The Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD is an interface for trade unions with the OECD. It is an international trade union organisation which has consultative status with the OECD and its various committees.


  • "Labour and the OECD: the Role of TUAC" - OECD Policy Brief, February 2006
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The Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD is an interface for trade unions with the OECD. It is an international trade union organisation which has consultative status with the OECD and its various committees.

TUAC's origins go back to 1948 when it was founded as a trade union advisory committee for the European Recovery Programme - the Marshall Plan. When the OECD was created in its current form in 1962 as an intergovernmental policy making body, TUAC continued its work of representing organised labour's views to the new organisation. The OECD is now changing again, taking in new members and becoming a leading forum for intergovernmental policy making to manage globalisation. TUAC's role is to help ensure that global markets are balanced by an effective social dimension. Through regular consultations with various OECD committees, the secretariat, and member governments TUAC coordinates and represents the views of the trade union movement in the industrialized countries. It is also responsible for coordinating the trade union input to the annual G8 economic summits and employment conferences.

TUAC's affiliates consist of over 58 national trade union centres in the 30 OECD industrialised countries which together represent some 66 million workers. It is they who finance TUAC activities decide priorities and policy and elect the TUAC officers.

The large majority of TUAC affiliates' are also affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Most European affiliates also belong to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). TUAC therefore works closely with these international trade union organisations as well as with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). TUAC also works closely with Global Union Federations to ensure effective trade union input to OECD sectoral work such as education, public sector management, steel, or maritime transport. TUAC with the ITUC and GUFs are members of the Council of Global Unions.

TUAC operates through a small secretariat, based in Paris, of 5 policy staff and 3 administrative staff. John Evans is the General Secretary of TUAC.

TUAC's day to day work involves meeting with the OECD Secretariat, Committees and Member governments to appraise them of the views of the trade union movement on the issues on the OECD's agenda.

At the same time TUAC briefs affiliates on a regular basis on the work under way in the OECD, coordinates policy statements on major areas of interest and evaluates the outcome of OECD meetings and publications. The TUAC secretariat are frequently called on to make presentations to meetings or Congresses of affiliates and other international trade union organisations. This process enables the trade union movement to have access to the intergovernmental policy debate and at the same time allows policy makers to have dialogue with the Social Partners. Given the growing impact of globalisation on working people and their families and the realisation of the need for participatory strategies by governments for all the stakeholders in market based economies, this dialogue is more important than ever.

The formal decision making body within TUAC is the Plenary Session, which meets twice a year (April/May and November/December). All TUAC affiliates and the representatives of the international trade union organisations are invited to attend, and normally around fifty union Presidents or General Secretaries, International Secretaries and Economic or Research heads attend. The Plenary Session discusses and approves major policy statements, discusses the work programme and priorities, it also sets a budget and affiliation fees and elects TUAC Officers.

The Plenary also elects an Administrative Committee which is in charge of overseeing the administration of TUAC. At the moment it consists of the following organisations: DGB, Germany; CLC, Canada; TUC, United Kingdom; AFL-CIO, United States; FO and CFDT, France; CGIL, Italy; RENGO, Japan; ÖGB, Austria; TCO, Sweden and CSC, Belgium together with the President, the Vice-Presidents and the General Secretary.

The Officers are elected for four year renewable terms. Currently the President of TUAC is Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO (USA). The Vice-Presidents are Marc Leemans, President of the Belgian Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (CSC-Belgium), Tsuyoshi Takagi, President of RENGO Japan, and Marie-Louise Knuppert, Secretary of LO-Denmark. The General Secretary is John Evans.

In addition to the General Secretary the TUAC Secretariat consists of Policy Advisors (Kirsty Drew, Pierre Habbard, Anabella Rosemberg & Roland Schneider), an Administrative and Financial Assistant (Michelle Vedel), and two Secretaries.

Working Groups exist on Economic Policy, on Global Trade and Investment, and on Education, Training and Labour Market Policy. The Working Groups prepare TUAC positions for both the Plenary Session and for consultations with the OECD. They are open to all affiliates, the international organisations and TUAC "partner" organisations in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition a range of ad hoc meetings are held under specific areas being considered by the OECD.

TUAC normally has consultations with the Bureaux of OECD Ministerial meetings where statements are submitted. Trade union presentations are also made to the OECD in the course of consultations with different OECD Committees. There is also an annual meeting with the OECD Liaison Committee for Non-Governmental Organisations, which is made up of members of the OECD Council. TUAC representatives now also participate in some OECD Committees or Working Groups as active observers. On average some four hundred trade union representatives take part each year in different TUAC and OECD meetings mostly at OECD headquarters in Paris.

There is also an OECD Labour/Management Programme, partially financed by the OECD, which serves as a forum for preconsultations between trade union and management experts on matters that eventually come up in the OECD's programme of work.

TUAC also organises on a regular basis conferences with affiliates and other trade union bodies in OECD countries reports are usually presented as publications.