Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tweet

[IWS] ITUC: THE RIGHT TO STRIKE AND THE ILO: THE LEGAL FOUNDATIONS [15 April 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

 

THE RIGHT TO STRIKE AND THE ILO: THE LEGAL FOUNDATIONS MARCH 2014 [15 April 2014]

http://www.ituc-csi.org/human-trade-union-rights/reports,162/the-right-to-strike-and-the-ilo

or

http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/ituc_final_brief_on_the_right_to_strike.pdf

[full-text, 122 pages]

 

ABSTRACT

In June 2012, the Employers’ Group brought the Committee on Application of Standards

(CAS) to a sudden, unexpected (and unprecedented) halt. Why? The Employers’ Group,

under new leadership in the CAS, decided to challenge the very existence of an international

right to strike, a right that had been recognised to exist in principle by all ILO constituents

(employers, workers and governments) for many decades. Equally as fundamental, the

Employers’ Group also challenged the competency of the ILO Committee of Experts on the

Application of Conventions and Recommendations (Committee of Experts) to interpret ILO

conventions – attempting to open a door to future challenges to other ILO conventions.

Rather than pursue the judicial options available to it under Article 37 of the ILO

Constitution, the Employers’ Group opted instead to hold hostage the ILO supervisory

system, withholding the consensus necessary to allow it to function, until the Employers’

Group’s demands were met. Such demands included a “disclaimer” to be affixed to the front

cover of the ILO Committee of Experts’ Annual Report and General Survey that would state

that the reports do not reflect the view of the tripartite constituents and therefore enjoy no

legal authority. These demands have not changed since 2012.

 

This brief, written by an expert legal panel, is intended to examine and rebut the central

legal arguments raised by the Employers’ Group in support of their position. It is the

authors’ hope that the arguments will inform the debate on the existence of the right to

strike in all relevant fora, including the ICJ, should that opportunity arise. The conclusion of

the analysis is that there simply is no question but that ILO Convention 87 protects an

international right to strike. Further, the ILO supervisory system, including the Committee of

Experts, has relied upon well-established methods of treaty interpretation to arrive at this

conclusion. Those methods could only lead to that conclusion. In line with its own

jurisprudence, the ICJ should give substantial deference to the observations of the

Committee of Experts. The right to strike is further buttressed by subsequent recognition of

the right to strike in international and regional treaty instruments and by the decisions of

regional and national courts; indeed, it must be concluded that the right to strike is now

recognised under customary international law.

 

If the Employers’ Group wishes to continue with its challenge on the right to strike, it has

two options under the ILO Constitution – to seek a referral of the matter by the ILO

Governing Body to the International Court of Justice for an Advisory Opinion (Article 37.1 of

the ILO Constitution) or agree to the establishment of an internal, independent tribunal to

provide for the expeditious determination of the “dispute or question” relating to the

interpretation of Convention 87 (Article 37.2). Failure on the part of the Employers’ Group

to agree to resolve this matter before an independent judicial body will be viewed as an

acceptance of the authors’ arguments and conclusions as correct. It will also be viewed as

illustrating the thesis of the Workers’ Group, which is that the Employers’ Group’s strategy

is to destabilise the ILO supervisory system and in so doing seek to force the adoption of

debilitating changes to fundamental labour rights.

Table of Contents

I. INTRODUCTION: THE EMPLOYERS’ CHALLENGE TO THE RIGHT TO STRIKE ............................................... 5

A. THE 2012 INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE ................................................................................................ 5

B. WHAT WERE THE EMPLOYERS’ GROUP’S CENTRAL ARGUMENTS? ........................................................................... 6

C. WHY NOW? .................................................................................................................................................. 7

D. 2012-2014 .................................................................................................................................................. 9

E. THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ) .................................................................................................... 10

II. THE ICJ AND THE ILO ............................................................................................................................ 111

III. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND THE RIGHT TO STRIKE ........................................................................ 13

A. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION IN THEORY ............................................................................................................. 13

B. THE RIGHT TO STRIKE AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING ........................................................................................... 15

IV. THE ILO AND THE RIGHT TO STRIKE ................................................................................................... 17

A. THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS AND THE CFA FIND THE RIGHT TO STRIKE ENSHRINED IN CONVENTION 87 ...................... 18

