Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining
Freedom of association is the right of workers and employers to organize to defend their interests, including for the purpose of negotiating salaries, benefits, and other conditions of work. It is a fundamental right that underpins democratic representation and governance.
Collective bargaining is an essential element of freedom of association. It helps to ensure that workers and employers have an equal voice in negotiations and provides workers the opportunity to seek to improve their living and working conditions. Effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining can contribute to economic development and growth by increasing certainty and stability in the workplace and improving labor-management relations. Read More about freedom of association and collective bargaining
The ILO's recommendations and conventions help define these rights and provide guidance on how they can be most effectively protected. The ILO's fundamental convention on freedom of association (No. 87, adopted in 1948) says that workers and employers alike have the right to:
- establish and join organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization;
and that these organizations have the right to:
- draw up their own rules, elect their own representatives, and organize their programs and activities freely;
- not be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority; and
- establish and join federations and confederations, which may in turn affiliate with international organizations of workers and employers.
The ILO's fundamental convention on the right to organize and collective bargaining (No. 98, adopted in 1949) says that:
- workers shall be protected against acts of anti-union discrimination;
- workers' and employers' organizations shall be protected against acts of interference by each other; and
- governments shall encourage and promote voluntary collective bargaining to regulate terms and conditions of employment.