Voice & Privacy

Intimidation of union members and prohibition of participation in unions


Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests. Unions represent the interests of employees and play an important role in ensuring fair and equitable working conditions are provided to employees. Unions facilitate employee safety by providing industry-specific safety advice, convening workplace meetings to discuss grievances, and, if required, representing these grievances to management. Where unions can represent the grievances of employees, these employees do not have to approach the boss individually, reducing their risk from retaliation. Fundamentally, unions work to ensure employees are not exploited through fundamental power imbalances that often exist between employees and employer.


The rights of workers and employees to establish, join and participate in trade union activity without intimidation and discrimination are recognized human rights.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966
Convention Concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and to Bargain Collectively, 1948 (No. 87)
Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively, 1949 (No. 98)
and Convention concerning Protection and Facilities to be Afforded to Workers' Representatives in the Undertaking, 1971 (No. 135)



SDG 8.5

By preventing intimidation of union members at the workplace, businesses promote the achievement of SDG 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

SDG 8.8
By preventing intimidation of union members at the workplace, businesses promote the achievement of SDG 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.