1. Committee of Experts .......................................................................................................................... 18

2. The Committee on Freedom of Association......................................................................................... 22

B. THE ILO CONSTITUTION................................................................................................................................. 23

1. CFA History .......................................................................................................................................... 24

2. CFA Jurisprudence ............................................................................................................................... 24

3. Commissions of Inquiry……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………26

C. THE RIGHT TO STRIKE IN SUBSEQUENT ILO INSTRUMENTS ..................................................................................... 27

V. ILO SUPERVISORY MACHINERY AND THE MANDATE TO “INTERPRET” ILO CONVENTIONS .................... 28

A. BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE SUPERVISORY SYSTEM ........................................................................................... 28

B. MANDATES OF ILO SUPERVISORY BODIES .......................................................................................................... 29

1. Committee of Experts .......................................................................................................................... 30

2. Conference Committee on the Application of Standards .................................................................. 331

3. Relationship Between Mandates ........................................................................................................ 34

C. INTERPRETATION OF CONVENTIONS .................................................................................................................. 35

D. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................................... 39

VI. THE RIGHT TO STRIKE OUTSIDE THE ILO ............................................................................................ 40

A. UNITED NATIONS. ........................................................................................................................................ 40

1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ....................................................... 40

2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ........................................................................... 44

B. EUROPEAN INSTRUMENTS .............................................................................................................................. 45

1. The European Convention on Human Rights ....................................................................................... 45

2. The European Social Charter ............................................................................................................... 53

a) Principles relating to the Right to Strike .......................................................................................................... 54

b) Scope of the Right to Strike ............................................................................................................................. 55

c) The Right to Strike and EU Law ........................................................................................................................ 57

3. The European Union ............................................................................................................................ 58

a) The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ........................................................................................................... 58

b) The ECJ/CJEU ................................................................................................................................................... 59

C. THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM ........................................................................................................................ 61

D. AFRICAN COMMISSION .................................................................................................................................. 65

VII. CONVENTION 87, THE RIGHT TO STRIKE AND THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF TREATIES 66

A. THE APPLICABILITY OF THE VCLT AND ITS RULES OF INTERPRETATION ...................................................................... 68

1. Retroactivity ........................................................................................................................................ 68

2. Material Scope .................................................................................................................................... 69

3. Personal Scope .................................................................................................................................... 69

4. VCLT Rules of Interpretation as Customary International Law ........................................................... 70

5. ILO Practice ......................................................................................................................................... 71

B. APPLICATION THE VCLT TO CONVENTION 87 ..................................................................................................... 74

1. Article 31 VCLT - General Rule of Interpretation ................................................................................. 74

a) “ordinary meaning” (Article 31(1) VCLT) ......................................................................................................... 74

b) “context”(Article 31(1) VCLT) .......................................................................................................................... 79

c) “any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or the

application of its provisions” (Article 31(3)(a) VCLT) ................................................................................................. 81

d) “any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which establishes the agreement of the parties

regarding its interpretation (Article 31(3)(b) VCLT) ................................................................................................... 82

e) “any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties” (Article 31(3)(c)

VCLT) ......................................................................................................................................................................... 83

f) “A special meaning shall be given to a term if it is established that the parties so intended” (Article 31(4)

VCLT) ......................................................................................................................................................................... 84

g) Further interpretation principles ..................................................................................................................... 85

2. Article 32 VCLT - Supplementary Means of Interpretation .................................................................. 86

a) Does the described meaning of Article 3 of C87 produce contradictory or impossible consequences or leads

to something unreasonable or absurd? .................................................................................................................... 86

b) Would the application of Article 32 VCLT change the situation?..................................................................... 87

3. Inadmissible “Creative interpretation”? .............................................................................................. 88

VIII. THE RIGHT TO STRIKE IS CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW ............................................................ 90

IX. CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................................................... 96

ANNEX I: CONVENTION 87 ............................................................................................................................. 98

ANNEX II: ILO SUPERVISORY MACHINERY .................................................................................................... 104

ANNEX III: VIENNA CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF TREATIES (VCLT) - RELEVANT SECTIONS ........................ 110

ANNEX IV: THE RIGHT TO STRIKE IN CONSITUTIONS OF THE WORLD ........................................................... 111

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 




Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?