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USF Rules

USF Rules adopted by the 16th Federal Congress in Alicante: PDF

These Rules shall enter into force on 10th of May 2023. The Annex was updated by the 16th Congress, in Alicante on the 8th of May 2023. In case of dispute, only the French version is legally binding.


Article 1

There is hereby set up between the trade-union organisations of European and international bodies established in Europe who accede to these Rules a UNION SYNDICALE FEDERALE of the European and International Public Services (U.S.F.E.I.P.S.), hereinafter referred to as the ‘UNION’.

The UNION shall have its seat in Brussels. It shall be affiliated to the Public Services International (P.S.I.) and to the European Federation of Public Service Unions (E.P.S.U.) of the European Trade Union Confederation (E.T.U.C.) and shall adhere to the principles and objectives of the International Trade Union Confederation (I.T.U.C.).

Article 2 

The UNION shall be independent of all national and international institutions, governments, administrations, political parties and denominational or philosophical movements.

Article 3

Membership of the UNION may be on a geographical or institutional basis.

Should application for membership be made by a new organisation in a place of employment and in an institution where there already exists a member organisation, the application must have been approved in advance by the member organisation concerned.

Article 4 

The role and objectives of the UNION shall be in particular to:

(a) establish the main common principles governing action and fundamental demands by the UNION (internal and external solidarity, social rights, right to employment, trade-union rights, gender equality, stability of employment, human rights);
(b) maintain a constant flow of information on these fundamental principles to and from the member organisations and their membership base;
(c) administer the common means for action and consultation, including those of a legal or political nature, etc.;
(d) represent member organisations before the relevant bodies in defence of common fundamental interests (staff regulations, remuneration, negotiation rights, etc.);
(e) put in place methods to communicate and inform member organisations and their membership;
(f) coordinate and harmonise action by member organisations on all Community and/or international matters that are in common;
(g) maintain inter-union and international relations.

Article 5

The UNION shall establish links and coordinate its work with any non-member trade union organisation that pursues similar aims and in particular those whose members bring together staff of European and/or international bodies.

The Federal Committee may associate with the UNION any trade-union organisation that so requests. The decision thereon shall require a simple majority in the Federal Committee originating from at least five member organisations. The Federal Committee may terminate any such association under the same conditions.

In the event of a request for association by an organisation at a place of employment and in an institution where there is already a member organisation, the latter organisation must be consulted beforehand.

An associate organisation shall not pay membership fees and may participate at its own expense in the meetings of the Federal Committee and the Congress, without voting rights. The Federal Committee shall lay down the number of participants admitted from associated organisations, as well as all other detailed arrangements relating to the association.

The Federal Committee shall appoint the members and alternate members representing USF in international organisations, in particular the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), on the basis of proposals from the Federal Bureau.


Article 6

The bodies of the UNION shall be:

(a) the Congress

(b) the Federal Committee

(c) the Federal Bureau

(d) the Disputes Board

(e) the Audit Board.


Article 7

The Congress shall be the supreme body of the UNION. Its decisions shall be binding on all the member organisations and their members.

It shall be responsible, in particular, for:

(a) drawing up general guidelines for action by the UNION and its members;

(b) hearing reports on the situation in member organisations;

(c) approving the Rules of the UNION and any amendments thereto;

(d) approving, if necessary, the number of members of the Federal Committee and their distribution by member organisation (in the event of a change in the number of members);

(e) electing the Disputes Board and the Audit Board in accordance with Articles 19, 20 and 21, or delegating the power to do so to the Federal Committee;

(f) approving the written activity and financial management reports for the preceding period.

Article 8

The Congress shall meet at least every four years. The Congress shall be convened in special session on a decision of the Federal Committee taken by an absolute majority of the members thereof or at the request of a majority of the paid-up member organisations.

Article 9

The Congress shall be convened by the Federal Committee, which shall determine the venue, date and draft agenda. The draft agenda and the working documents shall be communicated to the member organisations two months in advance. They should send their comments at the latest 15 days before the date of the start of the meeting of the Congress. This time limit shall be reduced by the Federal Committee for special sessions, but may not be less than 10 days.

