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Labour Laws by Gaurav Jangra

History of Labour Laws In India
Labour law also known as employment law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and
precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their
organizations. As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions,
employers and employees. In other words, Labour law defines the rights and obligations as
workers, union members and employers in the workplace. Generally, labour law covers:
Industrial relations - certification of unions, labourmanagement relations, collective
bargaining and unfair labour practices;
Workplace health and safety;
Employment standards, including general holidays, annual leave, working hours, unfair
dismissals, minimum wage, layoff procedures and severance pay.
There are two broad categories of labour law.
First, collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer
and union.
Second, individual labour law concerns employees' rights at work and through the contract
for work. The labour movement has been instrumental in the enacting of laws protecting
labour rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Labour rights have been integral to the social
and economic development since the industrial revolution.
1.1.History of Labour laws:
Labour law arose due to the demands of workers for better conditions, the right to organize, and
the simultaneous demands of employers to restrict the powers of workers in many organizations
and to keep labour costs low. Employers' costs can increase due to workers organizing to win
higher wages, or by laws imposing costly requirements, such as health and safety or equal
opportunities conditions. Workers' organizations, such as trade unions, can also transcend purely
industrial disputes, and gain political power which some employers may oppose.
The state of labour law at any one time is therefore both the product of, and a component of,
struggles between different interests in society. International Labour Organisation (ILO) was one
of the first organisations to deal with labour issues. The ILO was established as an agency of the

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League of Nations following the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I. Postwar
reconstruction and the protection of labour unions occupied the attention of many nations during
and immediately after World War I. In Great Britain, the Whitley 4 Commission, a
subcommittee of the Reconstruction Commission, recommended in its July 1918 Final Report
that "industrial councils" be established throughout the world. The British Labour Party had
issued its own reconstruction programme in the document titled Labour and the New Social
Order. In February 1918, the third InterAllied Labour and Socialist Conference (representing
delegates from Great Britain, France, Belgium and Italy) issued its report, advocating an
international labour rights body, an end to secret diplomacy, and other goals. And in December
1918, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) issued its own distinctively apolitical report,
which called for the achievement of numerous incremental improvements via the collective
bargaining process. As the war drew to a close, two competing visions for the postwar world
emerged. The first was offered by the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), which
called for a meeting in Berne in July 1919.
The Berne meeting would consider both the future of the IFTU and the various proposals which
had been made in the previous few years. The IFTU also proposed including delegates from the
Central Powers as equals. Samuel Gompers, president of the AFL, boycotted the meeting,
wanting the Central Powers delegates in a subservient role as an admission of guilt for their
countries' role in the bringing about war. Instead, Gompers favored a meeting in Paris which
would only consider President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points as a platform. Despite the
American boycott, the Berne meeting went ahead as scheduled. In its final report, the Berne
Conference demanded an end to wage labour and the establishment of socialism. If these ends
could not be immediately achieved, then an international body attached to the League of Nations
should enact and enforce legislation to protect workers and trade unions.
The British proposed establishing an international parliament to enact labour laws which each
member of the League would be required to implement. Each nation would have two delegates to
the parliament, one each from labour and management. An international labour office would
collect statistics on labour issues and enforce the new international laws. Philosophically
opposed to the concept of an international parliament and convinced that international standards
would lower the few protections achieved in the United States, Gompers proposed that the

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international labour body be authorized only to make recommendations, and that enforcement be
left up to the League of Nations. Despite vigorous opposition from the British, the American
proposal was adopted. The Americans made 10 proposals. Three were adopted without change:
That labour should not be treated as a commodity; that all workers had the right to a wage
sufficient to live on; and that women should receive equal pay for equal work. A proposal
protecting the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association was amended to include only
freedom of association. A proposed ban on the international shipment of goods made by children
under the age of 16 was amended to 5 ban goods made by children under the age of 14.
A proposal to require an eighthour work day was amended to require the eighthour work day
or the 40hour work week (an exception was made for countries where productivity was low).
Four other American proposals were rejected. Meanwhile, international delegates proposed three
additional clauses, which were adopted: One or more days for weekly rest; equality of laws for
foreign workers; and regular and frequent inspection of factory conditions. The Commission
issued its final report on 4 March 1919, and the Peace Conference adopted it without amendment
on 11 April. The report became Part XIII of the Treaty of Versailles. (The Treaty of Versailles
was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between
Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919.) The first annual conference
(referred to as the International Labour Conference, or ILC) began on 29th October 1919 in
Washington DC and adopted the first six International Labour Conventions, which dealt with
hours of work in industry, unemployment, maternity protection, night work for women,
minimum age and night work for young persons in industry. The prominent French socialist
Albert Thomas became its first Director General. The ILO became a member of the United
Nations system after the demise of the League in 1946.
1.2.Purpose of labour legislation:
Labour legislation that is adapted to the economic and social challenges of the modern world of
work fulfils three crucial roles:
it establishes a legal system that facilitates productive individual and collective employment
relationships, and therefore a productive economy;

