A just transition for labour: how to enable collective voice from the world of work

Author/s Tonia Novitz
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/177-178
Language English Pages 19 P. 55-73 File size 256 KB
DOI 10.3280/GDL2023-177005
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This article addresses the ways in which domestic, regional and international collective labour norms may need to be revisited, if those at work are to have any meaningful voice in the design of "just transitions". It is argued that these transitions can be understood as dynamic pro-cesses, the outcomes of which cannot be simply pre-determined or their justice merely as-sumed. It therefore makes sense for associated procedures and mechanisms to be as inclusive as possible, representing interests of the wider “world of work” in the project of recrafting the manufacture of goods and delivery of services to meet environmental needs, including the re-duction of carbon emissions. Participatory engagement is likely to lead to better policy design, ensuring effectiveness and commitment. This approach also follows from appreciation of the dignity of labour and the legitimate concerns of those at work with the welfare of the commu-nities in which they work and live. Moreover, the nature of ecological harms require attention to not merely one locality (the workplace or the community) but potential for transborder ef-fects. The case for labour representation in just transitions is now accepted in many quarters, including the European Union (EU), and receives international recognition in the Paris Agreement, but is only likely to be realisable if national level collective labour law is changed accordingly. In Europe, that may require prompts from the International Labour Organization (ILO), but also the European Court of Human Rights. This article argues that an appropriate beginning for any process of revision and remodelling would have three dimensions. Firstly, I advocate addressing the identity of collective voice at work, reconsidering the legitimate objec-tives of collective bargaining and industrial action, and rethinking the methods by which col-lective voice can be exercised in the realisation of sustainable development. The potential im-plications of such changes are considered here.

Keywords: Work; Just transitions; Collective labour law; ILO; EU; European Court of Human Rights.

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Tonia Novitz, A just transition for labour: how to enable collective voice from the world of work in "GIORNALE DI DIRITTO DEL LAVORO E DI RELAZIONI INDUSTRIALI " 177-178/2023, pp 55-73, DOI: 10.3280/GDL2023-177005