Article 10

The Congress shall comprise delegations from each member organisation of the UNION.

Each delegation shall have a number of mandates (votes), to be determined by applying a factor of three to the scale applicable to the outgoing Federal Committee. The names of delegates must be notified to the Federal Bureau at least 30 days prior to the Congress.[1] The Federal Committee may invite as observers any persons whose presence is deemed useful.

Delegates to the Congress may add points to the Agenda. The additions shall be adopted by a vote of delegates by simple majority.

[1] Member organisations may name an alternative member up until 7 days before the start of Congress.

Article 11

At its meeting which precedes the start of the Congress, the Federal Committee shall elect a mandates board comprising five members, which will have the task of verifying mandates and voting operations, in particular the election of the presidency bureau;

At the beginning of its proceedings the Congress shall:

(a) rule on the report and recommendations of the mandates board;

(b) proceed subsequently to elect the presidency bureau.


Article 12

The Federal Committee shall ensure the implementation of decisions and guidelines adopted by the Congress and the implementation of tasks conferred on it by these Rules. It shall ensure that these Rules are observed.

It shall be answerable to the Congress. It shall draw up the budget and monitor the implementation thereof. It shall elect from its members the Federal Bureau as provided for in Article 17.

Article 13

Each member organisation shall be represented on the Federal Committee. For this purpose each member organisation shall designate as many members and alternate members as it has seats to fill, in accordance with a weighting approved at each Congress and forming an integral part of these Rules in the Annex. The president, vice-presidents and general secretaries of each member organisation who are not appointed as delegation members may attend the meetings of the Federal Committee without voting rights and at the expense of their organisation.

Member organisations who are entitled to a single member may appoint two alternate members.

Article 14

Within 30 days of the ordinary Congress, member organisations shall notify the outgoing Federal Bureau of nominations for the renewal of the Federal Committee.

The member organisations may modify their nominations, by prior written notification to the Federal Bureau, while ensuring the greatest possible stability in their nominations. The modification shall take effect seven days after receipt of the notification.

The outgoing Bureau shall convene the inaugural meeting of the new Federal Committee within two months of the Congress.

On that occasion the Federal Committee shall elect from its members the new Federal Bureau.

An absolute majority of the members of the Federal Committee, coming from at least five member organisations, shall be required for the vote to be valid.

If this majority is not met, a second inaugural meeting shall be convened by the outgoing Federal Bureau between two and four weeks after the first meeting. If, during this second meeting, the majority is not met, the number of votes necessary for the vote to be valid shall be set at the majority of two-thirds of the members present, coming from at least five member organisations, provided that a majority of the members comprising the Federal Committee are present.

Article 15

Ordinary meetings of the Federal Committee shall take place at least three times a year and preferably once a quarter, on the initiative of the Federal Bureau.

Special meetings may be held at any time, at the request of at least one third of its members, on the initiative of the Federal Bureau, or at the request of a majority of the member organisations.  Notice of meetings shall be given at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting.

The Federal Committee may make valid deliberations only if a majority of its members are present.

It shall adopt its decisions by a simple majority of the members present. However, important decisions binding on all the member organisations shall in principle be taken only if at least five member organisations have approved them.

Article 15 bis

Acting by a majority of two thirds of its members, the Federal Committee may suspend relations with a member organisation until the following meeting of the Congress on the grounds of activities contrary to the UNION’s interests.

Before any such decision on suspension is taken, the organisation in question shall be informed of the reasons for suspending and must be given a hearing.

Each organisation may invoke the right to defend its particular interests, in so far as they are not contrary to trade union guidelines, Congress decisions or the Rules of the UNION. In that case the decision shall be suspended and submitted for arbitration to the Bureau which will propose a compromise to the Federal Committee.

If the dispute continues, the Bureau may submit it to the Disputes Board (Article 20).


