The right to work has been spearheaded by the International Labor Organization (ILO) since its creation in 1919. Work provides an element of human dignity as well as providing the remuneration important for securing an adequate standard of living (Smith, 2007). Labor rights are a relatively new addition to the modern corpus of human rights. The modern concept of labor rights dates to the 19th century after the creation of labor unions following the industrialization processes.
So, human rights may be viewed as a foundation for the labor law, and sometimes workers’ rights are considered the human right. Whether it is a labor law foundation or something else, human rights has become increasingly important and pervasive for a number of reasons:
§ Firstly, human rights have dominant status and political impacts on both the authority and community. Human rights claims can, therefore, be used by civil society organizations, labor rights movements and even business organizations to gain public support for their activities (Kolben, 2010) that thrusts the government also to adopt. Claims based on the human rights discourse means that labor movements can move away from economic arguments and special interest and towards a position based on ethics and morality which transcends any controversy over the(detrimental) impact of unions on the economy.
§ Secondly, human rights have significant normative power. Subsequently, the claims that relate to human rights are often strong enough to win most of the time when they compete with other considerations” (Nickel, 2009). Labor rights which gain this status are not easily denied. An excellent example of this is the current status of anti-discrimination law, which is increasingly based on the notion that discrimination in work environment is a breach of human rights.
Fundamental principles of labor rights and human rights are set out in the ILO’s Constitution of 1919 and in the Declaration of Philadelphia of 1944 (appended to the Constitution).
Labor rights and human rights are normally discussed as if they were two separate entities. But, according to many researchers, labor rights are considered a human right. Ssenyonjo (2010) in his answer to the question whether labor rights are human rights, he followed the positive perspective and is satisfied that the answer is positive. Looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is a non-binding but enormously influential document, Ssenyonjo (2010) claimed that the several human rights are labor rights: