European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions

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This article is about the EU association. For the World Bank program, see Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion.
CESI logo.png
Full name European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions
Native name Confédération Européenne des Syndicats
Founded 1990
Members 5 million
Affiliation Independent
Key people

Romain Wolff, President

Klaus Heeger, Secretary General
Office location Brussels, Belgium
Country Europe

The European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI; French Confédération Européenne des Syndicats Indépendants, German Europäische Union der unabhängigen Gewerkschaften, Italian Confederazione Europea Sindacati Indipendenti) is a regional trade union federation representing around 5 million members of independent trade unions in Europe.

CESI represents free and independent trade unions from the private and public sectors that adhere to democratic principles and defend the respect of human rights.


The current President of CESI is Romain Wolff, of the Luxemburgish Confédération Générale de la Fonction Publique. Mr Wolff was elected in December 2012 during the CESI Congress. The current Secretary General of CESI is Klaus Heeger.[1] Mr Heeger was elected in December 2012 during the CESI Congress.

Congress takes place once every 4 years. During the CESI Congress, the Presidium and Board are elected. The Presidium and the Board govern CESI during its four-year period. The most recent Congress took place in Brussels in December 2012. Congress also gives member organisations the opportunity to put forward motions for CESI to act upon in its 4-year mandate.

Member organisations (by country)[edit]

The European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions has member organisations at national and European level in the following countries:


The Trade Union Federation of Education and Science of Albania[2] (FPAESH) is an Albanian federation of trade unions which represents public and the private sector workers in education.

The Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania[3] (KSSH- CTUA) is a confederation of trade unions which operates in Albania. The CTUA has been in operation in Albania since the 1990s.


The Fédération intercatégorielle Services Publics[4] (FISP-IFOD) represents firemen at the national level. In the region of Wallonia, the trade union is known as the Fédération intercatégorielle Services Publics, while in the Flanders region it is known as the Intercategoriele Federatie Openbare Diensten (IFOD). In the Bruxelles-Capitale region, affiliates refer to the organisation in their preferred language. Each of the regions possess an individual president. The regions are united in a single office.

The Union Nationale des Services Publics[5] is an independent trade union which represents workers in the federal public service in Belgium.


The Association for National Trade Union and Civic Actions (ANTUCA) or PROMYANA was set up on 3 October 1996 through an agreement signed by with 19 trade union and civic organisations. PROMYANA Union was established on 20 April 1997 as a direct successor of ANTUCA. Dimitar Dimanov, previously president of the National Trade Union, was elected as president of the association. PROMYANA now comprises 20 Trade Union, Civic and Professional-Class Organisations among them: Union of Power Engineers in Bulgaria; National Union of Dockers and Port Seamen; Bulgarian Physicians’ Union; Miners’ Federation; Teachers’ Trade Union in Bulgaria; Railwaymen’s Trade Union, Trade Union of Autotransport Workers; National Union of Shipping Agents; Bulgarian Association of Hotels and Restaurants; National Trade Union of Private Contractors.[6]


The Nezavisni Sindikat Djelatnika Ministarstva Unutarnjih Poslova or the Independent Workers Union of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia is an independent organisation that acts the interests of its members through subsidiaries that are present in many police bureaus across Croatia. All important decisions are made by a Central Committee consisting of all representatives from all the bureaus with the Union president at its head. There is also a Union Assembly which meets every four years.[7]


The Frie Funktionærer (Independent Employees) is a trade union which represents independent workers working for a liberal, flexible and inclusive labour market. Frie Funktionærer has around 25,000 members.[8]


The Autonome Lokomotivführer-Gewerkschaften Europas ALE (The European Independent Train Operators Union) brings together workers from independent European trade unions and professional associations, engineers and other railway staff. ALE represents the professional, social and material interests of individual members in their unions affiliated to representation at European level.[9]

The Air Traffic Controllers` European Union Coordination (ATCEUC) aims to put forward the views of European Air Traffic Controllers in a non-political manner. ATCEUC is very active at the EU level.[10]

