Trade Unions

Freedom to Join and Form a Union

Constitution and labour law provide for freedom of association and allow workers and employers to join and form unions.  This right is regulated by the Workers' Trade Union Act. Certain categories of workers are prohibited to form a trade union or federation. These include: any disciplined force including the army, police, prisons, fire brigade and wild life forces; National security forces; Constitutional post holders; Judges and justices; Public Attorneys and Legal Advisors; and Senior members of the diplomatic service.


An employer shall not, for reasons related to a worker's activity in the Worker's Union or Federation, dismiss, downgrade, compulsory retire or take any other action in relation to theworker that is prejudicial to the worker.

An employer shall not: offer any worker any assistance, whether financial, educational or any other kind, for the purpose of enticing that worker to join or not to join any Union.


Source: §25 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011; §6 & 28 of the Workers' Trade Union Act, 2013

Freedom of Collective Bargaining

Right to collective bargaining is not provided under the Constitution or Labour Bill. The Labour Bill has only one provision regarding (collective) agreements. It says that the period of continuance in force has to be included in the agreement, provided that it shall not exceed three years unless the agreement deals with fixing of wage and working hours in such case the period may extend to a period not exceeding five years


Sources: §109 of Labour Bill, 2011

Right to Strike

Right to peaceful strike is not recognized under the constitution or Labour Bill.  Where a dispute is not settled amicably within the period referred to under the Labour Bill, it is referred to an arbitration body for a decision without requesting the permission of the two parties to the dispute. The decision of the arbitration committee is final and may not be subject to appeal.


Workforce and official are prohibited from stoppage of work whether total or partial and no employer shall close up the place of work whether totally or partial by reason of a trade dispute in the following cases: before entering into negotiation; immediately after any party applies for mediation; during mediations proceedings; immediately after the decision of the Governor to refer dispute to arbitration; during arbitration proceeding; and after the issue or the announcement of the award of the arbitration tribunal.

Sources: §103-122 of Labour Bill, 2011

Regulations on Trade Unions

  • Labour Act, 2017
  • Constitution of South Sudan, 2011