Tobacco workers were among the first to organize trade unions and to create an international organization in 1889.

Today across the tobacco sector’s global supply chains, the lack of labour rights creates many challenges including: retaliation against workers organizing trade unions; widespread use of child labour; long hours on poverty wages; unsafe working conditions; lack of access to health care and other social services; gender discrimination; exploitation of migrant workers; deforestation, pollution and other environmental damage.

Several multinational companies have divided the global market and are increasing their control across the supply chain including: Philip Morris International, Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International, Alliance One International and China Tobacco.

At the IUF Congress in 2017 the IUF affiliates decided to better address these challenges by building a Tobacco Workers’ Division within the IUF. Today tobacco workers are organizing globally within companies and across supply chains–from tobacco farms and plantations to manufacturing plants and distribution and marketing centers–in order to increase wages and social protections as well as to defend jobs during this period of massive technological restructuring and development of the new, smoke-free, nicotine products.

IUF Contact

Kirill Buketov

International Officer: Fisheries / Aquaculture & Tobacco

E: [email protected]

Key Developments

Turkey criminalizes union action with mass indictments of union leaders – Act Now! to defend trade union rights


The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up...

FLOC delegation brings tobacco farm workers’ human rights message to Europe and to BAT shareholders


Representatives from the IUF-affiliated Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) completed a 2 week European tour of meetings and protests targeting...

BAT must take responsibility for appalling conditions on tobacco farms in the US!


Reynolds American Incorporated (RAI) is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States (after Philip Morris) with annual profits of...

TEKEL workers continue their protest for 50 days and counting….


TEKEL - former state-owned tobacco company - workers from all over Turkey converged on Ankara on 15 December 2009 to...

TEKEL Workers Continue Their Protest in Ankara


The protest of TEKEL workers against the government’s sudden and arbitrary decision to shut down their workplaces continues into its...

UPDATE on TEKEL Workers Protest in Ankara


Workers, their family members and supporters have been demonstrating in near-freezing temperatures in protest against a snap government decision to...

Major Protest of Former Turkish Tobacco Monopoly Workers in Ankara


Some 10,000 workers, family members and supporters are currently demonstrating in Ankara in near-freezing temperatures in protest against a snap...