The European Federation of Public Service Employees (EUROFEDOP) was established at the first congress of the International Federation of Employees in the Public Service, held in Vienna, Austria, in 1966. This brought together Christian and other democratic trade unions in Europe. EUROFEDOP comprises 55 public service trade unions in Austria, Albania, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and United Kingdom. The principal aim of Eurofedop is to promote co-operation between public service trade unions throughout Europe and represent the interests of employees of the public services to the European Union.[11]

Union for Unity (U4U) is an organisation which brings together both unionised and non-unionised members working at the heart of the EU institutions, including civil servants, contractual agents, local agents and seconded national experts.[12]


The Tullivirkamiesliitto- Tulljänstemannaförbundet (Customs Officials Association) represents 12 member associations, with a total of 935 individual affiliate members. Association members work in all areas of Customs in Finland in a variety of different positions.[13]


The Alliance Police nationale represents the national police force in France. Unaffiliated to any political party, Alliance seeks to work with governments and political parties in the interests of its members.[14]

The Confédération Syndicale de l'Education Nationale was established on 5 January 1984 by 5 organisations. The aim was to be better understood by the responsible Ministries and to maintain and develop the quality of teaching in France.[15]

The Fédération Autonome de la Fonction Publique Territoriale is composed of trade unions at the local level or the departmental level. The FA-FPT is also composed of the following professional associations: the Autonomous Federation of Professional Firefighters and Administrative Personnel, Technical and Specialised services of departmental fire and rescue and the National Union of Technical Personnel for Education.[16]

Composed of officials from three civil services, the Fédération générale Autonome des Fonctionnaires is an independent trade union in France. The FGAF is composed of 2 deliberative bodies (the Federal Congress and the National Council) and an executive body (the Executive Board).[17]

The Union Fédérale des Cadres des Fonctions Publiques-CGC represents contract and statute agents, and civil servants in state, territorial and the hospital civil service in France. The UFCFP-CGC comprises around 30 trade unions across a wide variety of public service sectors including education, defense, culture, customs, among many others.[18]


The Christlicher Gewerkschaftsbund (the Christian Trade Union Federation) combines unions which class themselves as a voluntary association of workers and officials in separate and independent trade unions. The Christian Trade Union Federation of Germany is the third largest trade union federation in the Federal Republic of Germany with more than 280,000 members. 14 individual unions are affiliated to the CGB.[19]

With over 1.26 million members, the dbb beamtenbund und tarifunion is a trade union for civil servants and public employees in the public and private services. The DBB is an organisation of public service and private service sector unions. The DBB comprises:

  • 12 unions in the public sector or in the private service sector
  • 31 trade unions, where officials and public employees are organised in the public sector and at the local and state level in federal organisations.[20]

The Deutscher BundeswehrVerband (the German Armed Forces Association or the DBwV) represents the interests of approximately 200,000 affiliates in all aspects of service and social justice in the armed forces, be it active-duty soldiers, civilian members of the armed forces or supporting members.[21]


The Magyar Köztisztviselők, Közalkalmazottak és Közszolgálati Dolgozók Szakszervezete (the MKKSV, The Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Employees Trade Union) represents national and local administrations and economic and civil organisations financed from the national budget. The trade union was established at the time of the Hungarian transition (1989-1990) as the legal successor of the union of local government officials, a member of the Trade Union of Public Employees which disintegrated.[22]

The Szakszervezetek Együttműködési Fóruma (The Forum for the Co-operation of Trade Unions or SZEF in the Hungarian abbreviation) is a national trade union confederation which was established at the time of the transition (1989-1990). The SZEF holds Observer status within CESI. SZEF is a national trade union confederation which represents the interests of employees in the following industries: Education, Health and social services, Public collections, Cultural and art institutions, Central and local administration, Law enforcement, Public order and security. SZEF is one of the largest union confederations of the country. By the end of 2007, 32 member trade unions with 257 000 members were registered with SZEF.[23]


The Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Autonomi Lavoratori or CISAL (Italian Confederation of Autonomous Unions Workers) was established in 1957. The trade union organisation, which is embedded in a framework of international relations, represents the interests and rights of workers belonging to various sectors throughout Italy.[24]

the Confederazione autonoma dei dirigenti, quadri e direttivi della pubblica amministrazione (CONFEDIR or Independent Confederation of Executives, Supervisors, and Managers of Public Administration) represents 11 different unions throughout Italy, covering sectors including security, health and public management. CONFEDIR is the biggest trade union representing executive managers in Italy.[25]

The Confederazione Generale dei Sindacati Autonomi dei Lavoratori or CONF.S.A.L was founded in July 1979 through the amalgamation of two independent unions, SNALS and UNSA. CONF.S.A.L. is active in both the public sector and the private sector representing various sectors including Tax Agencies, Higher Education Institutions, Ministries,health sector, security, education sector, agriculture, the banking sector, disabled workers, freelancers, tenants, temporary workers, small entrepreneurs, migrant workers, television, the postal sector, the transport sector, fisheries and retired workers (both public and private).[26]


The Latvijas Ārstniecības un aprūpes darbinieku arodbiedrība or LAADA (Latvian Medical and nursing staff workers union) was established and registered in March 1992. LAADA members are primarily nurses, paramedics (physician assistants), laboratory assistants, midwives, and those with nursing school education. LAADA is also a member of the Latvian Free Trade Unions, the largest Latvian non-governmental organisation, which brings together 20 member organisations.[27]

The Latvijas valsts iestāžu, pašvaldību, uzņēmumu un finanšu darbinieku arodbiedrība or LVIPUFDA (the Latvian State Agencies, Municipalities, Businesses and Financial Officers Union) was founded in 1920. LVIPUFDA brings together around 4,000 workers and 172 professional organisations within national and local government bodies, financial institutions and companies in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Welfare, in the Latvian bank, Swedbank, AS GE Money Bank, JSC Latvian Savings Bank and companies such as Volvo Truck Ltd., L & T, G4S. LVIPUFDA is also a member organisation of the Latvian Free Trade Union Confederation.[28]


The Confédération Générale de la Fonction Publique or the CGFP (General Confederation of Public Service) is a concentration of professional organisations of public services. The trade union represents the interest of public service officials, public employees and other contract staff working as public servants. Comprising sixty federations and associations of the civil service, the CGFP includes a total of over 28,000 members.[29]

The Fédération Générale de la fonction communale or the FGFC (the General Federation of Commune Services) is a union which represents professional organisations and local workers in local authorities. This includes public institutions which are under the supervision of the local authority and companies in which local authorities are engaged.[30]

The Netherlands[edit]

The origins of the CNV Publieke Zaak date back to 1903 and the railroad strikes. While the initiative of the strike came from the socialist trade union movement; workers from among other Christian workers covenant Heritage found that Christian workers also had to organise themselves. This led to the establishment of the Christian trade union movement. Over the years, the name of the association changed several times. On January 1, 1983 three unions merged: the Dutch Christian Association of Government Employees (NCBO), the General Roman Catholic Officials Association (ARKA) and the Dutch Christian Association of nurses and Carers (NCVVV). On 20 June 2002 the name was changed again to CNV Public. This unites two elements: that the CNV is a union and that they represent workers in the public sector.[31]

The Nederlandse Categoriale vakvereniging Financiën or the NCF (Dutch Categorical union Finance) is a trade union for employees who work for (or are now retired from) the Dutch tax authorities. The NCF was founded in 1889. The association is independent and is not associated with a particular spiritual movement or political party.[32]


The Associação Nacional de Professores (the National Teachers Association or the ANP) is a professional organisation which unites teachers of all levels and degrees of education and teaching (preschool education, teaching basic, secondary and higher) in the public sector and the private sector. The ANP was founded in 1985 and was declared a public utility in 1991. The national headquarters is in Braga and is deployed throughout the national territory through local branches to support teachers.[33]

