Workers' rights. A new perspective

Author:Raluca Dimitriu
Position:Raluca Dimitriu ? Department of Law, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania,
Workers’ rights. A new perspective
Professor Raluca DIMITRIU1
What will be the effects of the cur rent trend in Labour Law of emancipa tion from
the constrain ts of co ntractualism? Could the worker be r egarded as other than a
contractin g party and h is/her actions be a ddressed beyond purely contra ctual r ights and
obligations? The worker does not limit himself/herself today to the performance of the work
tasks, but acts as a citizen in the workplace; it is a reality calling for new theoretical
appro aches, a way from the contra ctual constraints. The individualization of labour law
appea rs as the r esult of the evolution of the rules of la bour law, which contributes to
promoting the figure of each employee a s an independent a nd unique human being. This
para digm shift also generates cha nges in the relationship between labour la w a nd human
rights protection; n one of the two being currently estranged from the orientation towards
the individual (and n ot to the collectivity). Labour la w cannot r esist to post-modern,
individual-centred a pproaches tha t shift the focus from the gr oup to persons, r ecognizing
(and celebrating) the uniqueness of each of them. The paper offers an a pproach to the
rights of the worker from the per spective of human rights, by investigating the advantages
and disadvantages of such an extension. It seeks to identify the obstacles between the two
categor ies of rights and the extent to which they could be overcome.
Keywords: la bour la w, human rights, workers’ rights, International Labour
Organisa tion.
JEL Classification: K31
1. Introduction
By its nature, the employment relationship, since it exposes the worker to
subordination, generates a type of vulnerability that labour law (through its legal
and also contractual component represented by collective labour agreements)
seeks to compensate. Lately, not only has this disadvantage been maintained as it
derives from the nature of the employment relationship but it has also been
accentuated, as an effect of the new contractual arrangements present on the labour
market. However, there is a certain evolution which fundamentally marks the
position of the worker in the employment relationship and even beyond it. It is the
very profile of the worker, who has acquired new traits. Today, the contemporary
worker asserts himself above all as a citizen, intervenes as a holder of the right to
environmental protection, reacts on identifying acts of corruption and reports
violations of the law. The worker of today is more educated, more involved in
social and civic issues, asserts his non-patrimonial rights, such as the right to
private life; she is, in fact, more sophisticated, more creative (which generates
interesting problems of distribution of intellectual property rights in relation to the
1 Raluca Dimitriu Department of Law, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania,

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