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ISTAS (Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health)

Address :
C/General Cabrera, 21
E-28020   Madrid


Contact person :
Silvina Rabach

Short description


ISTAS was founded in 1996 by Spanish Trade Union "Comisiones Obreras" (CC.OO.) and is part of a collective effort to achieve a society of free and equal citizens based upon solidarity, fair social progress and environmentally sustainable development.

ISTAS is a technical and scientific organization and it works in conformity with the following principles:

  • Service to workers
  • Technical and scientific accuracy
  • Technical and operative self-management
  • Correspondence with Spanish Trade Union "Comisiones Obreras" (CC.OO.) goals and strategies

ISTAS’ legal status is that of a non-profit, self-managed labour foundation supported by Spanish Trade Union "Comisiones Obreras" (CC.OO.), under the authority of the Ministry of Labour. Registration data can be reviewed in the document: Legal and Fiscal Identification.

Guidelines, work plans, accounts, financial statements and management of the foundation are supervised by a Board of Directors that also sets the priorities and tasks and approves budgetary assignments.

Areas of expertise and competencies

ISTAS offers technical advisory and assistance to the TUC CC.OO., both at national directing boards and regional organizations levels. It works in close cooperation with trade union’s health and safety and environmental managers and experts in both national and regional boards.

ISTAS cooperates in its field of expertise with the following CC.OO. foundations and organisations:

  • FOREM (Foundation for Training and Employment) and the National CC.OO. Union Training Centre (with respect to training programmes);
  • Foundation “Peace and Solidarity” for international cooperation projects and support to trade union organisations in Africa, Latin America and Asia;
  • And with the Foundation “Primero de Mayo” for research on the new challenges faced by trade unions.

ISTAS also cooperates with the International Labour Foundation for Sustainable Development SustainLabour.

ISTAS performs different tasks to support CC.OO. actions:

  • Advisory in the preparation of meetings and documents to be submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health care, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Industry and Energy, as well as for the advisory bodies, particularly the National Commission for Health and Safety at Work, the Environmental Advisory Council and the National Climate Council.
  • Drafting of documents and protocols for union action
  • Participation in EU work committees
  • Participation in international meetings and debates in the line of CC.OO. cooperation initiatives, especially in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

ISTAS intensifies trade union representatives' capability especially that of health and safety reps. Given the role of safety reps and the rights they are entitled to by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (LPRL), a great part of ISTAS' activity has focused on providing information, training and advisory to safety reps as well as the necessary tools for trade union intervention at the workplaces.

ISTAS is also developing new instruments and resources to support new forms of representation adopted by some regional and sectoral agreements, like the environmental reps.

Examples of this support materials are the following publications: Trade union guide for safety reps, Health and Safety at the Workplace, Trade union guide for intervention on chemical risks at the workplace, Work Organisation, Health and Psychosocial risks: A Trade Union Guide.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

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Publications, language, newsletter

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Other networks the institute is participating in

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