Work (Right to) and Workers’ Rights

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The state of Punjab enacted a law to prevent rickshaw pullers from being exploited by middlemen. It created a program whereby rickshaw pullers would be given an interest-free loan to buy their own rickshaws, and the state issued licenses to the owners to make sure the law was enforced.  Only the owners could pull the newly purchased rickshaws, and licenses would not be issued or would be revoked if the state learned that someone else was pulling the rickshaw.

Country: 
United States of America
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
Women & ESCR
Strategic Litigation
OP-ICESCR

The claimants filed a tutela action against several state institutions alleging failure to comply with their mission of protecting displaced persons and to effectively respond to the displaced’s requests related to housing, access to production projects, health care, education and humanitarian aid.

The Ministry of Labor declared a strike by a group of workers at Las Empresas Varias de Medellín (EVM) to be illegal alleging the right to strike was prohibited in public services. As a consequence, 209 workers were laid off. After their claims were internally rejected, the laid-off workers filed a complaint with the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Administrative Board (AB) requesting protection for their right to work and to unionize.

Provea requested the Supreme Court of Venezuela (TSJ) to issue its opinion on the constitutionality of the failure by Asamblea Nacional (AN, Parliament) to create a temporary system to regulate the Employment Benefits Scheme when it had passed the Social Security System Law. This failure implied denying benefits to employees suspended or fired. Provea alleged there had been a violation of the rights to social security, workers' protection and the principle of progressiveness regarding fundamental rights under the Constitution and international human rights conventions.

Comité Panameño por los Derechos Humanos denounced the State of Panama before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for having arbitrarily laid off 270 public officials and union leaders who had taken part in several rallies against the administration's policies and to defend their labor rights. The lay-offs had followed an accusation made by the Government against the same individuals based on their participation in the demonstrations and on their alleged collaboration with a military uprising.

In 1994 the Agriculture Labour Relations Act (ALRA) was passed to include agricultural workers in the Province of Ontario's labour relations regime.  One year later a newly elected Conservative government repealed the ALRA.  The Appellants challenged both the repeal of the ALRA and the exclusion of agricultural workers from the Labour Relations Act (LRA) as an infringement of the rights of agricultural workers to associate under section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter.  They also alleged discrimination against a vulnerable class of workers, in violation of the right to equali

In 1981, the State of Maharashta and the Bombay Municipal Council decided to evict all pavement and slum dwellers from the city of Bombay. The residents claimed such action would violate the right to life, since a home in the city allowed them to attain a livelihood and demanded that adequate resettlement be provided if the evictions proceeded. The Court declined to provide the remedies requested by the applicants but found that the right to a hearing had been violated at the time of the planned eviction.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) alleged that a large number of children in Portugal (estimated at 200,000 children) worked in poor conditions that affected their health. The ICJ claimed that Portugal was violating article 7(1) of the European Social Charter (ESC) by failing to properly supervise child labour. The government disputed the ICJ's statistics, claiming a maximum of 27,000 children worked and only 2,500 children were paid workers and employed in contravention of the Charter.

A large number of residents of basties (informal settlements) of Dhaka City were evicted without notice and their homes were demolished with bulldozers. A case, challenging the ongoing evictions, was brought by two residents and three citizens in the public interest. The Supreme Court held that inhabitants had some rights to shelter and a fair hearing and made recommendations for resettlement.