The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a symbol of social justice, universal peace and human dignity. ILO was established on April 19, 1919 by Versailles Peace Conference as an autonomous body. ILO was the only organisation that survived after the Second World War after dissolution of its parent body, the League of Nations. Since 1919, the ILO has maintained and developed a system of International Labour Standard aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and dignity. In today globalised economy, international standards are an essential component in the international framework for ensuring the growth of the global economy provides benefit to all.
India became member of ILO in 1919, as on original signatory to the treaty of peace. It became specialised agency of United Nations (UN) in 1946. The ILO is new social institution trying to make the word conscious that world peace may be affected by unjust conditions of its working populations. It deals with International Labour Problems. The unique feature of ILO is that it is a tripartite body consisting of representations of employers, labour and government. There are three constituents namely the governments, which finances it, the workers, for whose benefit it is created, and the employers who share responsibility for the welfare of the workers.
Structure of ILO
Objectives of ILO
- To provide employment to workers in the occupation in which they have satisfaction and promotes full employment and raise the standards of living.
- To make provision, as a means to the attachment of this end and under adequate guarantees for all concerned, of facilities for training and the transfer of labour including migration for employment and settlement.
- To establish policies in regard to wages and earning bonus and other conditions of work calculated to ensure a just share of the fruits of progress to all and a minimum living wage to all employed and in need of protection.
- To make an effective recognition for the right of collective bargaining, the cooperation of management and labour in continuous improvement of productive efficiency and the collaboration of workers and employers in social and economic measures.
- To provide extension of social security measures to provide a basic income to all in need of such protection and comprehensive medical care.
- To provide adequate protection for the life and health of workers in all occupations.
- To provide provision for child welfare and maternity protection.
- To provide provision of adequate nutrition, housing and facilities for recreation and culture.
- To provide assurance of educational and vocational opportunity.
Functions of ILO
(1) Adoption of International Standards – The most outstanding technique running common to the various activities of ILO is the adoption of international standards. Although Conventions and Recommendations are the main instruments for setting international standards, recourse to other procedures has also been increasingly made. These include –
- Resolutions and conclusions adopted by expert committees and ad hoc conferences.
- Resolutions and reports adopted by bodies representing the views and interests of particular industries, sectors of economy or types of labour.
- Resolutions and reports of regional conferences and regional technical meetings.
- Resolutions of autonomous bodies dealing with social security questions.
- Model codes on various matters.
(2) Creation of International Standards of Labour – An important activity of ILO is the creation of international standards of labour on various labour and social matters. This is done primarily by the adoption of Conventions and Recommendations. These Conventions and Recommendations have covered a wide variety of areas such as basic human rights, employment, conditions of work, industrial relations, social security, employment of children and women, labour administration, social policy, and matters affecting special categories of workers.
(3) Employment Promotion – ILO assists countries in the pursuit of higher levels of productive employment. The efforts of ILO in this regard comprise –
- Exploring the short- and long-term employment effects of alternative development strategies;
- Aiding the functioning of labour markets through appropriate policies and measures;
- Addressing the employment, income and organisational requirements of unprotected and unorganised labour who form the majority of workforce in the developing countries;
- Assisting in managing the transition from State-run to market- oriented economies;
- Responding to the increased migratory pressure resulting from demographic changes, structural adjustment, and imbalances in world development;
- Encouraging productivity in formal and informal sectors; and
- Protecting especially vulnerable groups and the elimination of discrimination against specific groups.
(4) Collection and Distribution of Information and Publication – ILO has been a world repository of information on labour and social questions and a publishing house. The ILO collects information on a global basis on a wide variety of social and labour subjects and makes them available to the Member countries. Statistics collected by ILO are universally regarded as an authoritative source of statistical information. Research accompanies and reinforces the activities relating to collection of information.
The ILO brings-out a number of authentic publications on major international labour and social issues, standard reference works, technical guides on specialised topics, codes of practice on occupational safety and health, workers’ education materials, and text-books on management.
(5) Research and Studies – Numerous researches and studies relating to specific labour and social issues have been completed under the auspices of ILO and their results published. Some of the more notable areas covered have been industrial relations, social security, working conditions, industrial safety and health, and manpower development.
(6) Training – The ILO has attributed great importance to training. The principal role of ILO in the field of training is that of an advisor. It makes available to the governments, social partners and public and private trainers the services of its experts, training designs and aids in a variety of training programmes such as vocational training, apprenticeship training, and those for the unemployed, women and special target groups.
The ILO has also established the International Training Centre at Turin in Italy. The Centre is committed to the development of human resources based on the principle that “such an investment in human capacity is the most efficient means of social advancement and assuring the future of developing countries or those in transition”.