EU Policies and Approaches
Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens
Chapter 7: Does integrating labour provisions in free trade agreements make a difference? An exploratory analysis of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights in 13 EU trade partners
The chapters in this section discuss how the protection of environmental and human rights issues are increasingly integrated into trade agreements concluded by the European Union (EU). Many of these measures are of a more recent nature and the question of whether they are effective is still unresolved. Campling et al. (forthcoming) recently argued that there is currently very little research available on the effectiveness of the existing provisions and have proposed a research agenda to fill this gap. One barrier to a systematic assessment of the impact is data availability (ILO, 2013). Relatively little data is available to assess to what degree human rights and, more specifically, labour standards have been protected. Several general human rights indicators and indexes exist, such as Freedom House and the Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights indicators, but these indicators and indexes are not always suitable to assess the impact on the protection of labour rights (Kucera, 2001, 2002; Mosley, 2011; Marx, Soares and Van Acker, 2015). As a result, additional data needs to be gathered to make an assessment of the impact of trade agreements on the protection of labour rights. This chapter aims to contribute to this effort by focusing specifically on the protection of freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) rights in a selected number of countries with which the EU has signed a free trade agreement which includes provisions on the protection of labour rights.
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