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(The Right to) Strike and the International Labour Organization

1 May, 2014
FES publication
Is the System for Monitoring Labour and Social Standards in Trouble?

Mai 2014
  • At the 2012 International Labour Conference (ILC), employers blocked the adoption and discussion of a list of countries accused of the most serious violations of interna¬tional labour and social standards according to the annual report by the Committee of Experts. The discussion of this list, the "naming and shaming" associated with it in the ILC Conference Committee and ensuing recommendations for actions for the respective countries constitute a key element in the monitoring of ILO standards, which was in this case completely disabled.
  • On the surface employers are disputing whether the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO), in particular Convention no. 87, can be interpreted as providing a right to strike. Above and beyond this, however, they have questioned the Committee of Experts’ mandate and latitude of authority.
  • The resolution of the dispute will stake out the direction of the ILO in the future and decide what opportunities will be available to effectively ensure compliance with international labour and social standards, including in free trade agreements. It would be desirable for the International Labour Conference to issue an explicit statement expressly conceding the Committee of Experts the power to bindingly interpret ILO standards.

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