The União dos Sindicatos Independentes (or USI) is an independent Trade Union Confederation. As a confederation, the USI represent various sectors throughout Portugal, among them: the National Union of Bank Management and Technical Staff, the Communications Union of Portugal, the National Union of Technical Staff, the Independent Union of Civil Servants, the Independent Union of Banking, the Union Association of Administrative Personnel in Health, the Union Association of Teachers Licensed, the Independent Union of Rail and Related, the National Union of Transport Communications and Works, the Independent Trade Union of Railway Workers Association and the Independent Union of Trade and Services.[34]


The Wolny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność Oświata" (the Free Trade Union "Solidarity - Education" or WZZ-SO) is an organisation representative of the education sector in Poland and is representative within the meaning of the Act on the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic and regional committees of social dialogue and labor law, and European law.[35]


The Confederatia Sindicala Nationala Meridian (Meridian National Trade Union Confederation or the CSNM) was established in 1994 following the unification of two federations: the Federation of the Copper Mining Trade Unions in Romania and the Federation of the Rubber Workers Trade Unions in Romania. Meridian has 29 branch federations and 42 county affiliates throughout Romania. The CSNM represent a variety of sectors in Romania including the transport sector, light industries and public services.[36]


The ANPE Sindicato Independiente is an organisation which unites the teaching profession in Spain. The ANPE supports teachers on an individual basis and campaigns for improvements to working conditions for the teaching profession as a whole. The ANPE has more than 67,000 members throughout Spain with offices in all regions.[37]

The Central Sindical Independiente y de Funcionarios (the Independent Trade Union of Employees or CSI-F) has been active for over 30 years throughout all regions in Spain. CSI-F represents independent workers in the following sectors: central administration, local government,the postal sector, private enterprise, the education sector, prisons, health and universities.[38]

The Federación de Asociaciones Sindicales (Federation of Trade Unions or FASGA) was founded in 1978 to represent the independent labour force. Currently FASGA represents workers in Medium and Large Distribution Companies, and in Insurance, Travel Agencies, Financial Institutions Credit, Telemarketing and Construction. FASGA has over 40,000 members.[39]


The Vereinigung der Kader des Bundes (the union of the Federal Executive or VKB) was founded in 1948 as an independent, autonomous and politically neutral association of managers. The VKB represents around 4000 workers and takes part in all official negotiations on personnel policy matters with the Federal Government, the Department of Finance, Office of Personnel and the ETH.[40]

The Zentralverband Öffentliches Personal Schweiz (the Central Association of Public Swiss Personnel or ZV) was founded in 1914, and currently brings together 16 cantons and 75 municipal associations throughout the German-speaking Switzerland as an umbrella organisation. The ZV represents around 30,000 members from all functions and levels of government in the cantons and municipalities.[41]


Bem Bir Sen (the Association of Municipal and City Administration Employees) was established in 1994. Bem Bir Sen is the largest trade union in the public sector in Turkey.[42]

Trade Councils[edit]

Trade councils within CESI work on issues that are specific to particular sectors or trades, pooling the interests of member organisations' . Trade Councils issue statements, opinions and resolutions, on the latest legislative developments in the European Union. For each Trade Council there is an elected President and Vice-Presidents, who lead the discussions in their sector. All trade councils prepare answers to relevant consultations from the European Commission.[43]

Central Administration and Finances[edit]

The Central Administration and Finance trade council is a forum where representatives gather to share their expertise, compare national reforms, engage in the sharing of best practices and develop opinions on European initiatives in this field.

Local and Regional Administration[edit]

In the Local and Regional Administration trade council, CESI works to defend public services for all citizens on the basis of decent working conditions in the public sector. CESI defends workers' rights in this sector through transparent work in sectoral social dialogue.


The Security trade council CESI works to foster decent pay and retirement allocations, health in the workplace and to establish good balance between work and family life. For CESI, European internal security poses a challenge which must be met by high qualified and highly motivated public service employees.

