Thematic forum, Thursday, 13th June 2019, 15:00-17:00

Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining: A foundation of decent work

The event will highlight the key role that the fundamental principles and rights at work of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining (FACB) have played over the past century, and are expected to play in the next. Bringing together speakers from government, workers’ and employers’ organizations and international organizations, it will demonstrate how the guarantee of these core ILO values, “enables the persons concerned, to claim freely and on the basis of equality of opportunity, their fair share of the wealth which they have helped to generate, and to achieve fully their human potential”. It will showcase success stories, where freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining have been used to effectively address key issues for societies, labour markets, workers and companies and will provide insights from the role played by the ILO Supervisory bodies in ensuring their realization.

Highlights from the forum

  1. Moderator

    Ms Conny Czymoch

    Ms Conny Czymoch is an independent international moderator and journalist. She has been engaged in conference moderation for the European Union, the OECD, ILO, German ministries, blue chip corporations, associations and federations, and non-profit organisations for more than two decades covering a host of global themes. For fourteen years until 2011, she worked as anchorwoman for the German political television channel Phoenix. Before that, she was a reporter and moderator for Deutsche Welle tv, Deutschlandfunk, WDR, and RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong). Conny worked on many aspects of human rights issues – for the International Labour Organisation, ILO, for UNHCR, for UN Women. For the ILO in particular, she worked in 2017 for the “Alliance 8.7”, as well as several times for their World Day against Child Labour in Geneva.

Panel discussion 1: Fundamental principles, enabling rights: The contribution of FACB to economic and social progress

  1. Ms Barbara Figueroa

    President of CUT Chile

    After graduating as a teacher, Ms Figueroa worked in various high schools and colleges. She joined the Chilean Teachers' Association where she was elected as national director and in charge of education. During her time as National Director, she assumed an important role in the social mobilizations of 2011. In 2012, she became the first woman president of the CUT and also the first woman to lead a multi-union in Latin America.

  2. Mr Mohamed Trabelsi

    Minister of Social Affairs, Tunisia

    Mr Mohamed Trabelsi is Minister of Social Affairs in Tunisia. He holds a degree in History-Geography from the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Tunis, a Master's degree from the Institute of Press and Science of the Information Tunis and is a graduate of the National Institute of Defense of Tunis. He was then Deputy Secretary General of UGTT (Tunisian General Labour Union) in charge of Education and Communication and International Relations. He has been a member of the National Council of Youth and the National Council of Statistics. In 2008 he was appointed ILO Senior Specialist in Workers' Activities at the DWT/CO in Cairo. He is Vice-President of the association ""Solidar"". He was elected President of the National Council of Social Dialogue in Tunisia for the period of 2018-2021.

  3. Mr Clément Voule

    UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly
    and of association

    Mr Clément Nyaletsossi Voule is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association in March 2018. Clément has worked as Secretary-General of the Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, as a campaigner for the Togolese Coalition for the International Criminal Court and as Secretary-General of the Amnesty International section in Togo. As a founding member and Vice-Chair of the West African Human Rights Defenders Network, he has coordinated and participated in the elaboration of several studies and guidelines. He has been involved in studies on freedom of association and the situation of women Human Rights Defenders in Africa and the Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

  4. Mr Kanishka Weerasinghe

    Director General of Employers' Federation of Ceylon

    Mr Weerasing is the 11th Director General of the EFC and is credited with having handled a broad spectrum of industrial relations issues for different sectors, including in the plantations. An Attorney-at-Law, he came on the EFC’s board in 1997 as an Industrial Relations Advisor after a successful period at the Attorney General’s Department. He was promoted to the positions of EFC’s Assistant Director General in 2004 and its Deputy Director General in 2007. He holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Colombo. He also has associated qualifications and has received executive education at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and holds numerous positions related to his expertise at the national level, which includes being a member of the National Labour Advisory Council.