Article 16 :

The Federal Bureau is the executive body of the UNION.

Article 17

The composition of the Federal Bureau must ensure as far as possible, a balanced representation of the various members of the USF, especially among community and non-community members.

The Federal Bureau consists of at least:

  • the Federal President,
  • the General Secretary
  • the Treasurer
  • the Deputy General Secretary
  • the Federal Vice-Presidents.

The number of members of the Federal Bureau may not exceed 11 members from the Federal Committee.

Article 18 :

The Federal Bureau shall represent the UNION towards the outside and for all legal matters. Valid representation in court shall be ensured by the joint signatures of the President and a member. In the absence of the President, validity in court may be provided by the joint signatures of three members of the Federal Bureau.

The Federal Bureau shall delegate the management of relations with the European Commission to a small group. The members of the small group shall be collectively responsible to the Federal Bureau and shall report to it at its meetings.

The minutes of the meetings of the Federal Bureau shall be sent for information to all members and alternate members of the Federal Committee following their adoption.


Article 19

A Disputes Board comprising at least five members of different member organisations shall be set up. The president shall be elected within the Disputes Board during its first meeting. Membership of the Disputes Board shall be incompatible with membership of the Federal Committee or the Audit Board.

The functioning of the Disputes Board shall be determined by rules of procedure which shall define in particular the rules governing litigation. The rules of procedure shall be adopted by the Disputes Board within three months of its election.

Article 20

Any dispute which has arisen at federal UNION level may be referred to the Disputes Board by any member organisation or by one of the bodies of the UNION. Its decisions, which shall be preceded by an attempt at conciliation, may give rise to an appeal to the Congress.


Article 21

The Audit Board shall be composed of three members from different member organisations, and if possible two alternate members. The Board’s task shall be to examine and audit at any time and at least once a year the accounts and cash position of the UNION. The Board shall report thereon each year to the Federal Bureau and will report to the Congress. Membership of the Audit Board shall be incompatible with membership of the Federal Bureau or the Disputes Board If the Board is unable to fully undertake its audit task, the Federal Bureau shall take the necessary steps to ensure that the task of auditing the accounts can be completed, in particular by replacing, even on a temporary basis, any member who is not performing their duties or is disqualified from doing so. The Federal Bureau will make a report to the Congress on any difficulties thus encountered.

Article 22

The financial year shall run from 1 January to 31 December.


Article 23

Organisations which intend to join the UNION must submit an application to the Federal Bureau, accompanied by their Rules, the minute of their adoption at a general meeting of members, the number of members and the names of their elected officers.

The Federal Bureau shall submit the application to join, together with an opinion, to the Federal Committee, who shall decide what action to take.

The decision of the Federal Committee must be ratified by the following Congress.

Once the decision has been made by the Federal Committee, the new member organisation acquires all its rights and obligations under these Rules.

Pending ratification by the Congress of its accession it shall be entitled to one member and two alternate members in the Federal Committee.

Article 24

Organisations which join the UNION shall pay a basic annual contribution, the amount of which shall depend on the respective number of members. The nominal amount per member shall be determined by the Federal Committee.

An additional contribution to expenditure actually incurred and pre-determined in the draft annual budget by the Federal Committee may be required of the member organisations.

The detailed rules for payment shall be established by the Federal Bureau, which shall draw up its financial regulation.

Article 25

(a) A member organisation which has not paid its subscription by the due date, may have the exercise of its rights within the UNION suspended by the Federal Committee until the following Congress meeting.

The organisation shall be informed of the reason for the decision.

The Federal Committee may temporarily exempt from payment of its subscription a member organisation which has cash-flow difficulties; such exemption may not exceed one year.

(b) An organisation shall cease to be a member of the UNION:

  1. by resignation notified to the Federal Bureau by recorded delivery;
  2. by expulsion by the Congress, on a proposal of the Federal Committee, for actions contrary to the UNION’s interests, or for failure to pay its subscriptions on time. In that case the procedure referred to in Article 15a and in point (a) above must be followed and, if it has already been applied for the purposes of suspension, must be repeated for the purposes of the Congress’s decision.

