The International Labour Organization—a United Nations specialized agency with 187 Member States—drafts and oversees compliance with international labor standards, as set down in the various conventions drafted under its auspices. The ILO Constitution also provides for two grievance mechanisms for asserting that a Member State is not fulfilling its obligations under a particular ILO convention: the complaints procedure and the representation procedure.
The complaints procedure allows for the consideration of complaints against a Member State by: another Member State of the same convention, a delegate to the International Labour Conference (of Member States), or the ILO Governing Body. A Commission of Inquiry may be formed to investigate the allegation.
The representation procedure allows employers and workers unions to make representations to the ILO Governing Body that a Member State has in some way failed to observe its obligations under an ILO convention. A three-member committee may be set up to review the allegation and Member State’s response, both of which may be published if the Governing Body determines that the State’s response was unsatisfactory.
Independently, the Committee on Freedom of Association also receives complaints regarding violations of freedom of association from employers and workers organizations against States, regardless of whether the State has ratified the relevant conventions. The Committee may issue a report and make recommendations to the State if it decides there has been a violation. Since its inception in 1951, the Committee has reviewed more than 3,000 complaints.
ILO Member States submit periodic reports on their compliance and the ILO also engages in extensive research, reporting, and campaigning around labor rights.
Although there are many ILO conventions, the following are the core and priority conventions:
- Freedom of Associate and Protection of Right to Organise Convention (No. 87)
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98)
- Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105)
- Minimum Age Convention (No. 138)
- Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182)
- Equal Remuneration Convention (No. 100)
- Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111)
- Labour Inspection Convention (No. 81)
- Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention (No. 129)
- Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Conventions (No. 144)
- Employment Policy Convention (No. 122)