International Promises and Domestic Pragmatism: To What Extent Will the Employment Relations Act 1999 Implement International Labour Standards Relating to Freedom of Association
Posted: 10 Oct 2000
This paper explores the rhetoric and reality surrounding implementation of international labour standards in the Employment Relations Act 1999. It focuses on UK commitments relating to freedom of association and considers whether the new legislation goes any significant way towards their fulfilment. The paper begins by outlining obligations which arise from a state's membership of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and ratification of ILO Conventions. It then goes on to examine indications that, since the change of government in 1997, there has been a significant shift in UK policy relating to such international obligations. The remainder of the paper examines reforms made by the Employment Relations Act to trade union recognition, protection of strikers from dismissal and prevention of anti-union discrimination. It emerges that the Third Way proposed by the present Labour Government entails a complicated detour from the path of full compliance with ILO standards.
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