Definitions

social charter

European Social Charter

The European Social Charter is a document signed by the members of the Council of Europe in Turin, 18 October 1961 in which they agreed to secure to their populations the social rights specified there in order to improve their standard of living and their social well-being. It was intended to fill a gap left by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which essentially covers only civil and political rights. Neither the European Social Charter nor the Convention would have been part of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

The Charter protects rights such as to work, to just conditions of work, to safe and healthy working conditions, to freedom of association, to social security, to benefit from social welfare services etc.

Member-states that have ratified the charter must submit reports every two years concerning the implementation of the articles of the Charter in their legal systems. The implementation is supervised by the Committee of Social Rights, composed of the representatives of the Ministers Committee and by the Intergovernmental Committee, which prepares the Ministers Committee decisions. Finally the Council of Europe Ministers Committee makes recommendations to member countries that are not in compliance with the Charter's requirements.

The European Social Charter was the first international document to recognise the right to strike.

It was revised in Strasbourg, 3 May 1996.

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