The International Labour Organisation (ILO), was established on April 19,1919 by Versailles Peace Conference as an autonomous body associated with the League of Nations. It was born as a result of the peace conference at the end of World War I at Versailles. India became member of ILO in 1919 as an original signatory to the treaty of peace. The unique feature of ILO is that it is a tripartite body consisting body consisting of representations of employers, labour and government. There are three constituents namely the governments which finance it, the workers, for whose benefit it is created and the employers who share responsibility for the welfare of the workers.
It is like other inter government agencies such as FAO or WHO working for the universal cause but differing from them in one aspect, namely in its tripartite structure.
Objectives of ILO
The objectives of the ILO are enunciated in the preamble to its constitution supplemented by Article 427 of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, 1919 as well as by the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944. The preamble affirms :
i.whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.
ii. and whereas conditions of labour 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
iii. whereas the failure of any nation in battering the conditions of labour would under the economic progress of this own country.
During the Second World War, in April 1944, a conference was convened as Philadelphia. As a result of these deliberations, the aims of the ILO were redefined. This was termed the Declaration of Philadelphia which was later incorporated into ILO’s constitution. This conference reaffirmed the principles of ILO, namely that:
- Labour is not a commodity.
- Freedom of expression and of association is essential to sustained progress.
- Poverty constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere.
- The war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation and by continuous and concerted international effort in which the representatives of workers and employers enjoying equal status with those of governments join with them in free discussion and democratic decisions with a view to the promotion of the common welfare.
The Declarations of Philadelphia set forth 10 objectives which the ILO was to further and promote among the nations of the worked. The items underlying these objectives is social justice. The objectives are as follows:
- Full employment and the raising of standards of living.
- The employment of workers in the occupation in which they can have the satisfaction of giving the fullest measure of their skill and make their contribution to the common well-being.
- The provision, as a means to the attainment of this end and under adequate guarantees for all concerned, of facilities for training and the transfer of labour including migration for employment and settlement.
- Policies in regard to wages and earnings, bonus and other conditions of work calculated to ensure a just share of the fruits of progress to all and a minimum living wage to all employed and in need of protection
- The effective recognition of the right of collective bargaining – the cooperation of management and labour in the continuous improvement of productive efficiency and the collaboration of workers and employers in social and economic measures.
- The extension of social security measures to provide a basic income to all in need of such protection and comprehensive medical care.
- Adequate protection for the life and health of workers in all occupation
- Provision for child welfare and maternity protection
- The provision of adequate nutrition, housing and facilities for recreation and culture.
- The assurance of equality of educational and vocational opportunity.