The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) published its annual conclusions for 2014, showing 252 violations of the European Social Charter, a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights in the social and economic fields, across 41 Council of Europe member states.
The conclusions show large disparities in the national social legislations. While the Committee found violations in all countries, the number of violations was exceptionally high in countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Most countries share a non-compliance with the Charter standards on minimum wage. Regarding another critical right, the right to strike, a number of countries such as Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine were found to be in non-conformity.
For the conclusions, the Committee received comments from some national trade unions and employers’ organisations (Spain, Finland, Sweden, Greece and Georgia).
The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty signed in Turin on 18 October 1961 which safeguards day-to-day freedoms and fundamental rights: housing, health, education, employment, legal and social protection, freedom of movement for individuals, non-discrimination. The substance of the Charter was supplemented by a revised version of 1996.
The European Committee of Social Rights is a body composed of 15 independent and impartial members. It rules on the conformity of the law and practice of the States Parties with the Charter. The Committee has two procedures to ensure that States Parties comply with their commitments under the Charter: national reports and collective complaints. In the framework of the reporting procedure it adopts “conclusions” and in respect of the collective complaints procedure it adopts “decisions”. A Protocol opened for signature in 1995, which came into force in 1998, allows national and international trade union organisations, employers’ organisations and non-governmental organisations to submit to the Committee their complaints about violations of the Charter.
– For reactions in the Austrian press please see the German version –