SDG indicator 8.8.2 – Level of national compliance with labour rights (freedom of association and collective bargaining) based on ILO textual sources and national legislation

Table of Contents


In 2018, the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians adopted a resolution concerning SDG indicator 8.8.2. The Conference recommended that the ILO adopt the proposed methodology and confirmed that the ILO should be the custodian agency for the indicator.

The indicator measures the level of national compliance with freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining for all ILO member states based on six ILO supervisory body textual sources and also on national legislation for member states that have not ratified either or both key ILO Conventions (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)).

The indicator is based on the coding of the textual sources against a detailed list of evaluation criteria with the coding then converted into the indicator. It has a range from 0 to 10, with 0 being the best possible score (indicating higher levels of compliance with FACB rights) and 10 the worst (indicating lower levels of compliance with FACB rights).

Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining rights

The principles of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining have long been at the core of the ILO’s normative foundations. With the adoption of the 1998 ILO Declaration, the promotion and realization of these fundamental principles and rights also became a constitutional obligation of all ILO member States.  Freedom of association and the effective recognition of collective bargaining are considered ‘enabling rights’, the realization of which is necessary to promote and realize other rights at work. They provide an essential foundation for social dialogue, effective labour market governance and the realization of decent work. These rights are vital in enabling employers and workers to associate and efficiently negotiate work relations, to ensure that both employers and workers have an equal voice in negotiations, and that the outcome is fair and equitable. As such they play a crucial role in the elaboration of economic and social policies that account for the interests and needs of all actors in the economy.

Together with other international labour standards, these rights are backed by the ILO’s unique supervisory system. Through its supervisory bodies, the ILO regularly examines the application of standards in member States and highlights areas where these standards are violated and where they could be better applied.

Coding of textual sources

A database underlying the country scores is also available to allow the user to understand:

  • the detailed coding underlying the individual country scores;
  • the changes in the underlying coding that determine the changes in the individual country scores over time;
  • the types and occurrences of non-compliance coded over time and across all ILO member States.

The database contains the “Text” on which the coding is based. The unit of analysis for the text is the paragraph. The “Text” displays the paragraphs from the textual sources in which non-compliance is identified by an ILO supervisory body or in the relevant articles of the national legislation for countries that have not ratified either or both ILO Conventions No. 87 and/or No. 98.

The coding can be searched by one or more categories:

  • Country
  • Year
  • Type of organization (employers and/or workers)
  • Type of evaluation criteria as per:
    • In law and/or in practice
    • Main categories
    • Individual evaluation criterion
  • Type of textual source

Data can be viewed in two ways:

  • “1. Primary Report” (default) – lists data as filtered by the user with the “Text” displayed in each row.
  • “2. With Control break” – lists data in a truncated manner for easier overview of all coding with the “Text” being displayed upon expanding the control break.

Download – under “Actions”, the data can be downloaded in CVS, HTML, Excel and PDF formats.


Selecting evaluation criteria – the dropdown window for evaluation criteria first lists the evaluation criteria related to employers and their organizations, followed by evaluation criteria related to workers and their organizations. The organization type can, however, be filtered separately.

Select all is the default application – when nothing is filtered, the database lists all coded texts.

Under “Actions” the user can set the number of rows displayed on a page.


Textual sources

List of evaluation criteria and weights

The coding of textual sources is carried out against a list of evaluation criteria for both workers and their organizations and employers and their organizations. The evaluation criteria are grouped into main categories and are split into in law and in practice criteria.

Violations in law refer to national legislation that is not in conformity with FACB rights as defined by the ILO as well as to actions taken on the basis of such legislation.

Violations in practice refer to acts committed and in violation of the existing national legislation that is in conformity with FACB rights as defined by the ILO.

Weights (ranging from 1 to 2) are added to each evaluation criteria. The weights were constructed through the application of the Delphi method of survey of experts involving two rounds of surveys conducted via email of internationally‐recognized experts in labour law having knowledge of the ILO’s supervisory system and particular knowledge of FACB rights as defined by the ILO.


The coding uses the letters “a” through “g” (with each letter corresponding to one of the seven textual sources) to represent coded non-compliance for each evaluation criteria. The coding of textual sources is transformed into binary coding, with 1 assigned to observed non-compliance and 0 to no observed non-compliance (unweighted raw scores). The binary coding is then multiplied by the weights as derived from the Delphi method of surveys of experts (weighted raw scores). The final scores are the weighted raw scores normalized to range from 0 to 10.

The formula for the normalization of the weighted raw scores is:


where x = the weighted non-normalized score for a given country and year and is capped at 95.

In cases of all-encompassing violations of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights (i.e. the coding of “General prohibition of the right to establish and join organizations” in law, “General prohibition of the development of independent organizations” in practice, “General prohibition of the right to collective bargaining” in law, or “General prohibition of collective bargaining” in practice), a “load” of 3.5 will be added to the normalized score of the country.

Chapeau and explanatory text

Based on consultation with the tripartite constituents, the following texts are prominently presented in the reporting of SDG indicator 8.8.2:

Chapeau text

“SDG indicator 8.8.2 seeks to measure the level of national compliance with fundamental labour rights (freedom of association and collective bargaining). It is based on six International Labour Organization (ILO) supervisory body textual sources and also on national legislation. National law is not enacted for the purpose of generating a statistical indicator of compliance with fundamental rights, nor were any of the ILO textual sources created for this purpose. Indicator 8.8.2 is compiled from these sources and its use does not constitute a waiver of the respective ILO Constituents’ divergent points of view on the sources’ conclusions.” (ICLS 2018 Resolution, p. 17)

Explanatory text

“SDG indicator 8.8.2 is not intended as a tool to compare compliance among ILO member States. It should specifically be noted that reporting obligations of an ILO member State to the ILO’s supervisory system and thus ILO textual sources are different for ratifying and non‐ratifying ILO member States.” (ICLS 2018 Resolution, p. 18)

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