Base code clause 2: Freedom of association

2.1 Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.

2.2 The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.

2.3 Workers representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.

2.4 Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.

Relevant ILO conventions

C87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948

The right of workers to join a trade union of their choice is a key principle for the ILO and is enshrined in this Convention. The right to freedom of association also includes the right to independence from government and employer interference and the right for trade unions to elect officials and organise their own affairs. Freedom of association has also been held to cover (with some exceptions for the public sector and emergency situations) the right to strike.

C98 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949

This Convention provides for protection against anti-union discrimination, for protection of workers' and employers' organisations against acts of interference by each other, and for measures to promote and encourage collective bargaining.

Also relevant:

  • C135 - Workers' Representatives Convention, 1971
  • R143 - Workers' Representatives Recommendation, 1971
  • C154 - Collective Bargaining Convention, 1981