Core Labour Rights The True Story (Reply to Alston)
Author: Langille, Brian A
Source: European Journal of International Law, Volume 16, Number 3, June 2005 , pp. 409-437(29)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:The concept of core labour rights has, over the last decade or so, assumed a central role in debates about the role of international labour law in an integrated world economy. Some, including Philip Alston, see this development as a retreat from and a threat to the existing international labour law regime, especially the International Labour Organizations international labour code. On this view the new concentration upon core rights undermines the existing regime from within by narrowing its focus, weakening the legal status of the core rights, relegating the non-core to a second-class status, watering down its enforcement mechanisms, and so on. This view, while popular, is available only on a very narrow and conventional understanding of the purpose of international labour law. A better understanding is available which enables us to see core labour rights as conceptually coherent (and not politically arbitrary), morally salient (and not merely part of an empty neo-liberal conspiracy) and pragmatically vital to the achievement of our true goals, including the enforceability of the non-core (and not an undermining of the whole regime from within). This essay defends this second and positive account of core rights by reacting to Philip Alstons recent essay in this journal, which is taken as the most comprehensive and aggressive articulation of the anti-core rights point of view.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2005-06-01
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