Workers' Rights in a Global Economy

Chap 2- ILO standards


How do Trade Unions play a role in ILO?

  • typically unions monitor and submit - they move the agenda
  • Union Lawyers can use ILS in courts

Trade unions are crucial in pressuring to get their governments to ratify ILO Conventions

ILO Standards and their Forms

  1. Conventions (189) - treaty that becomes legally binding after ratification
  2. Recommendations (203) - guidelines and suggestions, not legally binding
  3. Protocols (6) - revision of a previous convention - update
  4. Declarations - not legally binding, but offer critical policy guidance

1998 Declaration on Fund. Rights at Work
2008 Social Justice for Fair Globalization

8 Core Conventions
- 1998 Fund Rights (4 main ones)
- Labor Inspection, Tripartite consultation, Employment policy

Just 82 Conventions are considered up to date

ILO Instruments- universality and flexibility

Look to promote progress as well as something that many countries can actually commit to. Balance

Cannot reduce a standard already in place in their country to new "minimum level" of an ILO standard

Creating a New ILS

ILO Gov Body places subject on the Conference Agenda
- Advocacy and Research play key role in raising the profile of a Standard

  • Double Discussion Procedure
  • ILO staff preps a report and questionnaire for Govs
  • Comments are cataloged in a digest
  • First Conference discusses subject and proposes content for the ILS
  • Second Conference is used to decide on the Standard- need 2/3 majority to become official.

Obligation of Member States to Submit Standards

Each member country has a "Duty to Submit" a newly adopted instrument
- competent authority (Parliament or Legislature)
- want to promote the instrument at a domestic level
- Member doesn't need to explicitly "Ratify" an instrument
- Member doesn't even need to support an instrument


a national government accepts ILO Convention as legally binding
- all or nothing - no cherry picking of preferable language

  • member reports it ratification to ILO
  • member brings its national law into conformity
  • member now becomes subject to supervision and possible complaints

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