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The Idea of Labour Law$
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Guy Davidov and Brian Langille

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693610.001.0001

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Theories of Rights as Justifications for Labour Law

Theories of Rights as Justifications for Labour Law

Chapter:
(p.137) 9 Theories of Rights as Justifications for Labour Law
Source:
The Idea of Labour Law
Author(s):

Hugh Collins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693610.003.0010

The chapter assesses whether two kinds of theories of fundamental rights, namely the natural law tradition underlying the international protection of human rights and the liberal political tradition that awards rights priority in theories of justice, provide an adequate grounding for a system of labour law. Having criticised the former view on the ground that international labour rights lack the qualities of universalism and a strong moral imperative, the chapter argues that liberal theories of rights, as in the work of John Rawls, have the potential, to provide a grounding for some but not all important dimensions of labour law. Finally, it is suggested that within the liberal tradition, the project of basing rights on respect for dignity as well as liberty, has a better potential for providing a justification for the kinds of solidarity rights that are needed to underpin collective labour law.

Keywords:   rights, labour law, theory of justice, international labour rights, dignity, Rawls, Waldron, social rights

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