Establishment of the CFA • Part of the special machinery in the field of FOA for trade union purposes, which was established by the ILO in 1950 following an agreement with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. • First set up in 1951. • Has issued over 2000 decisions.
CFA’s Status and Role • A Special (Tripartite) Organ of the Governing Body; as such: • Not bound by national judicial decisions • Not subject to the prior exhaustion of national processes/remedies • A Quasi-judicial Body: • It examines complaints of freedom of association for trade union purposes • It submits its conclusions and recommendations to the Governing Body of the ILO.
CFA’s Mandate • Special focus: The Committee examines only complaints of infringement of Freedom of association for trade union purposes • Broad jurisdiction: Complaints may be entertained regardless of whether the country concerned has ratified any of the Conventions in the field of freedom of association
CFA’s Mandate: Special Focus • The Committee examines only complaints of infringement of Freedom of association for trade union purposes • However, this includes: • The Right to Organise • The Right to Bargain Collectively • The Right to Strike • The Protection of related Civil Liberties
CFA’s Mandate: Broad Jurisdiction • Ratification not required: Complaints may be entertained regardless of whether the country concerned has ratified any of the Conventions in the field of freedom of association • Exhaustion of national remedies not required and CFA not bound by national judicial decisions • CFA may also examine Complaints of violations of FOA against States which are not members of the ILO, when such complaints are forwarded to it by the United Nations, with the country’s consent.
Receivability of Complaints before the CFA • To be receivable, complaints must satisfy certain conditions of form and substance, which essentially address the following issues: • Who may file a complaint? • Against whom can a complaint be directed? • When can a complaint be filed? • How must one proceed to file a complaint?
Who may file a Complaint before the CFA? (1) • Complaints must come from governments or from a workers’ or employers’ organisation, which may be: • A national organisation directly interested in the matter • An international organisation, which has consultative status with the ILO • Another international organisation of workers or employers, where the allegations relate to matters directly affecting affiliated organisations.
International organisations having consultative status • Non-governmental international organisations having general consultative status with the ILO include: • International Co-operative Alliance • International Confederation of Free Trade Unions • World Confederation of Labour • International Federation of Agricultural Producers • International Organisation of Employers • Organisation of African Trade Union Unity • Pan-African Employers’ Confederation.
Who may file a Complaint before the CFA? (2) • If information about the organisation is not known by the CFA, the organisation should provide information with the complaint, including: • Information about its membership • Its statutes/by-laws • Information about its national/international affiliations • Any information that would lead to an appreciation of the nature of the organisation.
Who may file a Complaint before the CFA? (3) • Status of complaints emanating from: • Organisations in exile • Organisations which have been dissolved, or • Organisation which have failed to satisfy the national administration of its lawful existence • Such complaints are not automatically deemed irreceivable • Rather, they are considered on the basis of the information provided for organisations not known to the CFA: see (2) above
Who may file a Complaint before the CFA? (4) • To file a complaint, the organisation must have a permanent existence. • This implies having a permanent address, which makes it possible to correspond with it.
Against whom can a complaint be directed? • Complaints before the CFA must be filed against a State (government) even if they involve infringements by a specific employer or an employers’ organisation.
When can a Complaint be filed before the CFA? • When an infringement of FOA principles/ standards is identified. This can include: • An action with ongoing implications, such as infringement embodied in legislation or in policy • A specific act or occurrence, which may require immediate remedial action, such as the arrest or detention of trade unionists, the seizing of an organisation’s assets, the dissolution of an organisation, or the break-up or a trade union meeting.
How must one proceed to file a Complaint? • Filing a complaint implies the formal laying of a charge • The complaint must contain specific allegations of infringement of FOA principles (pursuant to International Labour Standards on FOA) • Complaints to the CFA, should be sent to: • The Director-General International Labour Organization CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland
Complaints to the CFA: Conditions of Form • Complaints must be in writing • Complaints must be signed by an official of the complaining organisation or government • Complaints must be supported by written proof of allegations (sworn statements of facts and/or documentary evidence) relating to specific infringements of freedom of association.
Complaints must be in writing • A copy of a communication to a third party is not sufficient: the written communication must be directed to the ILO • The document may be sent by fax, but it must be followed by an original document.
Complaints must be signed (1) • Electronic mail is not receivable, as it cannot be signed. • A request for anonymity will be respected only after the Director-General has examined the complaint and concluded that it contains allegations of some degree of gravity which have not previously been examined by the CFA.
