Introduction to International Labour Organistion by Shikha at LexCliq

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations institution dedicated to improving opportunities for women and men to acquire decent and productive working conditions that are free, equitable, secure, and respectful of human dignity. It is dedicated towards protection of workers’ rights by establishing minimum standards for participating countries to follow in both principle and practice. The ILO is not a judicial organization, instead, it attempts to establish norms and laws that are accepted by member countries and also ensures that the member nations are following the norms and rules set by the it. All UN members are automatically enrolled in any programs run by UN. However, despite being members of the UN, some countries are not members of the ILO convention.

It was established in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles, which brought World War I to a close. Its foundational concepts are based on the preamble of the ILO Convention of 1919, as well as the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944. The ILO expanded its goals in 1998 when it adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These principles and rights provide the right to freedom for forming association and collective bargaining; and the elimination of child labour, forced labour and discrimination linked to employment.

The functioning of ILO is based on the three principles. They are the guiding principles behind the formation of any policy and document by ILO. These principles are:

  • Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice (1919).
  • Labour is not a commodity (1944).
  • Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere (1944).

Participants in ILO

ILO is a Trip-a-tile UN agency, which includes:

  1. Government
  2. Employers
  3. Workers

All these participants together form the policies at ILO. Every member nation have 4 representatives of them in ILO, 2 government representatives, 1 industries representative and 1 worker representative and each have their individual vote.

How To Become A Member Of ILO

  • From the very beginning; When UN was made in 1945, the countries who joined UN in 1945 they automatically became the member of ILO.
  • Through general assembly countries were suppose to communicate to general assembly that they are accepting the obligation given under ILO while joining UN.
  • Managed by ILO: In the yearly general conference of ILO, country (one which needs membership) will go to the Director General of the Labour office and will tell them that the country is ready to accept the obligations. Than this offer of the aspirant member country will be presented to the delegates (existing members of ILO) of conference. Where it is mandatory to be approved by 2/3 majority and out of the majority approvals, again it is important that have 2/3 by the government delegates only(it is more like majority out of majority).

Permanent body of ILO

  1. General conference of representation of the members. They meet once in a year. The 187 nations are its members unless they withdraw.
  1. Governing body (executive body). The body meets 3 times a year i.e. in March, June, November. It is responsible for deciding the agenda, policy, budget, functioning. There is total 56 members (titular members) :
  • 28 government representatives.
  • 14 employers representation
  • 14 workers representation.

Meeting and Voting

Every individual will have their individual vote, 4 votes with every member nation (i.e. 2 representatives of government will have their 2 votes, 1 vote is with industry representative and 1 is with worker representative).

Quorum  required: has to be half of the present delegates i.e. at least 50% or more attending member must cast the vote otherwise voting will be void.

Vote required: Simple majority if not a Majority it has to be 2/3 majority. In which abstention and absent members are excluded.



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