Brief overview of International Labour Organization ( ILO ) and its core labour standards

International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.ILO was established as an agency for the League of Nations following the first World War It was established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.Its founders had made great strides in social thought and action before the establishment of the organization itself.It became the first specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) in the year 1946.The ILO has played a significant role in promoting labour and human rights. It had held a significant position during the Great Depression (1930s) for ensuring labour rights.It played a key role in the decolonization process and in the victory over apartheid in South Africa.The organization got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969, for its efforts to improve peace amongst the classes, and for promoting justice and fair work for the workers. The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency.

The ILO is a meeting point for governments, workers and employers of ILO’s member States to set labour standards, improve upon policies and create programs that promote decent work for people. The four strategic objectives at the heart of the Decent Work agenda are as follows : 1. To develop and effectuate standards, fundamental principles, and fundamental rights at work. 2. To ensure that men and women have equal access to decent work while enhancing opportunities for the same. 3. To magnify the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for everyone. 4 . To strengthen Tripartism and social dialogue. The basis of the International Labour Organization is the tripartite principle.

The ILO comprises the International Labour Conference, the Governing Body, and the International Labour Office.

1. International Labour Conference: The progressive policies of the ILO are set by the International Labour Conference. The Conference is an annual event, which happens in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference brings together all the representatives of the ILO. Function: It is a panel for the review of the important issues regarding labour.

2.Governing Body: The Governing Body is the executive body of the International Labour Organization. The governing body meets in Geneva. It meets three times annually. The Office is the secretariat of the Organization. It is composed of 56 titular members, and 66 deputy members. Functions: Makes decisions regarding the agenda and the policies of the International Labour Conference. It adopts the draft Programme and Budget of the Organization for submission to the Conference. Election of the Director-General.

3. International Labour Office: It is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization. Functions: It decides the activities for ILO and is supervised by the Governing Body and the Director-General. The ILO member States hold periodically regional meetings to discuss the relevant issues of the concerned regions. Each of the ILO’s 183 Member States has the right to send four delegates to the Conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently.

The ILO plays an important role in the formulation of policies which are focussed on solving labour issues. The ILO also has other functions, such as: It adopts international labour standards. They are adopted in the form of conventions. It also controls the implementation of its conventions. It aids the member states in resolving their social and labour problems. It advocates and works for the protection of Human rights. It is responsible for the research and publication of information regarding social and labour issues. The Trade Unions play a pivotal role in developing policies at the ILO, thus the Bureau for Workers’ Activities at the secretariat is dedicated to strengthening independent and democratic trade unions so they can better defend workers’ rights and interests.

The ILO also assumes a supervisory role: it monitors the implementation of ILO conventions ratified by member states. The implementation is done through the Committee of Experts, the International Labour Conference’s Tripartite Committee and the member-states. Member states are obligated to send reports on the development of the implementation of the conventions they have approved. Registration of complaints: The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules. The ILO, however, does not impose any sanctions on the governments. Complaints can also be filed against member states for not complying with ILO conventions that have been ratified. International Labour Standards: The ILO is also responsible for setting International Labour Standards. The international labour conventions which are set by the ILO are ratified by the member states.

These are mostly non-binding in nature. But once a member state accepts conventions, it becomes legally binding. The conventions are often used to bring national laws in alignment with international standards. It is the only tripartite U.N. agency. It brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. History of the International Labour Organization: Established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations. Became the first affiliated specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland Founding Mission: social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace. Promotes internationally recognized human and labour rights. Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. For improving peace among classes Pursuing decent work and justice for workers Providing technical assistance to other developing nations.

The organization has played a key role in Ensuring labour rights during the Great Depression Decolonization process The creation of Solidarność ( trade union) in Poland The victory over apartheid in South Africa Today it is providing substantial support in the building of an ethical and productive framework for fair globalization. The basis of the ILO is the tripartite principle, i.e. the negotiations within the organization are held between the representatives of governments, trade unions, and member-states’ employers. Structure of International Labour Organization: The ILO accomplishes its work through three main bodies which comprise governments’, employers’ and workers’ representatives: International Labour Conference: it sets the International labour standards and the broad policies of the ILO. It meets annually in Geneva. It is often referred to as an International Parliament of Labour.

It is also a forum for discussion of key social and labour questions. Governing Body: it is the executive council of the ILO. It meets three times a year in Geneva. It takes policy decisions of ILO and establishes the programme and the budget, which it then submits to the Conference for adoption. The work of the Governing Body and the Office is aided by tripartite committees covering major industries. It is also supported by committees of experts on such matters as vocational training, management development, occupational safety and health, industrial relations, workers’ education, and special problems of women and young workers. International Labour Office: it is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization. It is the focal point for ILO’s overall activities, which it prepares under the scrutiny of the Governing Body and under the leadership of the Director-General. Regional meetings of the ILO member States are held periodically to examine matters of special interest to the regions concerned. The Functions of the ILO Creation of coordinated policies and programs, directed at solving social and labour issues.

Adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation. Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems. Human rights protection (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.). Research and publication of works on social and labour issues. Objectives of the International Labour Organization are as follows: To promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work. To create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment. To enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all. To strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.

International Labour Standards The ILO sets international labour standards with conventions, which are ratified by member states. These are non-binding. Conventions are drawn up with input from governments, workers’ and employers’ groups at the ILO and are adopted by the International Labour Conference. In ratifying an ILO convention, a member state accepts it as a legally binding instrument. Many countries use conventions as a tool to bring national laws in line with international standards. International Labour Organization: Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work It was adopted in 1998, the Declaration commits member states to respect and promote eight fundamental principles and rights in four categories, whether or not they have ratified the relevant conventions.

They are:

Freedom of Association and The Right to collective bargaining (Conventions 87 and 98)

Elimination of forced or compulsory labour (Conventions No. 29 and No. 105)

Abolition of child labour (Conventions No. 138 and No. 182)

Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation (Conventions No. 100 and No. 111)

International Labour Organization – Core Conventions

The eight fundamental conventions form an indispensable part of the United Nations Human Rights Framework, and their sanction is an important sign of member States’ commitment to human rights. Overall, 135 member States have ratified all eight fundamental conventions.

The eight-core conventions of the International Labour Organization are:

Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)

Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)

Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)

Minimum Age Convention (No.138) Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)

Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)

The conventions are highly relevant due to the economic challenges faced by workers all around the world. Core labour standards of ILO – It privileges a set of four ‘core labour standards’ consisting of freedom of association, freedom from forced labour and from child labour, and non-discrimination in employment.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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