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by providing a framework within which employers, workers and their representatives can
interact with regard to workrelated issues, it serves as an important vehicle for achieving
harmonious industrial relations based on workplace democracy;
it provides a clear and constant reminder and guarantee of fundamental principles and rights
at work which have received broad social acceptance and establishes the processes through
which these principles and rights can be implemented and enforced.
But experience shows that labour legislation can only fulfills these functions effectively if it is
responsive to the conditions on the labour market and the needs of the parties involved. The most
efficient way of ensuring that these conditions and needs are taken fully into account is if those
concerned are closely involved in the formulation of the legislation through processes of social 6
dialogue. The involvement of stakeholders in this way is of great importance in developing a
broad basis of support for labour legislation and in facilitating its application within and beyond
the formal structured sectors of the economy.
1.3.Evolution of Labour law in India :
The law relating to labour and employment is also known as Industrial law in India. The history
of labour legislation in India is interwoven with the history of British colonialism. The
industrial/labour legislations enacted by the British were primarily intended to protect the
interests of the British employers. Considerations of British political economy were naturally
paramount in shaping some of these early laws.
Thus came the Factories Act. It is well known that Indian textile goods offered stiff competition
to British textiles in the export market and hence in order to make India labour costlier the
Factories Act was first introduced in 1883 because of the pressure brought on the British
parliament by the textile magnates of Manchester and Lancashire. Thus India received the first
stipulation of eight hours of work, the abolition of child labour, and the restriction of women in
night employment, and the introduction of overtime wages for work beyond eight hours. While
the impact of this measure was clearly welfarist the real motivation was undoubtedly
protectionist. The earliest Indian statute to regulate the relationship between employer and his
workmen was the Trade Dispute Act, 1929 (Act 7 of 1929). Provisions were made in this Act for
restraining the rights of strike and lock out but no machinery was provided to take care of

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The original colonial legislation underwent substantial modifications in the postcolonial era
because independent India called for a clear partnership between labour and capital. The content
of this partnership was unanimously approved in a tripartite conference in December 1947 in
which it was agreed that labour would be given a fair wage and fair working conditions and in
return capital would receive the fullest cooperation of labour for uninterrupted production and
higher productivity as part of the strategy for national economic development and that all
concerned would observe a truce period of three years free from strikes and lockouts. Ultimately
the Industrial Disputes Act (the Act) brought into force on 01.04.1947 repealing the Trade
Disputes Act 1929 has since remained on statute book.
1.4.Constitutional provisions with regard to labour laws :
Labour is a concurrent subject in the Constitution of India implying that both the Union and the
state governments are competent to legislate on labour matters and administer the same. The
bulk of important legislative acts have been enacted by the Parliament.
The legislations can be categorized as follows:
1) Labour laws enacted by the Central Government, where the Central Government has the sole
responsibility for enforcement.
2) Labour laws enacted by Central Government and enforced both by Central and State
3) Labour laws enacted by Central Government and enforced by the State Governments.
4) Labour laws enacted and enforced by the various State Governments which apply to
respective States.
The Constitution of India provides detailed provisions for the rights of the citizens and also lays
down the Directive Principles of State Policy which set an aim to which the activities of the state
are to be guided. These Directive Principles provide:
a. for securing the health and strength of employees, men and women;
b. that the tender age of children are not abused;
c. that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or
d. just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief are provided; and e. that the
Government shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the

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participation of employee in the management of undertakings, establishments or other

organisations engaged in any industry. 1.5 Labour Policy of India :
Labour policy in India has been evolving in response to specific needs of the situation to suit
requirements of planned economic development and social justice and has two fold objectives,
namely maintaining industrial peace and promoting the welfare of labour.
Labour Policy Highlights
Creative measures to attract public and private investment.
Creating new jobs 3/4 New Social security schemes for workers in the unorganized sector.
3/4 Social security cards for workers.
Unified and beneficial management of funds of Welfare Boards.
Reprioritization of allocation of funds to benefit vulnerable workers.
Model employeeemployer relationships.
Long term settlements based on productivity.
Vital industries and establishments declared as `public utilities`.
Special conciliation mechanism for projects with investments of Rs.150 crores or more.
Industrial Relations committees in more sectors.
Labour Law reforms in tune with the times. Empowered body of experts to suggest required
Statutory amendments for expediting and streamlining the mechanism of Labour Judiciary.
Amendments to Industrial Disputes Act in tune with the times. 3/4 Efficient functioning of
Labour Department.
More labour sectors under Minimum Wages Act.
Child labour act to be aggressively enforced.
Modern medical facilities for workers. 3/4 Rehabilitation packages for displaced workers.
Restructuring in functioning of employment exchanges. Computerization and updating of
data base.
Revamping of curriculum and course content in industrial training.
Joint cell of labour department and industries department to study changes in laws and

