Beatriz Vacotto, Jeffrey Vogt, Paul Whitehead, Stefanie Lorenzen, Bruno Dobrusin, Susan Hayter und Dr. Edlira Xhafa

International Labour Standards: How to Use Them

  • MOOC
  • Self-Paced
  • Englisch
  • Interdisziplinär

Über den Kurs

Workers’ Rights are Human Rights. International Labour Standards are designed to provide minimum levels of protection every worker should enjoy. They serve as safeguards against exploitative and dangerous working conditions. Reaffirmed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, fundamental rights and dignity at the workplace are a precondition for building inclusive and sustainable societies. However, making respect for workers’ rights a reality remains a daily struggle for far too many.

This short online course offers a mix of video lectures, readings, discussion questions and self-learning options to provide you with knowledge and practical skills for using International Labour Standards to promote and defend worker’s rights worldwide.

What will I learn

At the end of the course you will understand the concept behind International Labour Standards, as well as their standard setting process at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

You will have a sound overview on the functioning of the ILO supervisory mechanisms and how you can use them to promote and defend workers’ rights in your country or at the international level. You will also have a good understanding of the fundamentals on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, as well as the right to strike as a key element for realising workers’ rights.

What do I need to know?

No prior knowledge is required.

Course Structure

Chapter 1: Introduction to International Labour Standards (ILS)
 What is the concept behind International Labour Standards? Which types of International Labour Standards exist and how are they set? Which actors are involved and how are they interlinked? This chapter provides an overview on International Labour Standards and lays the foundation for understanding the standard setting mechanisms at the ILO. In particular, we have a close look at the role of trade unions in setting International Labour Standards.

Chapter 2: Supervision of International Labour Standards (ILS) This chapter aims at enabling you to understand and use the ILO supervisory mechanisms for the protection of workers’ rights. The elaborate process is illustrated in a concise and hands-on way, and we take you through it step by step. Again, we pay particular attention to what trade unions can do to make effective use of the ILO supervisory mechanisms.

Chapter 3: Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining and the right to strike Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining are ‘enabling rights’ at the heart of decent work. But what is the legal concept of Freedom of Association under Convention 87 and what makes it fundamental to the implementation of International Labour Standards? This chapter also provides you with an overview on the current debate on the right to strike as a key element of Freedom of Association.

Line-up of contributors

Beatriz Vacotto

  • Legal specialist and Coordinator of the Wages, Working Time, Maritime and Specific Workers Team, International Labour Standards Department, ILO
  • Main areas of interest: Support to trade unions on issues related to International Labour Standards and the ILO supervisory mechanisms.

Jeffrey Vogt

  • Legal Director, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  • Main areas of interest: trade and labour standards, freedom of association, precarious work, comparative labour law

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lorenzen

  • Professor of Employment and Labour Law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, Department of Business and Economics, Germany
  • Author of the video lectures on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining of this course
  • Main areas of interest: employment law, co-determination, right to collective bargaining, international and European labour law

Prof. Paul Whitehead

  • Professor of Practice in Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Penn State University, USA
  • Main areas of interest: Trade unions, collective bargaining, labor and employment law, international labor law, international human resources, trade law, and programs for pensions, health care, and social security

Maité Llanos

  • International project coordinator, Global Labour University
  • Global Labour University Online tutor

Tandiwe Gross

  • Associate Fellow, Global Labour University

Course Options

Audit Track (for free)

  • No requirements
  • Optional Statement of Participation (19 €)

For obtaining your Statement of Participation in the Audit Track, you need to complete 80% of the video lectures and quizzes. You can get the Statement of Participation inside the course under the "Certificates" tab.


To enrol in this course, please click on “Enrol” in the upper right corner of the course page and afterwards click on “Audit for free”. You then need to sign up to iversity by filling in you name, surname, email and choosing a password. After that you'll receive an email from iversity, where you have to confirm your email address by clicking on the link inside. Please check also your SPAM folder. You can also sign up using your existing facebook or google account. Once you are signed up you can log in on with your email and password and start the course."