Ensuring freedom of association for workers

Facilitating formation of trade unions
Upholding trade union rights
Asserting trade union rights
Guaranteeing workers rights to organise
Ensuring rights of workers to freedom of association and to organize
The number of complaints concerning infringements has stabilized, although their complexity continues to increase. This can be attributed to: continuing government interference in the collective bargaining process; attempts at labour market deregulation by both employers and governments; attempts to limit the right to strike; and increased regulation of the internal affairs of trade unions.
ILO acts to achieve fuller and more widespread observance of international labour standards and principles relating to freedom of association by workers and trade union rights. Complaints, concerning alleged infringements of standards and principles, are received and formally processed by an ILO [Governing Body Committee on Freedom of Association].

Article 5 of the European Social Charter (Revised) (Strasbourg 1996) provides: With a view to ensuring or promoting the freedom of workers and employers to form local, national or international organisations for the protection of their economic and social interests and to join those organisations, the Parties undertake that national law shall not be such as to impair, nor shall it be so applied as to impair, this freedom. The extent to which the guarantees provided for in this article shall apply to the police shall be determined by national laws or regulations. The principle governing the application to the members of the armed forces of these guarantees and the extent to which they shall apply to persons in this category shall equally be determined by national laws or regulations.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

For workers and their trade unions to play a full and informed role in support of sustainable development, governments and employers should promote the rights of individual workers to freedom of association and the protection of the right to organize as laid down in ILO conventions. Governments should consider ratifying and implementing those conventions, if they have not already done so.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal