Safeguarding labour rights in Portugal: 'HELP in the 28' course

Lisbon 04/01/17
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Safeguarding labour rights in Portugal: 'HELP in the 28' course

The EU/CoE ‘HELP in the 28’ course "Labour Rights as Human Rights" was launched in Lisbon on 4 January, in cooperation with the Portuguese Centre for Judicial Studies for a combined audience of 15 judges and 15 prosecutors.

The School Deputy Director and the HELP contact point opened the course, stressing the need to protect labour rights and the collaboration with the HELP Programme.

It should be noted that Portugal adopted the system of collective complaints already in 1998 and ratified the revised European Social Charter (ESC) in 2002, accepting all its provisions. Furthermore, as a Portuguese distinctiveness likely rooted in the spirit of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, prosecutors are able to defend workers’ rights at Courts, a fact which is atypical and places them closer to people.

The EU/CoE 'HELP in the 28' Programme was presented as well as the content of the course, which aims at protecting workers’ rights and promote fair industrial relations. The course covers topic such as working time, remuneration, termination of contract, collective negotiation, or discrimination at the workplace. As it combines the EU and CoE systems, both of them of compulsory application in EU countries, the course is particularly suited for EU countries touched by austerity measures.

Ana Garcia Marques, from the Government’s agent office to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) provided the audience with an overview of the ECtHR case law linked to labour rights and most relevant for the Portuguese context.

The role of the ESC, the quasi-judiciary Economic and Social Rights Committee and the collective complaints system were highlighted in the presentation of Labour rights by professor Milena Rouxinol. She also focused on the potential impact of the European system of labour rights at national level, showing some legal inconsistencies that need reform.

The roundtable revealed participant’s background dealing with labour/social rights and high interest to deepen their knowledge to better protect those rights, including interactions of the EU and CoE systems.

The course –in Portuguese and adapted to the Portuguese legal order- will be moderated by Labour Judge, and HELP focal point, Diogo Ravara. It will be publicly available on line in April 2017 it. In the meantime, the English version is publicly accessible -for free- at the 'HELP in the 28' website. See here a video presentation of the course.

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