CPTPP outcomes: Labour

The CPTPP Labour Chapter promotes compliance with internationally-recognised labour rights, enhanced cooperation and consultation on labour issues, and effective enforcement of labour laws in CPTPP Parties.

Key outcomes

The Chapter reaffirms CPTPP Parties’ obligations as members of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and requires Parties to have laws at the federal level of government that enshrine the rights stated in the ILO Declaration.

Building on internationally-recognised labour rights (freedom of association, collective bargaining, elimination of compulsory labour, abolition of child labour, and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation), CPTPP Parties are required to have laws governing acceptable conditions of work relating to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational health and safety. CPTPP Parties will, where appropriate, liaise and collaborate with international organisations such as the ILO or APEC.

CPTPP Parties recognise that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening the protections of labour laws or their enforcement. Accordingly, the Labour Chapter prohibits CPTPP Parties from weakening the protections afforded to workers under their labour laws, or from failing to enforce them in a manner affecting trade and investment. The Chapter also promotes initiatives to discourage the importation of goods produced by forced or compulsory labour, including child labour.

The CPTPP promotes cooperation between Parties on labour issues. Areas identified for cooperation include job creation, sustainable growth and skill development, promotion of equality and the elimination of discrimination against women, and protection of vulnerable workers.

CPTPP Parties have agreed to form a Labour Council with representatives from each Party. The Council’s responsibilities will include: establishing priorities for cooperation and capacity building; facilitating public participation in, and awareness of, the implementation of the Chapter; and reviewing the implementation of the Chapter to ensure it is operating effectively.

The Department of Jobs and Small Business manages Australia’s engagement with the International Labour Organization and is the contact point for international labour issues in Australia. Written submissions about matters related to the CPTPP Labour Chapter may be sent to tradeandlabour@jobs.gov.au. In order for submissions to be considered, please include:

  • Information about the person or organisation making the submission
  • The nature of the issue and how it is directly related to the Labour Chapter
  • An explanation of how and to what extent the issue raised affects trade or investment between Australia and any of the CPTPP countries.

The Government may request additional information necessary to consider the substance of the submission. Once all relevant information has been received, the submission will be considered within 90 days.

Workers in Australia, including temporary foreign workers, are entitled to basic rights and protections at work.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is the Australian Government agency that promotes harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensures compliance with Australian workplace laws. Issues relating to the operation of national workplace laws should be raised with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Should a dispute arise between CPTPP Parties under the terms of this Chapter, Parties must make every effort to resolve the dispute through cooperation and consultation. However, should that process fail to resolve the dispute, CPTPP Parties will have access to the same CPTPP dispute settlement procedure that applies to other Chapters in the Agreement.

Fact sheet last update: December 2018

Last Updated: 5 February 2019