International Labour Organisation (ILO)

International Labour Organisation (ILO)


Basics and Background:
  • It is the only tripartite United Nations agency, bringing together governments, employers and workers representatives from its 187 member states to devise international labour standards.
  • It became the first specialized agency of UN in 1946.
  • Established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versaillesas an affiliated agency of the League of Nation (LoN).
  • Became the first affiliated specialized agencyof 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 theNobel Peace Prize in 1969.


Structure of ILO:
  • 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.
  • Governing Body:it is the executive council of the ILO. It meets three times a year in Geneva.
  • International Labour Office:it is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization.
  • Regional meetings of the ILO member States are held periodically to examine matters of special interest to the regions concerned.


  • 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.


  • Creation of coordinated policies and programs,directed at solving social and labour issues.
  • Adoption of international labour standardsin the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation.
  • Assistance to member-statesin 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 issue


Eight-core conventions of the ILO:
  • 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)


ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:
  • 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)


Contribution of ILO:
  • Workers right: The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
  • Reducing forced labour and providing minimum wage scale: The organisation has set uniform, universal standards for corporations to follow.
  • Employment: From advice to government policies to direct training to poor communities.
  • Migrants: Protection of Migrant workers.
  • Reducing Child Labour: To eradicate child labour, the ILO had launched International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) in 1992.
  • HIV/AIDS: The ILO is the lead UN-agency on HIV workplace policies and programmes and private sector mobilization.


India and ILO
  • India is a founding member of the ILO and it has been a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body since 1922.
  • In India, the first ILO Office was started in 1928. The decades of productive partnership between the ILO and its constituents has mutual trust and respect as underlying principles and is grounded in building sustained institutional capacities and strengthening capacities of partners.
  • India has ratified six out of the eight-core/fundamental ILO conventions. These conventions 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)
  • India has not ratifiedthe two core/fundamental conventions, namely Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).


Global Commission on the Future of Work:
  • The formation of an ILO Global Commission on the Future of Workmarks the second stage in the ILO Future of Work Initiative.
  • It was co-chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosaand Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.
  • The commission outlines a vision for a human-centred agenda that is based on investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and decent and sustainable work.
  • It has undertaken an in-depth examination of the future of work that can provide the analytical basis for the delivery of social justice in the 21stcentury.
  • It outlines thechallenges caused by new technology, climate change and demography and calls for a collective global response to the disruptions they are causing in the world of work.


  • A universal labour guaranteethat protects the fundamental rights of workers’, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces.
  • Guaranteed social protectionfrom birth to old age that supports people’s needs over the life cycle.
  • A universal entitlement to lifelong learning that enables people to skill, reskill and upskill.
  • Managing technological changeto boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms.
  • Greater investmentsin the care, green and rural economies.
  • A transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality.
  • Reshaping business incentivesto encourage long-term investments.


Universal ratification of Convention 182:
  • The historic first universal ratification of a global labour standardmay be an occasion for celebration; it is nonetheless a moment for sober reflection.
  • ILO Director General celebrates the universal ratification of ILO Convention No. 182, the first ILO Convention in history to achieve universal ratification.
  • As of this day, children benefit from critical legal protection from the worst forms of child labour in every ILO member State.
  • Since its adoption in 1999, ratification of this Convention and ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Agehas ushered in targeted programmes to tackle child labour through education, social protection, and decent work for adults and youth of working age, resulting in a decline in child labour of almost 100 million since 2000.
  • The welcome decision by the Kingdom of Tongato outlaw the worst forms of child labour is the first time in the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s 101-year history that a labour standard has been universally ratified.


ILO conventions of 182:
  • Convention 182,which was adopted in the 1999 annual international labour conference, prohibits the sexual exploitation of children, trafficking, deployment in armed conflict and other conditions that compromise their overall well-being.
  • The Convention complements the ILO’s efforts under the 1973 Minimum Age Conventionto prevent the employment of children below a lower age threshold.
  • Under the influence of both these ILO standards, millions of young boys and girls have been rescued from hazardous conditions of work.
  • Concomitantly, these have resulted in significant increases in enrolments in primary education. The landmark ratification, however, does not detract from the enormity of the challenge that remains.
  • An estimated 152 million are trapped in child labourand 72 million of them are engaged in hazardous work.
  • If anything, current efforts would have to be stepped up significantly to achieve the ambitious goal of total abolition of the scourge of child labour by 2025.
  • But the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening a reversal of recent gains, with widespread job losses, deterioration in conditions of work, decline in household incomes and temporary school closures.


  • Article 21(A) and Article 45– The child has the right to Education i.e. the state shall provide compulsory and free education to the children of the age six to 14 years.
  • Article 24–There is a provision under which a child below the age of 14 years cannot be employed in any mine, factory or hazardous workplace.
  • Article 39(f)–The child’s youth and childhood are to be protected against moral and material abandonment and exploitation.


IPEC+ Flagship Programme:
  • The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and the Special Action Programme to combat Forced Labour (SAP/FL) – to establish a major new force in the fight against child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.
  • It recognizes that these unacceptable forms of work deny workers their basic human rights at work and that, while their overlap concerns 4.5 million children trapped in contemporary forms of slavery, they share root causes of poor governance, discrimination and social exclusion, family and community poverty and lack of access to decent work and to the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • The objective of the IPEC+ Flagship Programme, in line with target 8.7 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, is to provide ILO leadership in global efforts to eradicate all forms of child labour by 2025 and all forms of contemporary slavery and human trafficking by 2030.
  • It also aims to ensure that all people are protected from and can protect themselves against these gross human rights violations.


IPEC+ Flagship Programme and COVID-19:
  • COVID-19 has plunged the world into a crisis of unprecedented scope and scale. The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally.
  • They are expected to be most damaging for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations, such as children in child labour and victims of forced labour and human trafficking, particularly women and girls.
  • These vulnerable groups are more affected by income shocks due to the lack of access to social protection, including health insurance and unemployment benefits.
  • IPEC+ Flagship Programme has developed plans to mitigate the risks and to repurpose its strategy and is seeking to allocate additional funding to support efforts to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on child labour and forced labour.


ILO Publication:
  • World Employment and Social Outlook Report
  • Global Wage Report
  • World Social Protection Report