Education, Training and Research[edit]

The Education, Training, Research trade council gathers delegates from education trade unions and represents workers from primary school sector to universities and adult education. The trade council offers a forum to share best national practices and discuss practices which are not working effectively.


The Health trade council represents doctors and nursing staff from all over Europe. The exchange of best practices and development of positions regarding the working conditions are at the focus of the Health trade council.


The Justice trade council is a forum where representatives of the justice sector gather to share their expertise, compare national reforms, exchange best practices and elaborate opinions on European initiatives in this field.

Post and Telecoms[edit]

Telecommunications and postal services are services of general interest. The trade council serves to establish decent working conditions and a healthy workplace for all workers in the sector.


The Defence trade council gathers organisations from the defence sector, military and civilians, to discuss the working and living conditions of soldiers and civilians in Europe. The trade council works to establish full trade union rights for the sector. Improving working conditions remains the overall goal.

Europe Academy[edit]

The Europe Academy is the training branch of CESI, a point of contact for training and information on certain elements of social dialogue at the EU level. The Board consists of a President, Vice Presidents and 3 ex-officio members (the President of CESI, the Secretary General of CESI and the Treasurer of CESI).[44]

Seminars of the Europe Academy[edit]

CESI addresses current issues relating to European social and labour policies at its seminars, which are organised by its training centre, CESI Europe Academy:

  • Public Sector in Europe: a quality employer working in the general interest – the challenges of recruitment and retention of staff, Hamburg, 10–11 October 2013
  • Building the Europe of freedom, security and justice: effects on the main sectors concerned and workers’ demands, Lyon, 27–28 June 2013
  • Providing high-quality public services in Europe based on the values of Protocol 26 TFEU, Warsaw, 11–12 October 2012
  • Promoting transnational administrative cooperation in Europe, Luxembourg, 28–29 June 2012
  • Promoting diversity within the Public Service in the European Union, Amsterdam, 23–24 June 2011 [45]
  • The Public Service and the Integration of Migrants in the European Union, Vienna, 29–30 September 2011 [46]
  • Mobility of health workers within the EU, Riga, 16–18 June 2010
  • Creating added value - taking action together. The role of the Public Service and the Social Partners in overcoming the economic crisis, Valencia, 14–16 April 2010
  • The European Public Service faced with the challenges of globalisation and European integration: the role of lifelong learning, Malmö, 28–30 October 2009
  • Health and Prevention at Work, Rome, 21–22 September 2009
  • Work Life balance, Lisbon, 23–24 June 2009
  • Selected Issues relating to the European Social Model, Budapest, 10–12 September 2008
  • The European Social Model against the backdrop of globalisation, Strasbourg, 1–3 July 2008
  • Flexicurity – Labour market policy model for Europe?, Brussels, 28–29 April 2008
  • The courage to have children - women and men torn between work and family, Brussels, 12–14 September 2007
  • Integrating young and older employees into the labour market, Seville 8–11 May 2007
  • The future of old-age pension schemes in Europe, Berlin 26–28 February 2007

Seminars and symposia are organised with the financial support of the European Commission.


CESI@noon is a recent initiative launched in CESI which allows member organisations of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions, journalists and the general public to meet and discuss topical affairs with high-profile figures on the European scene. CESI@noon follows a roundtable format, with a key note speaker and guest panelists. The debate is then followed by a question and answer session with participants.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Right to good administration[edit]

The inaugural CESI@noon took place on 12 February 2013.[47] The key note speaker was Peter M. Huber, German Constitutional judge and rapporteur for the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court on the European Stability Mechanism. The topic of the debate was the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Right to good administration. Antoine Buchet, acting head of unit Fundamental Rights and Rights of the Child at the DG Justice in the European Commission, and Diogo Pinto, Secretary General at European Movement International also took part in the debate. The debate was moderated by Hanns Joachim Friedrichs.

