The International Labor Organization (ILO), established under the Treaty of Versailles, was created in 1919.

Past ideas for Labor regulation:

  • After the Napoleanic Wars, Robert Owen emphasized at the Congress of Aix-la Chapelle, the desirability of international regulation of labor in ensuring peace.
  • 1839-the French Economist Adolphe Blanqui observed that the purpose of treaties, instead of being formed to kill men, ought to preserve men’s life and make them happier.
  • 1847- Daniel Legrand, a manufacturer, made an appeal to the governments of France, England, Prussia and Switzerland for the enactment of international legislation for the protection of the working class.
  • 1890- Due to above discussions, the first International conference was convened by the German Government.
  • 1897- International Labor Congresses at Zurich and Brussels. The above two resulted in International Association for Labor Legislation
  • 1905 & 1906- Two labor conferences were held at Berne; two international conventions were drawn up – the first prohibited night work of women; second- forbade of use of white phosphorous in the manufacture of matches.


After First World war, scenario changed. The various labor problems came into light, even the trade unions started co-operating.

  • 1916- The General Federation of Trade Unions at its Leeds Conference discussed several labor problems common to many countries and recommended the appointment of an international commission for the purpose of supervising and executing labor agreements.
  • 31 January,1919- The Paris Peace Conference appointed a labour commission which proposed the establishment of the International labor organization and drafted its constitution. The commission was composed of representatives of 9 countries- Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United States under the chairmanship of Samuel Gompers-President of American Federation of Labour.
  • 28 June,1919 – the high contracting parties agreed to establish the ILO as an organ of the League of the Nations.
  • 1946 – After the second World War, when the United Nations came into existence to replace League of Nations,ILO was established as one of the specialized agencies of UNO. The headquarters of ILO are in Geneva.


Objectives of the ILO

The objectives of the ILO are enumerated in the preamble to its constitution and in the Declaration of Philadelphia (1944) supplemented by Article 427 of the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919).

The preamble affirms:

  1. Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice
  2. Whereas conditions of labor exist involving such injustice, hardship, and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest, that the peace and harmony of the world is imperiled.
  3. Whereas the failure of any nation in battering the conditions of labor would under the economic progress of this own country.


Charter of Freedom/Principals of ILO (at the time of inception)

  • Labor is not a commodity
  • Freedoms of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress.
  • Poverty anywhere constitutes danger to prosperity everywhere.
  • The war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigor with each nation.


“Declaration” also known as “Philadelphia Charter “:

The General Conference of the ILO at its 26th Session held in Philadelphia in 1944 maintained the above principles and agreed upon a “Declaration” concerning the aims and purposes of the organization and principles which were to inspire the policy of its members.

The Declaration, popularly known as “Philadelphia Charter”.

Philadelphia Charter says

  • “Lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice”
  • All human beings have the right to pursue both their material well-being and spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity of economic security and equal opportunity.
  • Attainment of the conditions in which this shall be possible must constitute the central aim of national and international policy
  • All national and international polices and measure should be judged in this light and accepted only in so far as they may be held to promote and not hinder the achievement of this fundamental objective.
  • It is a responsibility of the ILO to examine and consider all international economic and financial policies.
  • In discharging the task entrusted to it the ILO having considered all relevant economic and financial factors may include in its decisions and recommendations any provisions which it considers appropriate.


Structure of the ILO

The ILO consists of three principal organs namely:

  1. The International Labor conference
  2. The Governing body
  3. The International Labor Office


1.The International Labor conference

ILC was previously called “Plenary Labor Conference”

The International Labor Conference is the policy making body of the ILO.

It comprises of three groups representing the governments, employers and workers in the ratio 2:1:1. Every Member Nation nominates four delegates of whom two delegates are gov. officials and one each representing employers and workers.

