Recipients of the Pierre-Verge Scholarship
Mr Sébastien Parent
PhD candidate, Université de Montréal
In his thesis entitled Les droits et libertés fondamentaux du salarié au travers du prisme de la relation d’emploi (The Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Employee Through the Prism of the Employment Relationship), Sébastien Parent seeks to understand the influence of norms specific to labour law in the interpretation of the fundamental rights of the employee.
The theory of fundamental rights and the phenomenon of constitutionalization of labour law heralded the advent of citizenship at work: as a holder of fundamental rights against state powers in society, it seemed normal that the employee could also oppose them to employers’ powers. These guarantees are inherent to all human beings, universal and inalienable. Under the hierarchical effect of the Quebec Charter, rights and freedoms have been introduced into the employment relationship. However, because they are stated in general and abstract terms, their concrete implementation in the workplace requires the intervention of the courts.
Based on a study of the decisions that have interpreted freedom of expression and the right to privacy over the past decade, the candidate’s work demonstrates that labour judges exploit the indeterminate nature of rights and freedoms in order to modulate them to the prescriptions of labour law norms, including those stemming from labour legislation, contract of employment, collective agreement and workplace rules. These traditional sources of labour law therefore condition the exercise of employees’ freedoms in the workplace and allow employers to impose a number of restrictions on them. However, the hierarchy of sources of labour law requires that priority be given to the quasi-constitutional guarantees of the Quebec Charter over the ordinary norms in labour law.
The thesis then discusses the important consequences of this reversal of the pyramid of norms, both in terms of the coherence of the legal system and the protection of workers. It also proposes solutions so that the status of employee and human person can finally be reconciled.
Sébastien Parent is currently completing the doctoral program at the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in law as well as a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations from the same university. The relevance of his research project has been recognized by the awarding of various doctoral grants (FRQSC, Faculty of Law (UdeM), CRIMT and the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE)). During his PhD, he completed a research stay at the Centre de droit comparé du travail et de la sécurité sociale (COMPTRASEC), at the Université de Bordeaux. His various publications and media interventions over the past few years demonstrate his concern for establishing a dialogue with both academic circles and actors in the world of work. He contributes to the Partnership on Institutional Experimentation for Better Work (CRIMT-SSHRC), notably by studying the role of the mobilization of charters and the creative aspect of law in improving worker protection.
Ms Majda Lamkhioued
PhD candidate, Université de Montréal
In her thesis entitled Abusive working conditions in the West African fishing sector: a socio-legal analysis of obstacles to the implementation of international labour law, Majda Lamkhioued examines the obstacles to the effective implementation of international labour law to protect workers in the West African fishing sector.
Over the past decade, numerous investigations have brought to light the deplorable working conditions in global supply chains in the fisheries sector. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers work in the fishing industry to be one of the most dangerous. On board fishing vessels, workers face multiple hazards and particularly harsh working conditions, mainly due to weather conditions, and a slippery and constantly moving working environment.
On a global scale, abuses of workers’ rights on board ships are extremely difficult to document as they take place far from the coast, out of sight, with no possibility for workers to escape or to seek justice.
This thesis project examines the impacts of globalisation and the reconfiguration of supply chains in the fisheries sector on West African workers’ rights.
It has two objectives. Firstly, it aims to analyse the application of international labour law, and particularly the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188), in the West African region. Secondly, through a field survey in Senegal, the aim is to document how workers in the fisheries sector use the protections offered by labour law.
By focusing on the experiences of aggrieved workers and their use of the regulations intended for them, this research project will make it possible to measure the effects of international labour standards on the working conditions of West African fishermen, but also to understand the relationship that these fishermen have with the legal resources available to them.
The results of this study will help to identify ways to improve working conditions in the fisheries sector, not only for the West African region but also for the maritime industry in general, which faces similar challenges.
Majda Lamkhioued is currently a doctoral candidate in the Law Faculty at Université de Montréal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from ESPOL in France and a master’s degree in international law from the Université de Montréal. She has several professional experiences in NGOs and international organisations, including the Labour Migration and Human Development Division at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Geneva. She has also carried out various mandates as a research assistant for various actors involved in the defence and promotion of workers’ rights. Her research interests focus on policies and practices to prevent abusive recruitment practices and labour exploitation in global supply chains.