Fresenius: unions launch first-ever global care workers’ alliance

In parallel with Fresenius’ annual general meetings of shareholders, trade unions will launch the Fresenius Global Union Alliance on 16 and 17 May in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Unions demand that the healthcare giant negotiates a Global Agreement to secure workers' rights in all its operations.

More than 50 workers and union representatives from Europe, North and South America and Asia will converge on 16 and 17 May in Frankfurt/Main, Germany – in parallel with Fresenius’ annual general meeting of shareholders. Fresenius directly employs around 280,000 workers in 100 countries.

The unions will launch the first international union network for a multinational healthcare corporation. Their aim is to negotiate a Global Framework Agreement with Fresenius to ensure that it respects fundamental rights of all employees in its operations worldwide. The 21 participating unions in the coalition are, in part, reacting to anti-trade union practices by Fresenius especially in the United States, Peru and South Korea.

The alliance is being coordinated by Public Services International (PSI) and UNI Global Union, two global union federations representing workers in public and private services.

Global Framework Agreements are negotiated between global unions and multinational companies. They protect the interests of workers across the operations of multinational companies, ensuring respect for international labour standards.

According to the unions, Fresenius has not always followed these labour standards. For example, in dialysis clinics of Fresenius Medical Care in the United States, union activists report a long, bruising anti-union campaign to stop workers from organizing to gain collective representation.


Based in Bad Homburg, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA is a German health care company providing products and services for dialysis, hospitals and clinics for inpatient and outpatient medical care. In addition, the company focuses on hospital management as well as on engineering and services for medical centers and other health care facilities. It has around 280,000 employees in more than 100 countries around the globe. In Germany, Fresenius Helios is the biggest hospital provider with more than 60,000 employees.

This article is also available in German