• Understand what International Labour Standards (ILS) are and how they are created and supervised• Introduce the International Labour Organisation Fundamental (Core) Conventions• Introduce the principles of universality and flexibility of ILS• Outline the use and application of ILS
• International Labour Organization maintains and develops a system of International Labour Standards (ILS)• ILS aim to promote opportunities for men and women to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.• The ILO asserts that International Labour Standards are essential component for ensuring that the growth of the global economy provides benefits to all.
• what are international labour standards?• How are they created; applied; and supervised?
• ILS are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO’s constituents (governments, employers and workers) setting out basic principles and rights at work.• ILS take two forms: • conventions, which are legally binding international treaties that may be ratified by member states, • recommendations, which serve as non-binding guidelines.
• In many cases, a convention lays down the basic principles to be implemented by ratifying countries, while a related recommendation supplements the convention by providing more detailed guidelines on how it could be applied.• Recommendations can also be autonomous, i.e: not linked to any convention.
• International Labour Standards (both conventions and recommendations) are drawn up by representatives of governments, employers and workers and are adopted at the ILO’s annual International Labour Conference.• Once adopted, a standard have to be submitted by the member states to their competent authority (normally the parliament) for consideration.
• Ratification of ILO conventions are voluntary.• Ratification is a formal procedure whereby a state accepts the convention as a legally binding instrument. A country is subject to the ILO’s regular supervisory system responsible for ensuring that ratified conventions are applied.
Let’s look at two special categories of ILS• Fundamental (Core Conventions)• Priority Conventions
• Eight ILO conventions (covering four labour standards – known as the Fundamental (or Core) Labour Standards) - are designated as “Fundamental”.• They are legally binding upon members by virtue of membership in the ILO, regardless of ratification.• They came into being through the 1998 “ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”
These 8 conventions (4 standards) are:• freedom of association (Conv. No. 87) and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining (Conv. No. 98)• the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour (Conv No. 29 and 105)• the effective abolition of child labour (Conv. No 138, 182)• The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation (Conv. No. 100, 111)
• There are currently over 1,290 ratifications of these conventions,• This represents 88.5% of the possible number of ratifications.
• Four ILO Conventions (covering 3 standards) are designated as “priority” instruments because of their importance to the functioning of the international labour standards system.• They cover: • Labour Inspection (No. 81 and No 129 for Agriculture) • Tripartite Consultation – Government, Employers organizations and Workers’ organizations (No. 144) • Employment Policy (No. 122)
• Freedom of Association, • Wages Collective Bargaining, and • Working Time Industrial Relations • Occupational Safety and• Elimination Forced Labour Health• Abolition of Child Labour and • Social Security Protection of Children and Young Persons • Maternity Protection• Equality of Opportunity and • Social Policy Treatment • Migrant Workers• Tripartite Consultation • Seafarers• Labour Administration and • Fishermen Inspection • Dockworkers• Employment Policy and • Indigenous and Tribal Promotion Peoples• Vocational Guidance and • Specific Categories of Training Workers• Employment Security
• It all starts from a growing international concern on which action is needed to be taken, Example: providing working women with maternity protection, or ensuring safe working conditions for agricultural workers, etc.• ILS are developed through a unique tripartite legislative process involving representatives of governments, workers and employers from around the world.
• Problem is identified; placed on the agenda of a future International Labour Conference (ILC); a report on the problem is prepared and circulated problem is discussed at the International Labour Conference. comments taken second report prepared for the following Conference necessary amendments made adoption by a two-thirds majority of votes.• This “double discussion” gives Conference participants sufficient time to examine the draft instrument and make comments on it.
• Standards are adopted by a two-thirds majority – hence are expression of universally acknowledged principles.• standards are flexible enough to be translated into national law and practice with due consideration to members’ diversity (cultural and institutional, legal, and economic). • For example, standards on minimum wages do not set a specific universal minimum wage; it requires each country to establish a system and the machinery to fix minimum wage rates appropriate to its level of development.
• At present there are 188 conventions and 199 recommendations, some dating back as far as 1919.• To maintain relevance of standards to today’s challenges, the ILO adopts revising conventions that replace older ones, or protocols which add new provisions to older conventions.• The International Labour Conference may also approve the withdrawal of recommendations or conventions which have not entered into force.
• Between 1995 and 2002 the Governing Body reviewed all ILO standards adopted before 1985, the decision: • 71 conventions – including the fundamental and priority conventions and those adopted after 1985 – were designated as being “up-to-date” and recommended for active promotion. • Of the remaining standards, some needed to be revised, some had an interim status, some were outdated, and some others require further information and study.• In 1997 the ILO Constitution was amended to allow abrogation of a convention in force if recognized as obsolete by two-thirds vote of delegates in International Labour Conference.
• for drafting and implementing labour law in conformity with internationally accepted standards.• As sources of international law applied at the national level (e.g. in courts to decide cases on which national law is inadequate or silent)• As guideline for social policy such as employment policies; social security administration systems and for systems of labour dispute resolution• In trade agreements to protect and/or promote labour rights• As guides or principles for socially-responsible enterprise practices