Posted by Alastair Usher

How does freedom of association contribute to development?

This study analyses the ways in which freedom of association fosters and supports economic and social development. Published by the ILO Declaration department and launched at a seminar in South Africa in June 2011, the report identifies the ways in which strong independent worker and employer organisations contribute to the conditions that underpin economic progress.

The key identified channels of influence are:

– contributing to national policy dialogue to promote a fairer distribution of wealth and addressing social disadvantage;
– promoting a positive environment for business through economic competitiveness and dispute resolution, skills development and change management;
– promoting co-operation in times of crisis and assisting in responsible restructuring;
– and strengthening democracy and good governance at national level.

The report includes a variety of case studies ranging from organising the informal economy in Ghana and India, development of industrial relations through partnership between employers and unions in the Turkish metal sector, to the role of unions in promoting democratic transition in Poland.

The report also identifies the internal and external challenges for governments, worker and employer organisations in promoting freedom of association.