CHAPTER 19

LABOUR

Article 19.1:  Definitions

For the purposes of this Chapter:

ILO Declaration means the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up (1998);

labour laws means statutes and regulations, or provisions of statutes and regulations, of a Party that are directly related to the following internationally recognised labour rights:

 (a)       freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

 (b)       the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;

 (c)       the effective abolition of child labour, a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour and other labour protections for children and minors;

 (d)       the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and

 (e)       acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages1, hours of work, and occupational safety and health;

statutes and regulations and statutes or regulations means:2

(a)       for   Australia,   Acts   of   the   Commonwealth   Parliament,   or regulations made by the Governor-General in Council under delegated   authority   under   an   Act   of   the   Commonwealth Parliament;

 (b)      for  Malaysia,  the  Federal  Constitution,  Acts  of  Parliament  and subsidiary   legislation   or   regulations   made   under   Acts   of Parliament;

 (c)     for Mexico, Acts of Congress or regulations and provisions promulgated pursuant to Acts of Congress and, for the purposes of this Chapter, includes the Constitution of the United Mexican States; and

 (d)      for the United States, Acts of Congress or regulations promulgated pursuant to Acts of Congress and, for the purposes of this Chapter, includes the Constitution of the United States.

Article 19.2:  Statement of Shared Commitment

1.         The Parties affirm their obligations as members of the ILO, including those stated in the ILO Declaration, regarding labour rights within their territories.

2.         The Parties recognise that, as stated in paragraph 5 of the ILO Declaration, labour standards should not be used for protectionist trade purposes.

Article 19.3:  Labour Rights

1.         Each Party shall adopt and maintain in its statutes and regulations, and practices thereunder, the following rights as stated in the ILO Declaration3, 4:

(a)       freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

 (b)       the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;

 (c)       the effective abolition of child labour and, for the purposes of this

Agreement, a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour; and

(d)       the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

2.         Each Party shall adopt and maintain statutes and regulations, and practices thereunder, governing acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.5

Article 19.4:  Non Derogation

The Parties recognise that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing the protections afforded in each Party’s labour laws.   Accordingly, no Party shall waive or otherwise derogate from, or offer to waive or otherwise derogate from, its statutes or regulations:

 (a)      implementing Article 19.3.1 (Labour Rights), if the waiver or derogation would be inconsistent with a right set out in that paragraph; or

 (b)      implementing Article 19.3.1 (Labour Rights) or Article 19.3.2 , if the waiver or derogation would weaken or reduce adherence to a right set out in Article 19.3.1, or to a condition of work referred to in Article 19.3.2, in a special trade or customs area, such as an export  processing  zone  or  foreign  trade  zone,  in  the  Party’s territory,

in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties.

Article 19.5:  Enforcement of Labour Laws

1.         No  Party  shall  fail  to  effectively  enforce  its  labour  laws  through  a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction in a manner affecting trade or investment  between  the  Parties  after  the  date  of  entry  into  force  of  this Agreement.

2.         If a Party fails to comply with an obligation under this Chapter, a decision made by that Party on the provision of enforcement resources shall not excuse that failure.  Each Party retains the right to exercise reasonable enforcement discretion and to make bona fide decisions with regard to the allocation of enforcement resources between labour enforcement activities among the fundamental labour rights and acceptable conditions of work enumerated in Article 19.3.1 (Labour Rights) and Article 19.3.2, provided that the exercise of that discretion, and those decisions, are not inconsistent with its obligations under this Chapter.

3.         Nothing  in  this  Chapter  shall  be  construed  to  empower  a  Party’s authorities  to  undertake  labour  law  enforcement  activities  in  the  territory  of another Party.

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