Rule of Law

Bangladesh, garment workers, worker rights, rule of law, Solidarity Center

The Solidarity Center works to ensure all workers, such as Bangladesh garment workers, have access to their legal workplace rights. Credit: Solidarity Center/Balmi Chisim

The Solidarity Center works to ensure that all workers have rights protected under international law and have access to effective legal remedies if those rights are violated.

The Solidarity Center works with workers, unions and other organizations around the world to rewrite the rules so workers can form unions and take collective action to promote their rights and be free from exploitation. The Solidarity Center has assisted workers and unions in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Thailand and Ukraine to analyze legislation and develop strategies to defeat repressive legislation and promote laws and regulations consistent with international law.

Our work supports novel litigation at the national and regional levels to expand rights to workers and unions. For example, the Solidarity Center has supported constitutional litigation to ensure domestic workers in South Africa have access to the national workers compensation fund, and is working with lawyers in Bangladesh to support workers in challenging the use of false criminal charges to dismiss and silence workers. The Solidarity Center also supports efforts in regional human rights courts to promote the rights of informal economy workers in Africa and to hold governments accountable for anti-union violence in the Americas.

The Solidarity Center also is working to build accountability for multinational firms in global supply chains that remain largely beyond the reach of the law in countries where their suppliers are located and in their home countries. The lack of accountability is a major driver of worker exploitation in supply chains, including wage theft, unsafe workplaces, violence against workers and attacks against unions.

Educating workers on their rights and how to use them in the workplace is also a key component of our work. Through the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network (ILAW), we are building a legal community and increasing the capacity of lawyers and activists to effectively use domestic, regional and international laws and institutions. The ILAW Network brings together more than 400 lawyers in some 55 countries.

Belarus Crackdown Violates Worker, Human Rights, Say Rights Experts

A vicious crackdown in Belarus on striking workers peacefully protesting President Lukashenko’s refusal to leave power despite months-long popular protests is drawing the attention and condemnation of worker and human rights experts, including Amnesty International,...

ILO GBV at Work Standard: First-Ever Comprehensive Legal Standard

A Solidarity Center legal analysis shows the proposed ILO convention on gender-based violence and harassment at work is necessary because no global binding instrument exists that comprehensively addresses violence and harassment in the world of work, including...
Migrant Workers in Africa: In Their Own Voices

Migrant Workers in Africa: In Their Own Voices

Some 34 million Africans are migrants, and the majority are workers moving across borders to search for decent work—jobs that pay a living wage, offer safe working conditions and fair treatment. Yet even as they often leave their families in search of jobs that will...

Working Without Pay: Wage Theft in Zimbabwe

Working Without Pay: Wage Theft in Zimbabwe

Wage theft is widespread throughout the the public- and private-sectors, with Zimbabweans working months without a paycheck. Based on surveys at 442 companies, the report documents the vast scope of wage theft; outlines the responsibilities of the state under...

CAMBODIA: Vocal Coalition Makes Legal History (2013)

CAMBODIA: Vocal Coalition Makes Legal History (2013)

Cambodia’s nascent independent labor movement and human rights organizations worked to revise a labor law proposed in 2011 that would have significantly rolled back worker rights—and a Solidarity Center report describes how they did it. English (PDF) Arabic (PDF)...

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