Promoting the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining

The principle of freedom of association has been at the core of the ILO's values since 1919, but there continue to be challenges in applying these principles:

in some countries in the region certain categories of workers are denied the right of association, workers' and employers' organizations are illegally suspended or interfered with, and in some extreme cases trade unionists and representatives of employers are arrested or killed. ILO standards, in conjunction with the work of the Committee on Freedom of Association and other supervisory mechanisms, pave the way for resolving these difficulties and ensuring that this fundamental human right is respected.

In terms of awareness raising, the ILO provides support to the regional campaign on freedom of association, collective bargaining and self-reform of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas.

Technical assistance has focused on removing barriers to collective bargaining in the public sector, with significant results in Saint Lucia, where a three-year agreement on public wages was reached, and Colombia with the development of a specific decree and local-level bargaining processes, which led to 89 specific agreements in 2013.

Furthermore, Colombia created a specific committee for resolution of conflicts involving the ILO, adopted operating procedures, and appointed a mediator with tripartite consensus. This positive experience is being analysed and considered by other countries, such as Guatemala and Peru.

Brasilia Declaration on combating child labour through South-South cooperation

A dialogue between workers’ and employers’ organizations from Portuguese-speaking South-South countries to combat child labour in its worst forms

Brasilia Declaration on combating child labour through South-South cooperation (August, 2013)

In August 2013 workers and employers joined forces in Brasilia against child labour in its worst forms, culminating in the Brasilia Bipartite Declaration. This workshop was held as follow-up to the Maputo Ministerial Declaration (2013) and was organized by labour ministers from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), the Employers’ Confederation of the CPLP (CECPLP) and the Workers’ Organization of the CPLP (CSPLP).

In the lead up to the III Global Child Labour Conference, also held in Brasilia, 8-10 October 2013 and subsequent follow up to its ambitious roadmap, the Brasilia Bipartite Declaration outlines the action to be taken through South-South Cooperation in the fight to end the worst forms of child labour and achieve decent work for all.