Freedom of association

Country Information & Practical Advice on Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining: BANGLADESH

By | Bangladesh, Collective Bargaining, Freedom of Association, Social dialogue


Freedom of Association (FoA) and Collective Bargaining (CB) are covered by two ILO core Conventions. Brands are Expected to respect these rights. This factsheet contains the most important information about FoA and CB in Bangladesh and provides practical tools for brands to get started. 

In addition, CNV International has developed a general factsheet about this topic. 

For the original source, click here 

What is Freedom of Association?

By | Uncategorized

What is Freedom of Association?

Freedom of Association (FoA) is the right of workers to join and form trade unions or organizations of their choosing. FoA is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It includes the right to freedom of assembly, association, and trade union membership.

This means that:

  • Workers can form and join trade unions of their own choosing.
  • Unions have the freedom to function independently.
  • Elections and the duties of union representatives are free of interference.
  • Independently elected worker representatives should not fear intimidation, harassment, or reprisals. They are the measure of how freely workers can express and contribute to their industry or workplace through formal structures such as collective bargaining.
  • Workers and employers can be formally represented in negotiations to arrive at solutions for improving working conditions.
  • FoA also applies to workers in the informal sector (those not working under employment contracts).

It is important to note that FoA also applies to an employer’s right to join organizations of their choosing!

The Palestinian Decent Work Programme 2018-2022

By | Case-study, Palestina


This publication details the Palestinian Decent Work Programme as instituted by the ILO. Part of this programme is the strengthening of social dialogue through increased and enhanced bipartite and tripartite social dialogue for various sectors, especially construction. Priority II details this further, mentioning three goals of strengthening social dialogue: ensuring alignment with human rights treaties, improve freedom of association and representative decision-making and enhance labour inspections through database and grievance mechanisms establishment.

For the original source, please click here

Palming off responsibility – Labour rights violations in the Indonesian palm oil sector

By | Case-study, Indonesia, Social dialogue

The case studies in this research describe how two RSPO-certified palm oil companies structurally violate the labour rights of their workers. In both cases, workers are forced to work unpaid overtime in order to reach unrealistic production targets. Furthermore, these targets have motivated workers to bring their wives and children to work, thus giving rise to child labour. Other rights violations found in the field research included union busting, workers never receiving employment contracts, inadequate PPE provision and inadequate medical services. Thus, many workers’ rights violations were found that breach the RSPO standard, international law, Indonesian law, or all of the above.

This report provides a brief discussion of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Indonesia, in an attempt to showcase some of the pitfalls that hamper this process. Two of these are uncertainty over whether Indonesia has a monist or a dualist legal system, and organisational and political issues with developing the country’s National Action Plan. The lack of implementation and enforcement of the UNGPs in Indonesia are illustrated by the company case studies, and the company’s violations of rights enshrined in UN conventions, such as children’s right not to work.

Furthermore, the international standing and reputation of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is discussed. Dutch companies that use palm oil in their products have joined the RSPO in an attempt to make their palm oil supply chains more sustainable and to ensure that the palm oil they buy has taken place free of labour rights violations and environmental degradation, among other criteria. NGO reports show that, at least on an incidental basis, the RSPO certifies palm oil produced by companies that commit exactly the types of human rights and environmental violations that motivated the creation of the RSPO.

Although further research would be needed to underwrite such a sweeping statement about the RSPO, the case studies presented in this report show that RSPO certification is not necessarily an assurance of sustainable palm production, and thus give cause for scepticism towards the initiative. Companies should therefore not depend solely on certification, but should undertake their own supply chain due diligence to ensure their business partners do not commit labour and human rights violations, so that they can safeguard their own compliance with the UNGPs.

For the original source, please click here.


Vietnam country study: Labour Standards in the Garment Supply Chain

By | Case-study, Social dialogue


The present country study on Vietnam, has been carried out in June 2016 for CNV Internationaal in the context of the
Partnership for Supply Chain Transformation. It is based on desk and original research on the current status of the industry structure, social dialogue, gender-based violence and living wage debates in the apparel industry in Vietnam for use in the first phase of this project.

The Fair Wear Foundation with its alliance partners CNV Internationaal and FNV Mondiaal has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation starting 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework. The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of Trade Unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international RMG supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. Opportunities will be identified to develop pilot experiences in the supply chain resulting in good practices related to living wages, gender-based violence and freedom of association and collective bargaining, which will facilitate more effective social dialogue and monitoring of human rights compliance at the factory level and reinforce the value of NGOs and trade unions to all supply chain stakeholders.


For the original source, please click here.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By | Social dialogue

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.   To see the original document, click here.


The Freedom of Association Protocol A localised Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanism for Workers’ Rights in Global Supply Chains

By | Indonesia, Social dialogue

This report is part of a series produced by the Non-Judicial Human Rights Redress Mechanisms project, which draws on the findings of five years of research. The findings are based on over 587 interviews, with 1,100 individuals, across the countries and case studies covered by the research. Non-judicial redress mechanisms are mandated to receive complaints and mediate grievances, but are not empowered to produce legally binding adjudications. Te focus of the project is on analysing the effectiveness of these mechanisms in responding to alleged human rights violations associated with transnational business activity. The series presents lessons and recommendations regarding ways that:

  • non-judicial mechanisms can provide redress and justice to vulnerable communities and workers
  • non-government organisations and worker representatives can more effectively utilise the mechanisms to provide support for and represent vulnerable communities and workers
  • redress mechanisms can contribute to long-term and sustainable respect and remedy of human rights by businesses throughout their operations, supply chains and other business relationships.

The Non-Judicial Human Rights Redress Mechanisms Project is an academic research collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the University of Newcastle, RMIT University, Deakin University and the University of Essex. The project was funded by the Australian Research Council with support provided by a number of nongovernment organisations, including CORE Coalition UK, HomeWorkers Worldwide, Oxfam Australia and ActionAid Australia. Principal researchers on the team include Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Dr Tim Connor, Dr Annie Delaney, Prof Fiona Haines, Dr Kate Macdonald, Dr Shelley Marshall, May Miller-Dawkins and Sarah Rennie. The project was coordinated by Dr Kate Macdonald and Dr Shelley Marshall. Te reports represent independent scholarly contributions to the relevant debates. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the organisations that provided support. This report is authored by Tim Connor, Annie Delaney and Sarah Rennie. Correspondence concerning this report should be directed to Tim Connor, tim.connor@newcastle.edu.au.   To see the original document, click here.


Social Dialogue in Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan: Regulations and Realities of Social Dialogue

By | Jordan, Morocco, Social dialogue, Tunisia

This report was commissioned by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission and carried out by the ITC-ILO. It is an input to the tripartite ad hoc work group on social dialogue, which was set up in the framework of co-operation on employment under the Union for the Mediterranean. The objective of the report is to provide a factual analysis of the present state of social dialogue in three selected countries: Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. The report is based on desk research and interviews with high level actors in social dialogue, and external observers and academics.