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70 Years of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association

The CFA’s seven decades of work to promote respect for freedom of association are being marked with a new book that looks at the pioneering role and broad impact of the Committee’s work.

News | 09 November 2022
GENEVA (ILO News) – The ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) is marking 70 years of work to promote respect for freedom of association with the publication of a new book.

The publication, 70 Years of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association: A Reliable Compass in Any Weather, covers the Committee’s support for this fundamental world of work principle, which plays a crucial role in progress towards social justice and universal peace.

The CFA was set up by the ILO’s Governing Body in November 1951. Its task is to examine complaints of violations of the right to freedom of association, which is one of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. All ILO Member States are expected to uphold these Fundamental Principles regardless of whether they have ratified the related Conventions. Complaints may be brought against a Member State by employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as Governments.

In addition to the requirements for all Member States to uphold these principles, two ILO Fundamental Conventions covering freedom of association and collective bargaining; the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98), set out the framework in which these principles are enshrined.

The book, edited by Karen Curtis, Chief, ILO Freedom of Association Branch, International Labour Standards Department, and Oksana Wolfson Senior Legal Officer, International Labour Standards Department, highlights the diverse aspects of the CFA’s broad impact on respect for this fundamental right. It also reviews the pioneering role of the CFA in linking freedom of association with respect for basic civil liberties.