Complaints must be signed (2) • Complaints must be signed by a representative of a body entitled to make a Complaint: • An “entitled representative” includes, for example, a president or executive director. • It would not include, for e.g., a clerical assistant to the president or a lower-level official of the organisation.
Composition of the CFA • A tripartite organ of the Governing Body • Comprises 9 members and 9 substitutes with an independent Chair (since 1978, chaired by an independent person); • 3 members drawn from each of the Employers’, Workers’ and Government groups in the GB.
Committee on Freedom of Association Practice and Procedure
CFA Practice & Procedure • Participation and Presence in the CFA’s Deliberations • No one involved in, or concerned by a complaint filed, may participate in the Committee’s deliberations, or be present during the hearing of the complaint • No representative or national of the State against which a complaint has been made • No workers’ or employers’ representative may attend the deliberations
CFA Practice & Procedure (1) • The CFA meetsthree times a year. • Where the International Labour Office finds a complaintinsufficiently detailed, it may at any time ask a complainant tospecify what infringements are complained of. • If supplementary information is deemed necessary to substantiate a complaint, the Office informs the complainant(s) within one month.
CFA Practice & Procedure (2) • The allegations of infringement are transmitted by the Office to the government concerned for reply within a given period. • The CFA decides whether to reach a conclusion or ask the government concerned for additional information.
CFA Practice & Procedure (3) • When it adopts conclusions, the CFA may recommend the GB to communicate them to the government concerned, drawing attention to anomalies, and inviting measures to remedy them as well as the transmission of further information on such measures.
CFA Practice & Procedure (4) • The CFA may also recommend the referral of the matter to the Fact-Finding and Conciliation Commission. • The CFA submits its report to the GB on all cases which it has decided warrant further examination. After approval by the GB, the reports are published in the Official Bulletin.
CFA Practice & Procedure (5) • Where cases involve ratified Conventions on FOA by the State concerned, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations will follow the matter up under the regular supervisory machinery. • Otherwise, the CFA itself reviews the matter from time to time and may request the Office to ask governments to supply further information on action taken.
CFA Practice & Procedure (6) • Withdrawal of Complaints: • A request for withdrawal is not sufficient in itself for the CFA to automatically cease to proceed further with the case. • The CFA must be satisfied that the withdrawal is being made in full independence. • The CFA is alone competent to evaluate in full freedom whether this is the case. • Decision of the CFA: • Reached by consensus: the Committee always endeavours to reach unanimous decisions.
CFA Practice & Procedure (7) • Follows a primarily written process: • The CFA usually proceeds on the basis of documentary evidence supplied by both the complainant and the government against which the complaint is directed.
Committee on Freedom of Association Summary of key features: Complaints and Procedure Status and Powers
CONDITIONS OF RECEIVABILITY FORCOMPLAINTS OF VIOLATIONS OF FOA COMPLAINTS MUST: • EMANATE FROM GOVERNMENTS, WORKERS’ OR EMPLOYERS’ ORGANISATIONS: -National organisations having direct interest in the matter - International organisations having consultative status with ILO -International organisations where allegations relate to matters directly affecting their affiliated organisations - Organisations must have permanent existence - Exiled or dissolved organisations may lodge complaints • BE IN WRITING • BE SIGNED • SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE FOA Project/Turin Centre
COMPLAINT PRESENTED TO ILO AND TRANSMITTED TO GOVERNMENTS FOR OBSERVATIONS POSSIBLE INTERVENTION WORKERS EMPLOYERS GOVERNMENTS COMMITTEE ON FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION (CFA) POSSIBLE DIRECT CONTACTS DECISIONS BY CONSENSUS ESTABLISH STRATEGY AT NATIONAL LEVEL IF ILO CONVENTION IS RATIFIED IF ILO CONVENTION IS NOTRATIFIED COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE APPLICATION OF CONVENTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CEACR) FOLLOW-UP BY THE CFA SPECIAL PROCEDURE CONCERNINGFREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION ADOPTION BY GOVERNING BODY FOA Project/Turin Centre
COMMITTEE ON FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS • ILO GOVERNING BODY TRIPARTITE ORGAN • CHAIRED BY INDEPENDENT PERSON • FOCUS ON SPECIFIC SITUATION • LEGISLATIVE AS WELL AS FACTUAL EXAMINATION EVEN WITHOUT RATIFICATION • QUASI-JUDICIAL BODY • NOT BOUND BY NATIONAL JUDICIAL DECISIONS • NOT SUBJECT TO THE PRIOR EXHAUSTION OF NATIONAL REMEDIES FOA Project/Turin Centre