Updated June 7, 2001
Second Summit of the Americas
BASIC RIGHTS OF WORKERS
In the Santiago Declaration, Governments committed themselves to exchange labor legislation information and to promote core labor standards recognized by the International Labor Organization (ILO); namely, freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the prohibition of forced labor, the elimination of all exploitative forms of child labor, and non-discrimination in employment.
In their observance and promotion of internationally recognized core labor standards, Governments agreed to recognize the ILO as the authoritative body responsible for setting and dealing with these standards. Along with an aggreement to not use labor standards for protectionist purposes, a new Declaration of Principles on Fundamental Rights of Workers was also negotiated.
At the XI Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor, held in Santiago, Chile, on October 20 and 21, 1998, within the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), discussions were held on several labor-related matters such as the mandate concerning basic worker rights. Part of the information on this mandate can be found as part of the mandate for the modernization of the state in labor matters.
Briefly, the ideas addressed in this mandate include:
The creation of two Working Groups to provide follow-up on labor issues;
Issues to be discussed by the sub-groups "Modernization of Labor Ministries," "Modernization of the States Oversight Functions in the Area of Fundamental Worker Rights," and "Modernization of Labor Law;"
Information and analysis for the Ministries of Labor on different national approaches and practices in the region, institutional and legal instruments;
Innovative methodologies for promoting and monitoring observance of basic worker rights enshrined by the ILO;
Background information on national practices and various initiatives;
Effectiveness of judicial functions and procedures in the area of labor law; and
Experience with pretrial mechanisms, such as the various mediation systems existing in the region, will be evaluated.
In June 1999, the Labor Ministers' Working Group I on globalization of the economy and its social and labor dimensions, met in Lima, Peru, to discuss transformations in the structure and function of job markets and labor regimes; professional training and skill acquisition; assistance systems for unemployed workers; and principles for tackling the social dimension of integration processes, the adoption of basic labor rules, and procedures for ensuring their compliance.
The Ministers' Working Group II met in San José, Costa Rica in April 1999 analyzed a broad range of functions performed by labor ministries and concluded that changes had to be made in a number of areas.
Follow up to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor
On February 24-25, 2000, in Washington D.C., the Ministers of Labor of the hemisphere met for a two-day follow-up session of the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the OAS provided technical support to the meeting. The main objective of this meeting was to review the progress made in implementing the Plan of Action approved by the ministers in their 1998 meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile. However, Peru, as coordinator for Working Group I on "Economic Globalization and Its Social and Labor Dimensions", presented a document stressing the social dimension of integration processes. outlining the transformations undergone by labor markets and labor legislation, recommending reforms in training and vocational education, and arguing for the establishment of systems to assist unemployed workers, or workers changing jobs.
The second working group, coordinated by Costa Rica, presented a report on general labor administration topics, inspection systems, information and statistics systems, mechanisms for prejudicial settlement of labor disputes, dialogue between labor and management, and integration of special collectives in the labor market.
To follow-up on these proposals, the Chairman requested that a future meeting of the Advisory Committee be convened. This Committee will prepare specific projects for technical cooperation on nine different areas:
Finally, the ministers agreed to hold the XII Conference next year in Canada, and the XIII meeting in Brazil in 2003.
A Report on this meeting was prepared by CIDI.
The mandates and initiatives for worker's rights were reinvigorated and fortified at the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas. For more information on these mandates, and to continue with follow up activities in this area, please click here.
Updated June 7, 2001