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TITLE:  APPENDIX B (WORKER RIGHTS), HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT, 1993
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                           APPENDIX B

                   Reporting on Worker Rights

The Generalized System of Preferences Renewal Act of 1984 
requires reporting on worker rights in GSP beneficiary countries.  
It states that internationally recognized worker rights include 
"(A) the right of association; (B) the right to organize and 
bargain collectively; (C) a prohibition on the use of any form of 
forced or compulsory labor; (D) a minimum age for the employment 
of children; and (E) acceptable conditions of work with respect 
to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and 
health."  All five aspects of worker rights are discussed in a 
final section under the heading "Worker Rights."  The discussion 
of worker rights considers not only laws and regulations but also 
their practical implementation, taking into account the following 
additional guidelines: 

      A.  "The right of association" has been defined by the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) to include the right of 
workers and employers to establish and join organizations of 
their own choosing without previous authorization; to draw up 
their own constitutions and rules, elect their representatives, 
and formulate their programs; to join in confederations and 
affiliate with international organizations; and to be protected 
against dissolution or suspension by administrative authority. 

 The right of association includes the right of workers to 
strike. While strikes may be restricted in essential services 
(i.e., those services the interruption of which would endanger 
the life, personal safety, or health of a significant portion of 
the population) and in the public sector, these restrictions must 
be offset by adequate guarantees to safeguard the interests of 
the workers concerned (e.g., machinery for mediation and 
arbitration; due process; and the right to judicial review of all 
legal actions).  Reporting on restrictions affecting the ability 
of workers to strike generally includes information on any 
procedures that may exist for safeguarding workers' interests. 

      B.  "The right to organize and bargain collectively" 
includes the right of workers to be represented in negotiating 
the prevention and settlement of disputes with employers; the 
right to protection against interference; and the right to 
protection against acts of antiunion discrimination.  Governments 
should promote machinery for voluntary negotiations between 
employers and workers and their organizations.  Reporting on the 
right to organize and bargain collectively includes descriptions 
of the extent to which collective bargaining takes place and the 
extent to which unions, both in law and practice, are effectively 
protected against antiunion discrimination. 

      C.  "Forced or compulsory labor" is defined as work or 
service exacted from any person under the menace of penalty and 
for which the person has not volunteered. "Work or service" does 
not apply in instances in which obligations are imposed to 
undergo education or training.  "Menace of penalty" includes loss 
of rights or privileges as well as penal sanctions.  The ILO has 
exempted the following from its definition of forced labor:  
compulsory military service, normal civic obligations, certain 
forms of prison labor, emergencies, and minor communal services.  
Forced labor should not be used as a means of (1) mobilizing and 
using labor for purposes of economic development; (2) racial, 
social, national, or religious discrimination; (3) political 
coercion or education, or as a punishment for holding or 
expressing political views or views ideologically opposed to the 
established political, social, or economic system; (4) labor 
discipline; or (5) as a punishment for having participated in 
strikes.  Constitutional provisions concerning the obligation of 
citizens to work do not violate this right so long as they do not 
take the form of legal obligations enforced by sanctions and are 
consistent with the principle of "freely chosen employment." 

      D.  "Minimum age for employment of children" concerns the 
effective abolition of child labor by raising the minimum age for 
employment to a level consistent with the fullest physical and 
mental development of young people. In addition, young people 
should not be employed in hazardous conditions or at night. 

      E.  "Acceptable conditions of work" refers to the 
establishment and maintenance of machinery, adapted to national 
conditions, that provides for minimum working standards, i.e., 
wages that provide a decent living for workers and their 
families; working hours that do not exceed 48 hours per week, 
with a full 24-hour rest day; a specified annual paid holiday; 
and minimum conditions for the protection of the safety and 
health of workers.  Differences in levels of economic development 
are taken into account in the formulation of internationally 
recognized labor standards.  For example, many ILO standards 
concerning working conditions permit flexibility in their scope 
and coverage.  They may also permit countries a wide choice in 
their implementation, including progressive implementation, by 
enabling countries to accept a standard in part or subject to 
specified exceptions.  Countries are expected to take steps over 
time to achieve the higher levels specified in such standards.  
It should be understood, however, that this flexibility applies 
only to internationally recognized standards concerning working 
conditions.  No flexibility is permitted concerning the 
acceptance of the basic principles contained in human rights 
standards, i.e., freedom of association, the right to organize 
and bargain collectively, the prohibition of forced labor, and 
the absence of discrimination. labor, and the absence of 
discrimination. (###)

[end of document]

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