White Paper put forward by the European Commission on “An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions”[edit]

The second CESI@noon took place on 24 April 2013. Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament Ria Oomen-Ruijten was present at the event which discussed the White Paper put forward by the European Commission on “An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions”. A representative of the European Commission was also invited to present the challenges facing EU Member States in addressing pensions systems.[48]

Security in Europe: The “Post-Stockholm” Process[edit]

The third CESI@noon took place on 12 November 2013. The event was chaired by Yves Pascouau from the European Policy Centre. The debate on future of the security in Europe, with a focus on the role of workers in the sector, included contributions from Mr Telmo Baltazar, member of cabinet for Viviane Reding and the Director for Justice and Home Affairs in the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Mr Roland Genson. They were joined by Ms Floriana Sipala, Head of Unit from DG Home Affairs in the European Commission, and Mr Filippo Colombo, Justice and Home Affairs Coordinator for the Permanent Representation of Italy to the EU.[49]


  1. ^ Europolitics Interview with Klaus Heeger, 15 May 2013,
  2. ^ Trade Unions Federation of Education and Science of Albania (Affiliated to KSSH) website,
  3. ^ Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania website,
  4. ^ Fédération intercatégorielle Services Publics website,
  5. ^ Union Nationale des services publics,
  6. ^ Promyana Union website,
  7. ^ Nezavisni Sindikat Djelatnika Ministarstva Unutarnjih Poslova website,
  8. ^ Frie Funktionærer website,
  9. ^ Autonome Lokomotivführer-Gewerkschaften Europas website,
  10. ^ Air Traffic Controllers` European Union Coordination website,
  11. ^ European Federation of Public Service Employees website,
  12. ^ Union for Unity website,
  13. ^ Tullivirkamiesliitto- Tulljänstemannaförbundet website,
  14. ^ Alliance Police Nationale website,
  15. ^ Confédération Syndicale de l'Education Nationale website,
  16. ^ Fédération Autonome de la Fonction Publique Territoriale website,
  17. ^ Fédération générale Autonome des Fonctionnaires website,
  18. ^ Union Fédérale des Cadres des Fonctions Publiques-CGC website,
  19. ^ Christian Trade Union Federation website,
  20. ^ dbb beamtenbund und tarifunion website,
  21. ^ Deutscher BundeswehrVerband website,
  22. ^ Magyar Köztisztviselők, Közalkalmazottak és Közszolgálati Dolgozók Szakszervezete website,
  23. ^ Szakszervezetek Együttműködési Fóruma website,
  24. ^ Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Autonomi Lavoratori website,
  25. ^ Confederazione autonoma dei dirigenti, quadri e direttivi della pubblica amministrazione website,
  26. ^ Confederazione Generale dei Sindacati Autonomi dei Lavoratori website,
  27. ^ Latvijas Ārstniecības un aprūpes darbinieku arodbiedrība website,
  28. ^ Latvijas valsts iestāžu, pašvaldību, uzņēmumu un finanšu darbinieku arodbiedrība website,
  29. ^ Confédération Générale de la Fonction Publique website,
  30. ^ Fédération Générale de la fonction communale website,
  31. ^ CNV Publieke Zaak website,
  32. ^ Nederlandse Categoriale vakvereniging Financiën website,
  33. ^ Associação Nacional de Professores website,
  34. ^ União dos Sindicatos Independentes website,
  35. ^ Wolny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność Oświata website,
  36. ^ Confederatia Sindicala Nationala Meridian website,
  37. ^ ANPE Sindicato Independiente website,
  38. ^ Central Sindical Independiente y de Funcionarios website,
  39. ^ Federación de Asociaciones Sindicales website,
  40. ^ Vereinigung der Kader des Bundes website,
  41. ^ Zentralverband Öffentliches Personal Schweiz website,
  42. ^
  43. ^ Open consultations, European Commission website,
  44. ^ European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions website,
  45. ^ Promoting diversity within the Public Service in the European Union website,
  46. ^ The Public Service and the Integration of Migrants in the European Union Seminar website,
  47. ^ Euractiv Agenda press release,
  48. ^ CESI website press release,
  49. ^ CESI website,

External links[edit]