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Freedom of Association

flier PDF

Freedom of Association in the Networked Workplace: discussion workshop

The rights of workers to freedom of association, to organize, and collectively bargain, are defined in the International Labour Organisation's "Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention" (Convention C87) and "Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention" (Convention C98). These derive from the broader right of freedom of association defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and are currently ratified by 150 countries internationally. These rights support the presence and activities of trade unions in the workplace and include provisions that workers shall not be subject to anti-union discrimination and interference by employers and outside bodies in the establishment, functioning or administration of unions and workers' organisations.

The expansion of ICT in the workplace is influencing and reshaping the expression of this right and the context in which it can be exercised in a number of ways: casualised 'boundaryless' work structures, ICT as the only or primary means of communications between workers, computer-mediated management techniques, as well as a lack of clear guidelines as to how these rights can be facilitated in such contexts, and variations between countries in laws relating to company management of ICT. This in turn has significant implications regarding issues of privacy and surveillance in the workplace, and raises the question whether the practices and legal framework relating to these issues fully addresses or integrates the needs and rights of freedom of association or even undermines them. The relations between freedom of association and ICT may therefore be seen as offering a litmus test for the implementation of network security issues in the workplace as expressed both in technical and legal frameworks, and the potential tensions between these.

Significant anecdotal evidence relating to this, mostly relating to abuses of workers' rights, or to a weakness in fully enabling these rights within ICT based work contexts, has been reported in a number of countries. Whilst a certain amount of academic research relating to these issues exists there is a need for greater empirical evidence gathering, in-depth analysis, and critical evaluation of what constitutes a major area of development and change within the contemporary workplace. This panel seeks to bring together a range of perspectives through which the topic can be more substantially identified and addressed.

References

[1] ILO, C87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, link

[2] ILO, C98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949, link

[3] G. Lasprogata, N. J. King, and S. Pillay, “Regulation of electronic employee monitoring: Identifying fundamental principles of employee privacy through a comparative study of data privacy legislation in the European Union, United States and Canada,” Stanford Technology Law Review, vol. 4, 2004, link

Also see:

Christiane Féral-Schuhl, Cyber-Surveillance At Work, translated from “CYBERDROIT 2009/2010, le droit à l’épreuve de l’internet” 5e édition, DALLOZ, PDF

Jean-Emmanuel Ray and Jacques Rojot, A Comparative Study Of The Impact Of Electronic Technology On Workplace Disputes, Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, vol.24, no.1, Fall 2002, PDF

Freedom of Association in the Networked Workplace: discussion workshop

WHEN - Thursday 26 January 2012 - 13:00-19:00
WHERE - CONSTANT-VARIABLE, RUE GALLAIT, GALLAITSTRAAT 80, 1030 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Ongoing developments in IT and social media are changing the boundaries and structure of the workplace, causing a blurring of distinctions between private and work-related activities. This is raising new issues in regard to the extent of surveillance applied by businesses towards their employees. Attempts to control workplace communications are however conflicting with a number of basic employment rights. This workshop seeks to address these issues with a specific focus on the potential impacts of emerging surveillance cultures on the rights of Freedom of Association in the networked workplace. It aims to bring together a range of researchers and union activists with a view to building a more substantial network for investigation, analysis and intervention.

The workshop follows from a panel presented at the CPDP (Computers, Privacy and Data Protection) conference 2012 and will expand upon and explore issues raised at that panel in greater depth. A summary of the panel discussion will be presented as part of the workshop and attendance at CPDP is not essential to participation.

Participants include: Gabriella Alberti, Queen Mary University of London, researching migrant workers organising and social movement unionism; Kirstie Ball, Open University and Surveillance Studies Network; Leigh French, Variant magazine and Strickland Distribution; Christian Fuchs, Uppsala University, researching the political economy of social media and its development as a new workplace; Seda Guerses, K. U. Leuven, researching on workplace surveillance and online social networks; Dave Hollis, NetzwerkIT, developing online systems for workplace activists; Owen J. Logan, University of Aberdeen and Flammable Societies network; Tonia Novitz, University of Bristol, research on Freedom of Association and workers’ rights; Simon Yuill, Strickland Distribution, researching software culture and politics.

The workshop will take the format of short presentations and facilitated discussion. Open slots are available for proposed presentations or outlines of existing projects and organisations. Please contact us if you are interested in speaking.

The workshop is hosted by Constant VZW: http://www.constantvzw.org/site/Freedom-of-Association-in-the.html
Organised by: The Strickland Distribution
Website: http://foa.strickdistro.org/
Contact: foa@strickdistro.org
Admission: Open Event

Computers, Privacy & Data Protection - CPDP annual conference

aims to create a bridge between policy makers, academics, practitioners and activists
CPDP2012 Panels at Grande Halle
WHEN - Wednesday 25 January 2012 - 15.30
WHERE - Les Halles de Schaerbeek (Grande Halle, Petite Halle, La Cave), Rue Royale-Sainte-Marie 22, 1030 Brussels, Belgium
http://www.cpdpconferences.org

Freedom of Association in the Networked Workplace: CPDP2012 Panel

hosted by Seda GUERSES (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE) and Leigh FRENCH (The Strickland Distribution, UK)

PANEL - Kirstie BALL, Open University (UK), Christian FUCHS, Uppsala University (SE), David HOLLIS, Unite the Union (UK), Tonia NOVITZ*, University of Bristol (UK)

Ongoing developments in IT and social media are changing the boundaries and structure of the workplace, causing a blurring of distinctions between private and work-related activities. This is raising new issues in regard to the extent of surveillance applied by businesses towards their employees. Attempts to control workplace communications are however conflicting with a number of basic employment rights. This panel seeks to address these issues with a specifi c focus on the potential impacts of emerging surveillance cultures on the rights of freedom of association in the networked workplace.

http://www.cpdpconferences.org/wednesday25january.html#GH1-15freedom
http://www.cpdpconferences.org/Resources/CPDP2012.pdf
http://www.cpdpconferences.org

28 January 2012 is European Privacy and Data Protection Day

http://www.europeanprivacyday.org

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