Comparative labour law and social security law Review 2016/1

During the first half of 2016, 8 original “Studies” relating to labour law have been published in the Review of comparative labour law and social security.

Isabelle Shömann presents a critical analysis of the European “Better Law-Making” programme, in order to determine whether this European Commission initiative simplifies or denatures the European Community acquis in respect of labour law.
Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau provides a theoretical contribution to research into the effectiveness of the law, offering an analytical framework conferring credibility from the point of view of beneficiaries of the law and providing a better understanding of how the law affects the social sphere.
At a national level, a review of labour law developments in the Republic of Djibouti by Ilyas Said Wais sheds light on the ambivalent liberalisation that began in 1997.
Victoria Rodríguez-Rico Roldán also explains the various restrictions on health insurance cover in Spain resulting from the ambitious, although controversial, health reform introduced in April 2012.
Li-Chuan Liuhuang adopts a circular migration, rights-based approach in order to examine the rights of foreign workers in Taiwan in relation to the ILO’s fundamental labour standards.
The latest Italian labour law reform is analysed by Stefania Scarponi who presents the very controversial permanent work contract said to “increase protection over time”.
Francisco Villanueva analyses the level of collective bargaining in Peru by examining the interaction between the Peruvian Constitutional Court and the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association during two legal disagreements affecting the construction and port industries.
Finally, Yannick Pagnerre gives a comparatist view of co-employment that underlines the lively exchanges provoked by plurality of employment both in France and abroad, depending on whether the countries concerned have a tradition of civil or common law.

The section on comparative labour-related case law, coordinated by Allison Fiorentino and entitled “Labour-related case law and international law: complementarity or hostility?” highlights the fact that although judges can set standards – either directly, by establishing a precedent, or by interpreting a text in a particular way – case law is not always synonymous with innovation. Sometimes, the judge is restricted to his role of “mouthpiece of the law” to use Montesquieu’s words. When the cited law has been adopted by the national parliament, nobody will see any disadvantage, but what if the judge is expected to apply a supranational text? Could his obedience to a foreign law sometimes be coloured with suspicion, even hostility? This question may be asked in the light of jurisprudence from British judges, mainly in their reading of the European Convention on Human Rights (Allison Fiorentino). However, this pessimistic view of international law should not obscure its main apparent advantage for the judge: the provision of an additional weapon in the available arsenal for strengthening employees’ protection or interpreting obscure legal measures. In Brazil, for example, ILO conventions, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights are more and more often used in courtrooms (Sidnei Machado). In Turkey, international standards also have an undeniable influence on labour law, and more particularly on the right to form trade unions and to strike (Melda Sur). The use of international law by a judge begs the question of the direct applicability of a foreign text. To what extent can the judge set aside national laws to the benefit of a supranational convention? In this respect, Mexico provides a relevant example. A Mexican judge used a constitutional subterfuge in order to recognise the supremacy of certain ILO conventions over national laws (Patricia Kurczyn Villalobos and Oscar Zavala-Gamboa). Finally, this edition benefits from the perspective of a specialist in international law who gives the ILO’s point of view on the subject (Xavier Beaudonnet).

In addition, this first issue of 2016 ends with a section on “International Legal News” from around 50 countries and institutions.

We hope, dear colleagues, that you will find this publication of interest.

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