The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) publishes today its annual conclusions for 2014 showing 252 violations of the European Social Charter, a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights in the social and economic field, across 41 Council of Europe member states. The ECSR adopted 725 conclusions on the articles of the Charter relating to labour rights: the right to just conditions of work (Article 2), the right to a fair remuneration (Article 4), the right to organise (Article 5), the right to bargain collectively (Article 6), the right to information and consultation (Article 21) also in collective redundancy procedures (Article 29), the right to take part in the determination and improvement of working conditions (Article 22), the right to dignity at work (Article 26) and the right of workers’ representatives to protection in the undertaking (Article 28).
There were 338 conclusions of conformity, whereas the number of “deferrals” (cases where the Committee was unable to assess the situation due to lack of information) amounted to 135 cases. The Committee received comments from some national trade unions and employers’ organisations (Spain, Finland, Sweden, Greece and Georgia).
Europe restarts in Turin
The year 2014 was marked by the high-level international conference on the European Social Charter, organised in Turin on 17 and 18 October, which paved the way to what has become known as the “Turin Process”.
The main aim of the event was to bring together European policy-makers and reaffirm the importance of social rights in times of crisis. The Conference provided a focal point for the reinforcement of the Charter as a key instrument for a true social constitution for Europe.
The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty signed in Turin on 18 October 1961 which safeguards day-to-day freedoms and fundamental rights: housing, health, education, employment, legal and social protection, freedom of movement for individuals, non-discrimination. The substance of the Charter was supplemented by a revised version of 1996.
The European Committee of Social Rights is a body composed of 15 independent and impartial members. It rules on the conformity of the law and practice of the States Parties with the Charter. The Committee has two procedures to ensure that States Parties comply with their commitments under the Charter: national reports and collective complaints. In the framework of the reporting procedure it adopts “conclusions” and in respect of the collective complaints procedure it adopts “decisions”. A Protocol opened for signature in 1995, which came into force in 1998, allows national and international trade union organisations, employers’ organisations and non-governmental organisations to submit to the Committee their complaints about violations of the Charter.