Friday, August 19, 2011

[EQ] ILO - Freedom of Association and Development

Freedom of Association and Development

 ILO - International Labour Organization 2011


Available online PDF [80p.] at:

“…..Freedom of association is a cornerstone of the ILO’s approach to development through decent work; namely, ensuring that all men and women have the ability to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.


In the ILO’s 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation, freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining were described as important pre-conditions for the attainment of decent work, which is now recognised as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG1), the international community’s blueprint for development.

Freedom of association refers to the right of workers and employers to create and join organisations of their choice freely and without fear of reprisal or interference. This includes the right to establish and affiliate to confederations and international organisations.


Linked to freedom of association is the right to collective bargaining, which allows workers to negotiate their working conditions freely with their employers. These rights are universal and apply irrespective of race, creed, religion, gender, occupation, nationality or political opinion. They apply to all workers and employers, including those in the informal economy who don’t usually have formal contracts of employment…..”


“…The final section of the publication considers how important stakeholders, including governments, trade unions, employers’organisations and international development actors, can promote respect for freedom of association and ensure that it results in fuller economic and social development….”



1. Introduction

What is freedom of association?

Why is freedom of association important for development?

What are the challenges?

What does this guide aim to contribute?

2. Inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction

Employment and labour market development

Fairer income distribution

Addressing inequality and social disadvantage

Listening to labour and business in the informal economy

Case Studies

Organising Informal Traders in Ghana

Organising workers in the informal economy in rural India

3. A positive business environment

Freedom of association and economic competitiveness

Better dispute resolution and reduced conflict

Productivity improvements

Skills development and training

Health and safety

Case Studies

HERO supermarkets: the benefits of good faith

Partnership for developing human resources: joint MESS-Turk Metal Training Project

Unionisation and Growth in Tarkwa Gold Mine: Ghana Mine

Workers’ Union and Goldfields Lt

4. Cooperation in times of crisis in times of crisis

National crisis measures

Collective negotiations

Responsible restructuring

Case Studies

Singapore: crisis recovery through tripartite cooperation

Crisis response in Chile

5. Strengthening democracy and governance

Strengthening public participation in policy processes

Participation in national development programming

Contributing to democratic transition

Building support for democracy at every level

Case Studies

Democratic transition in Poland

Ghana Trade Union Congress: Contributing to national policy debates

6. Challenges and opportunities: the role of governments, trade unions and employers


Workers’ and employers’ organisations

International development actors


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