About us

In a nutshell

The European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) is a European organisation, made up of trade union organisations from European Union Member States as well as accession states. With no political affiliations, CESI represents over 5 million affiliates, promoting better living and working conditions, as well as improving the European social dimension.

Since 2005, CESI has been a recognised European social partner and, in this capacity, is regularly consulted within the framework of social dialogue at European level. Founded in Brussels in 1990, CESI has continued to grow and to attract new members. In 2014, CESI now represents 41 trade unions in 28 EU and accession states. CESI aims at protecting and promoting better working and living conditions at European level, as well as stimulating and encouraging the development of European social dimension.

A closer look at CESI’s ethos

All workers count

At the core of CESI’s values is its independence. Through its independence and its open, inclusive policy, CESI gives a voice to those workers who would otherwise not have a voice in European policies and in European social dialogue. CESI gives these people a voice because all workers count.

Public services work

CESI is proud that many of its members are representative in the public sector. Public services are an integral part of society. Public services are there to protect citizens when they need help. Public services are the foundations for citizen well-being. Now more than ever, during this difficult economic climate, public services have been seen to do the job they were set out to do. Public services work.  But we need public services workers to work effectively. By keeping the public sector filled with high quality staff and by fighting against a public sector blame culture, CESI works for public services, in the public interest.

Closing the gap

CESI exists to reduce a gap between independent unions in the EU and decision makers and policymakers in Brussels whose work impacts on workers’ daily lives. The European Union is becoming an ever more important decision-making level. By closing the gap, CESI give its members the opportunity to operate beyond national boundaries. CESI closes the gap between national and European policy. CESI closes the gap between different countries. CESI closes the gap by including workers who would otherwise be stripped of any voice at EU level.

CESI policy areas

CESI is active in all European policy issues that have an impact on workers and citizens. CESI’s policy expertise extends to:

Employment and Social Affairs

Equal Rights and Non-discrimination

Youth employment

Central Administration and Finances

Local and regional Administration

Security and Justice

Education, Training, Research


Post and Telecoms




Europe Academy

Through various seminars organised by its training center, the CESI Europe Academy, and funded in large part by European Union funds, CESI develops the skills, knowledge and know-how of its members on various aspects of European policies and legislation.