Convention (No. 87) concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organise

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The Convention (No. 87) concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize is an international labor standard adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It was adopted in 1948 and is one of the fundamental conventions of the ILO.

The convention is designed to protect the rights of workers and employers to establish and join organizations of their own choosing, without interference from the government or employers. It upholds the principles of freedom of association and the right to organize, which are essential for the effective functioning of independent trade unions and employers’ organizations.

Key provisions of Convention No. 87 include:

  1. Freedom of Association: Workers and employers have the right to establish and join organizations of their own choosing, without any prior authorization. These organizations should be free from interference by public authorities or employers.
  2. Protection against Anti-union Discrimination: Workers should be protected against any acts of discrimination aimed at curtailing their rights to join or establish trade unions. Employers should not discriminate against workers based on their union membership.
  3. Protection of Union Activities: Workers’ and employers’ organizations should have the right to carry out their activities freely and without undue interference. This includes the right to organize meetings, hold elections, and engage in collective bargaining.
  4. Protection against Interference: Public authorities and employers should not interfere with the establishment, functioning, or administration of workers’ and employers’ organizations.
  5. Tripartite Consultation: Governments should promote effective social dialogue among workers’ and employers’ organizations and the government itself. This dialogue should cover issues related to economic and social policies affecting the interests of workers and employers.

The Convention emphasizes the importance of respecting and promoting freedom of association and the right to organize as fundamental principles of democratic societies. It sets out the obligations of member states to ensure these rights are respected and implemented through appropriate laws and measures.

It is worth noting that the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 87 vary across countries, and not all countries have ratified it. However, it remains a significant international standard for the protection of workers’ rights and the promotion of social dialogue.

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