Table of Contents

Global Governance of Labour Rights

Global Governance of Labour Rights

Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke

This insightful book incorporates perspectives from several disciplines to provide a unique systematic analysis of emerging public and private initiatives in global labour rights governance. The expert contributors explore the complexities of labour rights governance in a global economy characterized by transnational supply chains. They assess how transnational, intergovernmental and private initiatives aim to address the challenges of global labour rights protection before discussing the effectiveness of these initiatives and presenting new empirical findings. The book concludes with a detailed reflection on how to strengthen the global regime of labour rights governance.

Chapter 2: The protection of international labour rights: a longitudinal analysis of the protection of the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining over 30 years in 73 countries

Axel Marx, Jadir Soares and Wouter Van Acker

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, labour, employment law, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, human rights, regulation and governance


Since its creation in 1919, The International Labour Organization (ILO) has introduced a system of international labour standards aimed at ‘promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity’. During this long path, many standards related to labour rights have been developed. The ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) covers the core rights and standards laid down in four principles and eight conventions. These principles are: (1) freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; (2) elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; (3) effective abolition of child labour; and (4) elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The importance of these rights was reiterated in the 2004 report by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG), A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities For All, which stated ‘There is wide international agreement on the essentials which we must all urgently strive for . . . a vibrant civil society, empowered by freedom of association’ (p. xii).

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