Csilla Kollonay Lehoczky

Central European University

The power of the soft methods in preserving and developing labour standards

Csilla Kollonay Lehoczky, Central European University

The impact of the growing globalization and the multiplication of the forms of engaging labour have gradually undermined and eroded the traditional forms of protection of the weaker party in labour relations. Coupled with the difficulties of finding undisputed definitions for the boundaries of protected labour, there are arguments that the digitalization questions the relationship between the two sides of an employment relationship, arguing in favour of the increased power of the worker and the increased vulnerability of the institutional employer. The diversified institutional and regulatory reactions and standard-setting is examined at European regional (in some cases at sub-regional level). The paper will address the issue of “soft” law instruments, predominantly of collective nature, arguing in favour of advancing such forms of normative instruments considered “juridical” compromise (frequently qualified by the legal society as “non-law”, just “political documents”). It will be argued that they may offer solutions for escaping the destructive impact of deregulatory tendencies and preserving former standards. The “combat deregulation by soft law” proposal will be supported by positive examples primarily from European (Council of Europe) examples, eventually supplemented by other regional examples. Not in the last rank the available advantages and possible results of “progressive” and “collective” methods of guaranteeing rights based on the case law of the (Revised) European Social Charter will be relied on. Its noticeable synergy with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the relatively recent document, the European Pillar of Social Rights contributing to the clarification of the legal power of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and to EU legislative and policy activities in evolving the content of the Pillar. The secondary role and controversial nature of social rights (including employment and labour rights) in EU law necessitates the examination of using “bypass” methods for achieving positive integration in the social areas. The available power of soft law needs manifold examination, the solutions to develop may rely on the utilization of earlier experiences – pitfalls and results – of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), including the participatory role of various stake-holders.

Subscribe to RSS - Csilla Kollonay Lehoczky