The Labour Dimension of Regional Integration and Free Trade Agreements in the Americas. An Update.Second Working Groups Meeting in the framework of the XIII IACMLBuenos AiresApril 11-13, 2005
This document • Updates the findings of the study presented in Bahia under the title “The Labour Dimension of the Regional Integration and Free Trade Agreements in the Americas “ • After two years, as the World Commission on Globalization points out, the importance of this process is still recognized. • Moreover, integration processes continue, and new FTAs are being signed.
Nevertheless, • The technical debate continues on the labour dimension as relevant either to labour law or to work and productive progress as such. • The pending problem continues to lie with enforcing the rights by means of national law and improving the space for participation in the negotiation process involving the social actors.
Conclusions • There have been no important changes in normative development concerning labour • Further development of domestic legislation is still needed • In many countries there persist serious limitations in compliance with existing rules and commitments, because of both non-compliance with the law and the presence of wide sectors of employment that are not covered by labour legislation
Conclusions • Application of the law presents problems. Weak labour administrations. • Far from distroying employment or depressing wages, integration enhances respect for fundamental rights. • There is a consensus on the need to neither promote nor accept spurious competitiveness based on failure to comply with the fundamental rights at work. • Social actors want to participate in the process • More TC is needed
Subregional Conclusions • CAN: 2004 commitment to eliminate child labour • CARICOM. New debates on labour administration • MERCOSUR employment forum • NAFTA discussions provide new opportunities • SICA continues work at presidential summit
Points to be kept in mind • There are few steps forward • LMs need strengthening • Some integration processes need to improve their legal references • Linkage among the social actors • More sharing of subregional experience and information is needed
Suggestions • National legislation needs improving • Enforcement mechanisms need improving • Social actors should play an active part • Technical cooperation should be improved and designed appropriately • SMBs should be included in the process • Employment generation