International Labor Organization

Topics: International Labour Organization, International labour standards, United Nations Pages: 8 (2207 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Name: Jamsed Mohamud

Student ID: 091363

Module: Labour Laws

International Labor Organization (ILO) 

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labor issues. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

As stated by its Director-General, "the primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity." In working towards this goal, the organization seeks to promote employment creation, strengthen fundamental principles and rights at work—workers' rights, improve social protection, and promote social dialogue, as well as provide relevant information, training, and technical assistance. At present, the ILO's work is organized into four thematic groupings or sectors:

(1) Standards and fundamental principles and rights at work;

(2) Employment;

(3) Social Protection; and

(4) Social Dialogue.

Founded in 1919, it was formed through the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, and was initially an agency of the League of Nations. It became a member of the United Nations system after the demise of the League and the formation of the UN at the end of World War II, as the first specialized agency associated with that body. Its Constitution, as amended to date, includes the Declaration of Philadelphia (1944) on the aims and purposes of the Organization. Its secretariat is known as the International Labor Office and its current Director-General is Juan Somavia (since 1999). While the organization has its critics, there are, as its Nobel Peace Prize citation said in 1969, "few organizations that have succeeded to the extent that the ILO has, in translating into action the fundamental moral idea on which it is based." "Beneath the foundation stone of the ILO's main office in Geneva lies a document," stated Aase Lionaes, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, "on which is written: 'Si vis pacem, cole justitiam.' If you desire peace, cultivate justice".

The ILO, like other labor unions, arose to correct conditions of injustice in pay. However, labor unions can also harm companies when they push too hard for wages or benefits, or demand pay for unproductive workers. In a competitive global market, they have driven many manufacturing companies out of the United States and other industrialized countries. Ultimately, cooperation between labor and management is required in which both sides see beyond their own interests to develop harmonious strategies that work for both capital and labor.

Functions of ILO:

The functions of the ILO include the development and promotion of standards for national legislation to protect and improve working conditions and standards of living. The ILO also provides technical assistance in social policy and administration and in workforce training; fosters cooperative organizations and rural industries; compiles labour statistics and conducts research on the social problems of international competition, unemployment and underemployment, labour and industrial relations, and technological change (including automation); and helps to protect the rights of international migrants and organized labour.

In its first decade the ILO was primarily concerned with legislative and research efforts, with defining and promoting proper minimum standards of labour legislation for adoption by member states, and with arranging for collaboration among workers, employers, government delegates, and ILO professional staff. During the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s the ILO sought ways to combat widespread unemployment. With the postwar breakup of the European colonial empires and the expansion of ILO membership to include poorer and less developed countries, the ILO addressed itself to new issues, including the social problems created by the liberalization...
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