New Zealand and Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: How are we doing and could we do better?
This paper will focus on Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which confer respectively: the right to work, the right to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work, and the right to form and join trade unions. It is argued that while, overall New Zealand has a strong domestic framework of legislation giving effect to these rights, there are some specific areas of present, and possible future, concern. Various aspects of New Zealand law and policy and some International Conventions, which align with, and strengthen, Articles 6, 7 and 8 are examined and it is concluded that:
- The right to work is a right to freely chosen work. On particular implication of this is that New Zealand needs to be careful about putting prisoners to work.
- The right to work includes a right to protection from unfair dismissal.
- Some groups in New Zealand suffer from discrimination, not only in accessing work but in enjoying equal opportunities and the rights which should attach to work.
- On going progress towards ratifying International Labour Organisation Conventions 87and I38 is desirable.
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