The International Labour Office has become the first United Nations agency to recognise a trade union as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
The ILO, which is responsible for drafting conventions on minimum labour standards around the world, recognises its staff union for the first time in the agreement, which was accepted by the governing body at the end of March and came into force on 1 April. The agreement also sets out procedures for negotiations and settling disputes.
The change in approach coincides with the appointment of ILO HR director Alan Wild, last October.
David Dror, chairman of the staff union, said an atmosphere of distrust between the ILO's administration and 3,000 staff had made it essential to shake things up at the UN's oldest agency.
"The first collective agreement sets the hopes that partnership in action can improve the climate and the way we do business in the ILO and hence the way ILO serves its constituents and advances the organisation's objectives," said Dror.