ILO reports on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
25 May 2012
GENEVA (ILO NEWS) – The ILO has issued a report on the worldwide situation concerning its fundamental principles and rights of work – freedom of association and collective bargaining, forced and child labour and discrimination.
Entitled Fundamental principles and rights at work: From commitment to action, the report will be discussed at the 101st International Labour Conference, to be held between 30 May and 14 June 2012 in Geneva.
The report is the first on these fundamental principles to be issued under the ILO’s 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization and underscores the particular significance of these rights to maintain the link between social progress and economic growth.
“The report looks at the real life complexities of the world of work, seeks to identify key challenges and opportunities, and above all to identify exactly what the ILO, together with its member States and the social partners should be doing to overcome them,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Executive Director for Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The report underlines that respect of fundamental principles and rights at work is widely recognized as a key to fair and sustainable globalization and, as one of the pillars of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, a precondition for social justice for all.
The report notes that more than half of the world’s population is in countries that have yet to ratify ILO Conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining, even though some 90 per cent of the ILO’s 184 Member States have ratified all eight fundamental conventions.
“This does not mean that the job is 90 per cent done”, Mr. Ryder said. “Ratification does not always mean respect of rights, and non-ratification does not necessarily mean non-respect.”
The report points to the specific circumstances of those in the informal economy – who constitute up to 90 per cent of working people in many developing economies – and other categories who face specific difficulties in exercising their rights.
In the report, the ILO’s existing means of action are subjected to detailed critical examination with a view to maximizing their impact. Emerging areas of activity often taking place outside the ILO are also identified, including the inclusion of labour issues in trade agreements, and private voluntary initiatives.
“This report aims to take forward the universal commitment to fundamental principles and rights at work to more effective action for their realization”, Mr. Ryder says. “More than ever in times of crisis, when conditions of work are coming under pressure in many countries it is important to hold the line in ensuring that rights at work are not undermined and to carry on the road to their universal realization."
The Conference will also discuss the “General Survey” of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations examining for the first time the challenges and successes in implementing all eight fundamental ILO Conventions. The fundamental Conventions are Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining, Nos. 29 and 105 on forced labour, Nos. 100 and 111 on discrimination, and Nos. 138 and 182 on child labour. The discussion of the General Survey will feed into the discussion of the report on fundamental principles and rights at work, focussing on the ILO’s unique comparative advantage; its international labour standards.