The right to work is the concept that people have a human right to work, or engage in productive employment, and should not be prevented from doing so. The right to work is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, where the right to work emphasizes economic, social and cultural development.
The right to know what hazards are present in the workplace; The right to participate in keeping your workplace healthy and safe; and. The right to refuse work that you believe to be dangerous to yourself or your co-workers.
Workers’ Bill of Rights
IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT:
- Democracy and human rights cannot flourish where workers’ rights do not exist or are not enforced.
- Unions have been, and continue to be, an important force for democracy, not just in the workplace, but beyond, in the community – locally, nationally and globally.
- Unions have historically been a major force in humanizing and democratizing the economies of nations by promoting higher levels of economic equality and economic justice.
- Unions provide workers with decent wages, benefits and working conditions so they and their families can enjoy a quality standard of living and financial security.
THIS IS CONFIRMED BY:
- A series of Supreme Court of Canada decisions in 2016 and 2017 that recognize the importance of fundamental labour rights (the right of all workers to join a union of their choosing, to bargain collectively and to take strike action) as “a fundamental aspect of Canadian society” that “reaffirms the values of dignity, personal autonomy, equality and democracy” upheld by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which sets out fundamental principles for human rights including the right to freedom of association (Article 21) as well as the right of everyone to form and to join trade unions (Article 23).
- The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) which reaffirms the commitment of the international community “to respect, to promote and to realize in good faith” the rights of workers to freedom of association and the effective right to collective bargaining.
IT IS THEREFORE AFFIRMED THAT:
- All workers have the right to form unions of their own choosing, for the promotion and defense of their interests without interference by employer or government. This basic human right goes together with freedom of association and freedom of expression. It is the basis of democratic representation and governance.
- All workers have the right to a legal framework that recognizes collective bargaining as the means of determining their wages, working conditions and terms of employment.
- All workers have the right to strike, which is also an essential component of the process through which workers can continue to participate meaningfully in the pursuit of their collective workplace goals.
Workers are free to participate in the following types of activities: campaigning for or against candidates in partisan elections, distributing campaign material, organizing or managing political rallies or meetings, circulating nominating petitions, working to register voters, and making campaign speeches