Edited by Alan Bogg, Cathryn Costello and A. C.L. Davies
Chapter 7: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 signalled an important constitutional moment for EU labour law. The inception and development of a new Treaty had been a difficult and, at times, tortuous process. Although many commentators with an interest in future social integration were somewhat disappointed with the compromised nature of the resulting text, there was, nevertheless, a glimmer of hope in the formalisation of the EU’s commitment to human rights. Two important new constitutional provisions: the EU’s undertaking to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the granting of constitutional status ‘equal to that of the Treaties’ to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (CFR), stimulated much speculation regarding the developing relationship between international human rights standards and EU labour law. Fundamental human rights have long occupied an important place in the international labour law framework. Alongside the ECHR, which itself has clear application in the context of labour law, the Council of Europe adopted the European Social Charter in 1961 which was the first international treaty to expressly recognise the right to strike. The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Constitution focuses on the right of freedom of association with subsequent ILO instruments stressing other fundamental rights such as the right to non-discrimination– a commitment which was renewed in 1998 by the ILO’s adoption of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
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