The Right to Bargain Collectively in International Law: Workers' Right, Human Right, International Right?
This chapter describes the two different ways in which workers' rights to collective action have been conceived at the international level. The first form was through conventions promulgated by the International Labour Organization, which were aimed principally at protecting domestic labour rights in capitalist welfare states against competition from states that did not abide by these standards. The ‘second wave’ of international recognition came through the inclusion of labour-related rights (such as freedom of association) in international human rights instruments, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In these international legal instruments, labour rights became a subset of universal human rights (although as Macklem shows, the collective nature of labour rights did not always sit easily with the individualist interpretations dominant in the human rights field).
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