Statistics on collective bargaining

Our working conditions determine to a great extent our living conditions (and those of our families), which is why it is crucial to ensure adequate working conditions for all. Social dialogue is one of the main means to promote satisfactory working conditions, as well as peace and social justice. It includes negotiations and consultations among the different labour market actors, collective bargaining and dispute prevention and resolution. Successful social dialogue has the potential to resolve important economic and social issues and deal with economic crises in an effective way. The extent of social dialogue has a direct impact on stability, labour market governance and the economy as a whole.

All negotiations which take place between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations and one or more workers’ organisations to determine working conditions and terms of employment are part of collective bargaining. The coverage of collective bargaining includes all workers whose pay and/or conditions of employment are determined by one or more collective agreement(s), including workers covered by agreements on the basis of their extension.

The scope, coverage and frequency of collective bargaining, the items negotiated and the outcome of negotiations have a great impact on workers’ conditions.

In order to assess the extent of social dialogue, reliable data is needed on unions and unionization, employers’ organizations, collective bargaining and industrial disputes. This page presents valuable statistics and studies on collective bargaining coverage around the world.

Featured publication

Collective bargaining statistics are crucial to assess labour markets but also the state of industrial relations. However, the particularities linked with the data sources and data quality make collective bargaining statistics a very challenging field of labour statistics. Get information about all the main aspects of collective bargaining statistics in this quick guide: Quick Guide on Sources and Uses of Collective Bargaining Statistics.



This issue brief examines differences in collective bargaining coverage for 75 countries.

Collective bargaining over wages and other working conditions between unions and employers is a key labour market institution in democratic societies. The coverage and impact of this institution varies over time and across countries. 


See also