Pushback Against Supervisory Systems: Lessons for the ILO from International Human Rights Institutions
20 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 29 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 28, 2019
The ILO supervisory system, which has reviewed compliance with international labor standards for nearly all of the organization’s 100-year history, is widely hailed as cornerstone of its institutional architecture. In 2012, however, the employer representatives challenged the longstanding position of ILO expert bodies that Convention No. 87 on freedom of association implicitly protects the right to strike. The resulting “crisis of tripartism” has raised questions about the proper interpretation of international labor law and the future competences of ILO monitoring mechanisms.
This chapter, a contribution to a forthcoming edited volume on the centenary of the ILO, offers a wider perspective on these events. It begins by analyzing how states and non-state actors have pushed back against the treaty monitoring bodies created by UN human rights conventions. The chapter then compares the similarities and differences between pushback against human rights treaty bodies and challenges to ILO expert committees over the right to strike. The chapter concludes by highlighting ongoing UN and ILO initiatives aimed at strengthening international supervisory systems.
Keywords: ILO, international monitoring mechanisms, international labor law, human rights, treaty bodies, supervisory system, pushback, backlash, expansive interpretation
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