Each delegates accompanied by advisors

  • not to exceed 2 min nominated by government concerned if women related
  • if a women related topic one advisors is to be a women
  • Allowed to speak by special authorizations.
  • Not allowed to vote

Important Function of The International Labor Conference

  • To formulate international labor standard
  • To fix the amount of contribution by each member state
  • To select once in 3 years members of the governing body
  • To ask the governing body to seek opinion from the international court of Justice
  • To decide the budget expenditures prepared by the governing body


2.The Governing body

  • Initially the governing body had 24 members (6 Employee Rep + 6 Employers rep + 12 Government Representative)
  • At present, there are 56 members (14 Employee Rep + 15 Employers Rep + 28 Government Representatives)
  • The 10 permanent memberships are allotted to 1o states of chief industrial importance – (Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Soviet Union, UK, USA, Germany)
  • At least 2 representatives each of employer and workers are to be from Non-European states.
  • The governing body is required to elect ,from its members ,a chairman and 2 vice chairman so as to ensure representation of government employers and workers each
  • The procedure and the time of meetings are regulated by workers each

Special meeting can be convened only on a written request made by at least 16 representatives of the governing body

3.Internnational Labor Office

  • Acts as the secretariat of ILO, a world information Centre and publishing house.
  • The director general ,appointed by the governing body is “responsible for the efficient conduct of the ILO and for such other duties which may be assigned to him ”


  • International Labor Office prepares proper documents on the various items of the agenda for the meeting for the conference.
  • It has documentation publication duties required of it in connection with the effective observance of conventions.


The structure of the ILO and various functions are depicted below check no.























  • Relate to improvement of conditions of work and life, development of HR and social institutions research and planning

ILO’s technical assistance to India

  • The pace of such assistance was remarkably accelerated after 1950 with the initiation of the expanded program of technical assistance of the UNs and its specialized agencies.
  • Notable fields in which India has been benefited by the advice of ILO‘s experts include:
    • Drafting labor laws and regulations.
    • Occupational safety and health
    • Social Security
    • Productivity
    • Small scale and handicraft industries
    • Vocational guidance
    • Vocational Trainings
    • Training within industry
    • Worker’s education
    • Co-operatives
    • Employment information and occupational classification


Conventions and Recommendations

  • Social and labor standards are embodied into resolutions adopted by the ILC by about 2/3rd of the delegated present at the conference.
  • Conference decides whether resolutions will take form of a convention or a recommendation.


Convention Recommendation
·       Imposes certain obligations if it is ratified by the member state

·       Is treaty which when ratified by a member state creates binding international obligations of the state

·       Serves as a guide to the members in respect of the minimum labor standards on a particular matter.

·       Is not an obligation creating instrument

·       Meant to server as guide to member states in respect of the minimum labor standards


Implementation within a year at the most or within 18 months on exceptional case from the closing of the session of the conference


Concerning the subject matter of the recommendations.



 India and ILO

  • On 1stJan 1999 the ILO had adopted 168 conventions out of which India has ratified only 47 conventions and 1 protocol. Out of 47 conventions , 39 are in force and 0 protocol have been criticized (


Convention No. Name of the convention Date of legislation of rectification Legislative or other measures embodying the provision of convention
1 Hours of work (industry) 14.7.1921 Factory act,1948

Mines act 1952

4 Night work (Women) convention (1919) 17.7.1921 Factory act 1948

Mines act 1952

41 Night work (Women) convention Revised(1948) 22.11.1935 No longer in force as convention no 89 on the subject has been ratified
89 Night work (Women) convention Revised (1948) 27.2.1950 Factory act 1948

Mines act 1952

5 Minimum Age(Industry) convention (1919) 9.8.1955 Factory act 1948

Mines act 1952

Motor transport workers act 1961

Employment of Children Act 1938





Convention No. Name of the Convention Date of registration of ratification Legislative or other measures embodying the provisions of the Convention
1 Hours of Work (Industry)


