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Trade unions in Belgium

Belgium has 3 trade union confederations recognized as representative organisations: the ACV-CSC (Christian) with 1.700.000 affiliates, the ABVV-FGTB (Socialist) with approximately 1.000.000 and the ACLVB-CGSLB (Liberal)  with 240.000 members.  The ACV-CSC and ABVV-FGTB constitute the common trade union front for all important actions and negotiations.  

Trade union representativity  

Belgium Trade Union affiliation is one of the highest in the world: in the private sector 54 workers out of 100 are members of a Trade Union. More than half of them are members of the ACV-CSC.  

Social elections

Every 4 years social elections take place in the private sector. Workers and employees elect their trade union representatives in the Works' Council and the Work safety committee. The results also allow to determine representativity of the trade unions. Since the seventies, the ACV-CSC has regularly confirmed its majority position at the national level.

 Social dialogue

Belgium has an elaborated system of social dialogue at all levels (intertrade, sectorial and company) and in the different socio-economic fields (economic policy, social policy and occupational safety and health). Every two years, the social partners try to reach an intertrade agreement. In this agreement, measures about 'social progress' (wages, employment, training) are taken for active and non-active workers. The intertrade agreement is valid for the country's entire private sector. A system of control mechanisms and inspection, including labour courts, enables the effective implementation of agreements and regulatory systems.
A similar consultation is also found in the public sector.

As a social partner, the ACV-CSC is also represented in a number of other advisory and consultative bodies especially the management bodies of the social security system. 

As a result of the state reform, regional consultative structures with a mainly advisory role have been set up. Consultations with the regional governments regularly take place on matters of their competence. These negotiations have already led to tripartite agreements. 






Central Council for Trade and Industry /
Central Economic Development Board 

National Labour Council 

High council for work safety 


Trade boards 

Joint Industrial Committees / 
Joint Parity Committees 

Joint Industrial Committees / 
Joint Parity Committees 


Works' Council
Union Delegation 
Union Stewards'

Works' Council 
Union Delegation 
Union Stewards'

Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work 

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