Article 25 bis

A member organisation which has been suspended pursuant to Article 15a or Article 25(a) shall not participate further in federal meetings and shall not be entitled to benefit further from federal resources.

However, where an organisation has been suspended pursuant to Article 25(a) the Federal Committee may accompany its suspension decision with an authorisation of the Bureau to invite it as observer, at its own expense and without voting rights, to all or some of the meetings of the Federal Committee if the Bureau considers that the organisation’s presence may make a contribution to the meetings.

A suspended organisation shall participate, on the other hand, in the following Congress, with its usual number of delegates, without voting rights, until expulsion.

Where the session of the Congress following suspension does not decide to expel the member organisation, it shall resume all its rights and obligations as member of the UNION.

Article 26

Member organisations shall be obliged to notify the Federal Bureau of any changes to their rules and to the composition of their official bodies within 15 days of the adoption of such changes.

They shall also be obliged to notify the Federal Bureau of the number of their members at least every year.

Article 27

Each member organisation shall remain responsible for its internal management and shall retain full autonomy in its action in defence of specific interests of its members within the framework of the guidelines, Congress decisions and UNION Rules.

Any general problem affecting all or some of its member organisations shall fall within the sphere of competence of the UNION and must be submitted to the Federal Committee for a decision. The Federal Committee shall determine within the Federal Bureau appropriate general guidelines for the implementation of the decision.

Agreements may, however, be made between member organisations in fields which specifically concern them.


Article 28

Voting on the appointment of persons shall be undertaken by secret ballot upon the request of a member of the body concerned.

Article 29

Any amendment to these Rules must be approved by the Congress by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

Article 30

The UNION may be dissolved on a proposal from the majority of three quarters vote of the Federal Committee and by decision of the UNION Congress taken by a three-quarters majority of the represented members. An extraordinary session of the Congress must be convened to that end.

The Congress decision to dissolve must involve the appointment of one or more liquidators, determine their powers and set the destination of the existing property.

Article 31

Liability of the UNION or its bodies is in all cases limited to the assets which belong to the UNION, excluding those of member organisations.

Article 32

These Rules of UNION SYNDICALE FEDERALE of the European and International Public Services have been approved by the Congress meeting in Alicante, Spain, on 6 to 9 May 2023. They into force the day after the Congress and amend the previous Rules approved at the Congress of Bratislava in June 2019.

In the event of divergence between the French and English versions of these Rules, only the French version shall be authentic.

Répartition des sièges au Comité fédéral

Organisations membres Sièges
1 Union Syndicale – Bruxelles 13
2 SUEPO – Den Haag 4
3 SUEPO – Berlin 2
4 SUEPO – Vienna 1
5 Union Syndicale Fédérale – Luxembourg 2
6 IPSO (Frankfurt) 3
7 USI (Union Syndicale Ispra) 1
8 Union Syndicale – Karlsruhe 1 p.m.*
9 Union Syndicale – Petten 1
10 Union Syndicale EPSU Fusion 1
11 Union Syndicale Eurocontrol France (USEF) 1
12 S.A.C.E. (Syndicat des Agents du Conseil de l’Europe) 1
13 Union Syndicale Parlement Européen 1
14 Union Syndicale Eurofound (Dublin) 1
15 Union Syndicale Cedefop (Thessaloniki) 1
16 Union Syndicale ETF (Torino) 1
17 Union Syndicale Institut Universitaire Européen (Florence) 1
18 Union Syndicale OSHA (Bilbao) 1
19 GDFJW – SOFAJ (Berlin –  Paris) 1
20 EPSU-CJ (Luxembourg) 2
21 Union Syndicale Eurojust (Den Haag) 1
22 Union Syndicale – EASA (Cologne) 1



(*)     The p.m. seats do not count for the calculation of the quorum as long as they are not effectively covered.