The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan provides for freedom of labour movements and the formation and membership to unions. Many trade unions and workers’ associations are registered to advocate for a better work environment and resolve disputes. In 2017, the Ministry of Interior established labour laws that sought to mediate in labour-related disputes in order to protect workers’ rights and provide guidelines for employment in foreigner-operated organisations. Before these laws were established, South Sudan used the labour law of Sudan despite repeated lobbying by labour unions since 2010.
As of 2019, there are two vocal trade unions in South Sudan, the Employers Association of South Sudan (EASS) and the South Sudan Workers Trade Union Federation (SSWTUF). The two organisations started operations after independence, effectively replacing the former trade union established under the Sudan regime but they immediately faced many challenges. Their freedom has been drastically reduced during the years of civil war and industrial actions, such as strikes, have been suppressed with violence. Similar acts have since discouraged citizens’ participation in civil actions. The two trade unions seek to negotiate and mediate disputes between employers and employees.
Other trade unions like the South Sudan Women Union have been on the forefront advocating for gender inclusion in governance.