germany's largest collections of publications on trade unions in the Third World - a vast pool of information available to anyone who is interested.

The arrangement according to subjects is intended to give users a quick and easy-to-assess overview of what is available. Titles have been chosen to provide basic information - in several languages - on various aspects of the subject area. Apart from recent titles, older publications were also selected in order to document the long debate on trade unions in the Third World.

Besides a selection of titles from the Library's (printed) stock and links to other sources and organizations found on the Internet, the user is provided with a vast array of information on the subject.

Further publications, in particular recent ones, can also be found in full text on the Friedrich Ebert Foundation's Web site on international trade union work at


We also recommend the "Work and Working in the Third World" subject module.

All rights for the publication of the full texts presented here lie with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Library or have been granted to us. In some cases, however, we were not able to determine who holds certain rights. Should the identity of any holder of rights become known to us at a later date or should they contact us, we will endeavour to obtain their permission. Standing in for all other persons or groups, we would like to thank the German Trade Union Federation's Education Institution/North-South Network (DGB-Bildungswerk/Nord-Süd-Netz) for granting us the rights to publish many of their outstandig booklets on various subjects.
The authors and editors of the publications are responsible for their content, and the publications may not always reflect positions held by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
As usual, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Library is highly interested in engaging users in a dialogue on this topic. Criticism and suggestions submitted by users are always welcome and will, if possible, have an impact on the updating and further development of this subject module.
If not stated otherwise, the photos and other illustrations presented on the pages of "FES Net Source: History and Policy" come from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation's Archive of Social Democracy (AdsD).

Rainer Gries
Deputy Manager of the
Friedrich Ebert Foundation Library

Trade Unions in the Third World

Indonesia: Female trade unionists
Source: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Development Cooperation Department