Panel discussion 2: Supporting an enabling environment for the exercise of FACB rights: The ILO supervisory system

  1. Ms Graciela Josefina Dixon Caton

    Chairperson, Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Panama

    Former President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama; former President of the Penal Court of Cassation and of the Chamber of General Business Matters of the Supreme Court of Panama; former President of the International Association of Women Judges; former President of the Latin American Federation of Judges; former National Consultant for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); currently Judge of the Inter-American Development Bank Administrative Tribunal; Arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration of the Official Chamber of Commerce of Madrid; Arbitrator at the Center for Dispute Resolution (CESCON) of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction, as well as for the Conciliation and Arbitration Center of the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce; and legal adviser and international consultant.

  2. Mr Alberto Echavarría Saldarriaga

    Employer Vice Chairperson, CFA, Colombia

    Mr Alberto Echavarría Saldarriaga is Vice President National Employers Association of Colombia (ANDI)and a Governing Body member from the International Organisation of Employers.

  3. Mr Jean-Jacques Elmiger

    Chairperson, 108th International Labour Conference Former Chairperson, Conference Committee on the Application of Standards

    Ambassador Jean-Jacques Elmiger is the Chairperson of the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference. He also serves as the Special Representative of the Labour Directorate and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, Berne. He has been the government delegate of the Swiss Confederation to the ILO since 1986. Additionally, the Ambassador has served as Chairperson of several ILO Committees including the Application of Standards; the Finance Committee, and the Committee on Strengthening the ILO's Capacity. As Swiss delegate to the Governing Body of the ILO, Ambassador Elmiger chaired the Governing Body session in 1999-2000 as well as the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization and other GB Committees.

  4. Professor Evance Kalula

    Chairperson, Committee on Freedom of Association, Zambia

    Emeritus Professor Evance Kalula is the Chairperson of the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association. Professor Kalula is a renowned labour law lawyer who served with distinction at University of Cape Town for over 30 years and was the first African President for the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) from 2012-2015. He sat on the International Labour Organisation Commission of Inquiry into complaints of non-observance by Zimbabwe of freedom of association and collective bargaining conventions from 2008 to 2010, and served as Chair of the SA Employment Conditions Commission (2000-2011). He has served as consultant, expert and resource person to various international organisations, government agencies and trade unions, including the Zambian government, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, BP Africa, the SADC Employment and Labour Sector, and the US Department of Labour.

  5. Mr Marc Leemans

    Worker Vice Chairperson, CAS, Belgium

    Mr Leemans is the President of the Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond (Confederation of Christian Trade Unions), and the Vice-President of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC). In 1983, he began his career as an associate in the education and training department of the Christian Union of Mining, Energy, Chemical and Leather Workers (CCMECC), one of the ACV-CSC branch federations, in Brussels. He became the national secretary of the CCMECC (in 1996), amongst others responsible for the chemical sector. He later joined the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions of Belgium (ACV-CSC) as National Secretary (1999). In this capacity, he was responsible for corporate action, the coordination of elections and negotiations of national CTCs with the National Labour Council.  At the International Labour Conference of the ILO, Mr Leemans was the spokesperson of the Workers' Group in the Committee on the Application of Standards.

  6. Ms Sonia Regenbogen

    Employer Vice Chairperson, CAS, Canada

    Since 2003, Ms Sonia Regenbogen has represented Canadian employers at the International Labour Organization (ILO). She is presently the spokesperson of the Employers' Group in the ILO's Committee on the Application of Standards. She is also a board member of the Canadian Employers Council (CEC). Drawing on her experience with the ILO, she regularly advises both Canadian and multinational employers on a full range of cross-border and international labour and employment matters, including supply chain issues and codes of conduct. Ms Regenbogen has served as an adjunct faculty member at Queen’s University Faculty of Law where she taught Employment Law for more than a decade. She has also taught Employment Law at Osgoode Faculty of Law.

  7. Mr Takanobu Teramoto

    Government member, CFA, Japan

    Mr Takanobu Teramoto is a government member of the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO Governing Body, nominated from Asia and the Pacific Region(2008-present). Prior to retirement, he was an Executive Director of Radiation Effects Research Foundation studying medical effects of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, funded by governments of Japan and the United States(2005-2016). As a career public servant of the Japanese Government Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, he worked on industrial relations, employment and international affairs(1976-2005).

  8. Mr Yves Veyrier

    Worker Vice Chairperson, CFA, France

    Secretary General of General Confederation of Labour-Force Ouvrière CGT-FO