The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly expressed the importance of protecting and defending social rights as an integral and indivisible part of human rights. It underlined that this protection was all the more important in the context of economic crises and took its commitment to social rights into a new dimension by engaging a political monitoring of those rights and of the implementation of the European Social Charter in 2011 (Resolution 1792 (2011) on “The monitoring of commitments concerning social rights”).
In June 2012, the Assembly expressed its concerns about the impact of austerity programmes on social right standards noting that such programmes risked further deepening the crisis and undermining social rights (Resolution 1884 (2012) on “Austerity measures – a danger for democracy and social rights”).
The right to bargain collectively, which includes the right to to collective action, and the right to strike, are not fully recognised and respected in all member States. With a view to ensuring a better protection, the Assembly, in co-operation with the European Committee of Social Rights, should monitor closely restrictions on the right to bargain collectively and, where necessary, take the appropriate political action to remind member States of their obligation to protect social rights.
Economic freedoms should be balanced with social rights, not take precedence over them. The Assembly thus calls on the member States to respect their obligations under the European Social Charter as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular with regard to the protection of the right to bargain collectively.