14.7.1921 Factories Act,1948, Mines Act,1952
4 Night Work (Women) 17.7.1921 Factories Act,1948, Mines Act,1952
41 Night Work (Women); Convention (Revised),1948 22.11.1935 No longer in force as Convention
89 Night Work (Women) 27.2.1950 Factories Act,1948, Mines Act,1952
5 Minimum Age (Industry) Convention,1919 9.8.1955 Factories Act,1948; Mines Act,1952, Motor Transport Workers Act,1961; Employment of Children Act,1938
6 Night Work of Young persons 14.7.1921 No longer is force
90 Night work of Young persons (Industry) Convention (Revised),1948 27.2.1950 Factories Act,1948; Mines Act, 1952, Motor Transport Workers Act,1961; Employment of Children Act,1938
11 Right of Association (Agriculture) Convention (1921) 11.5.1923 Trade Unions Act,1926
14 Weekly Rest (Industry) 11.5.1923 Factories Act,1948; Mines Act,1952, Motor Transport Workers Act,1961
15 Minimum Age (Trimmers and Stockers) Convention 20-11-1922 Merchant Shipping Act,1958
16 Medical Examination of Young Persons (Sea) Convention,1921 20-11-1922 Merchant Shipping Act,1958
18 Workmen’s Compensation (Occupational Diseases) Convention (Revised),1934 13.1.1964 Workmen’s Compensation Act,1923; Employees’ State Insurance Act,1948
19 Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention,1925 30.9.1927 Laws concerning compensation for accidents i.e. Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923; Employees State insurance Act , 1948, do not discriminate
21 Inspection of Emigrants Convention,1926 4.1.1928 Administrative orders
22 Seamen’s Article of Agreement Convention, 1926 30-10-1932 Merchant Shipping Act,1958
26 Minimum Wage Fixing 10.1.1955 Minimum Wages Act,1948
27 Machinery Convention, 1928;Marking of Weight (Packages Transported by Vessel Convention,1929) 7.9.1931 Administrative orders; Marking of Heavy Packages Act,1951
29 Forced Labor Convention 30.11.1954 Constitution of India
32 Protection Against Accidents (Dockers) Convention (Revised),1932 10.2.1947 Indian Dock Labourers Act,1934
45 Underground Work (Women) Convention,1935 25.8.1938 Mines Act,1952
81 Labor Inspection Convention,1947 07.4.1949 Factories Act,1948; Mines Act,1952; Shops and Establishments Acts, Motor Transport Workers Act,1961, Minimum Wages Act,1948; Payment of Wages Act,1936
88 Employment Service Convention,1948 24.6.1950 Administrative orders
100 Equal Remuneration Convention,1951 25.9.1958 Constitution of India; Administrative orders; Equal Remuneration Act 1976
107 Indigenous and Tribal Population Convention,1957 20.9.1958 Constitution of India; Administrative orders
111 Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation Convention,1958 03.6.1960 Constitution of India
116 Final Articles Revision Convention ,1961 21.06.1962
118 Equality of Treatment of Nationals and Non-Nationals in Social Security Convention,1962 19.8.1964 Laws concerning social security in India do not discriminate between nationals and non-nationals.
123 Minimum Age (Underground Work) 20.3.1975 Mines Act,1952
136 Protection against hazards of poisoning arising from Benzene, Convention 1971 11.6.1991 Factories Act,1948
141 Rural Workers’ Organization Convention,1975 18.08.1977 Trade Unions Act,1926; Constitution of India; Administrative orders
144 Tripartite Consultation (International Labor Standards) Conventions 27.2.1978 Legislative measures and Administrative orders and practices
160 Labor Statistics Convention,1985 01.4.1992 Collection of statistics Act,1953
147 Minimum standard in Merchant Ships Convention ,1976 26.9.1996
122 Employment Policy Convention 1964 17.11.1988
105 Abolition Of Forced Labor, 1957 18.05.2000
108 Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 1958 07.01.2005
174 Prevention Of Major Industrial Accidents 06.06.2008
142 Human Resources Development 25.3.2009
127 Maximum Weight 26.3.2010
185 Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 09-10-2015
Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006) 09-10-2015
138 Minimum Age Convention 13-06-2017
182 Worst Forms Of Child Labor Convention 13-06-2017