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Objectives of Labor Laws

Fair Wages
The minimum wage is among the best known labor laws. Particularly in competitive economies,
workers often don't have the ability to leave jobs that pay unfairly, economist Joseph Stiglitz
argues in his book "The Price of Inequality." The minimum wage ensures that there is a floor
below which worker pay cannot fall. It also can elevate wages, as business owners frequently
want their jobs to pay more than minimum wage in order to attract qualified workers. Detractors
of minimum-wage laws say they discourage businesses from hiring more workers.
Equal Opportunity
For hundreds of years, women and ethnic minorities have faced discrimination that limited their
job prospects, subjected them to workplace abuses and greatly reduced the wages they could
expect. Labor laws protect equal opportunity by requiring employers to give equal consideration
to underrepresented groups, to pay equal pay for equal work and to institute policies that limit or
prevent structural discrimination.
Protecting Children
Prior to the passage of labor laws, children routinely worked grueling hours at abusive jobs.
Child labor laws limit the number of hours children under the age of 18 can work per week,
place restrictions on the time of day children can work and ensure that children do not work in
jobs declared unsafe by the U.S. Labor Secretary.
Protecting the Disabled
Disabled people have faced challenges in finding work, and have also found that their disability
often counted against them in the labor market. Labor laws ensure that employers do not
discriminate against the disabled and mandate that, if a person is otherwise able to do the job, an
employer must make reasonable accommodations for the disabled. Ensuring the hallway is wide
enough for a wheelchair is one example of a reasonable accommodation.
Working Hours
Labor laws limit the number of hours per week employers can require work from their
employees without paying overtime. Decades ago, workers might expect to work 12 hour days,
seven days per week. Labor laws protect against such practices and require that employees are
compensated differentially for working unusual hours.

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Employer-Employee Fairness
The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates employee wages and establishes the minimum wage and
overtime payments. FLSA also governs child labor practices, making sure that the work
environment is safe for children and that employment does not jeopardize their educational
opportunities. Under FLSA, employers must display a poster that outlines the law's requirements
and must maintain records that detail nonexempt employee hours worked and wages earned.
Employee Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Act sets and enforces standards that employers must follow
to maintain a hazard-free work environment. The law covers all workers except those who are
self-employed, farms that hire only immediate family members and employers protected under
other federal agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Hazards include any
activity that can bring harm to employees, such as mechanical failures, radiation and extreme
temperatures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts inspections and
penalizes noncompliant employers, and willful violators can face fines of up to $250,000.
Although OSHA does not set standards for workplace violence, when that violence can lead to
death or serious injury, courts have interpreted the general duty clause to include it as a hazard.
Protection from Disability Discrimination
Labor laws strive to provide equal opportunities to disabled people who have otherwise the
necessary qualification to apply to or be hired by a company. The law urges employers to
accommodate physical and mental limitations of the applicants subject to the necessary
qualifications being available. If you have 15 or more employees, you must provide your
disabled workers with the same opportunities you provide the rest of your workforce. You also
can't ask about job applicants' disabilities before you hire them, and once you hire disabled
people, you must make reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.
Age and Gender Equality
It is against the law, specifically the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, to
eliminate job applicants or remove existing employees from service on the basis of age if they
are older than 40. Aged employees can retain their existing work or get new options alongside
other applicants. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects job aspirants and employees from
gender discrimination for selection, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 mandates that men and

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women must receive equal pay if their work is substantially equal in skill, effort and
Protection from Retaliation
Employees and applicants can object to unfair labor practices by filing a complaint. For example,
claims of discrimination can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Employers aren't allowed to retaliate or take adverse actions such as firing, demoting or
harassing employees who file unfair labor practice claims.

Necessity and Importance of Labour Law and Principles!

Industrial legalizations are the laws enacted by the Government to provide economic and social
justice to the workers in industries. Generally these laws provide guidelines to the
employers/industrialists in dealing with the matters of wages, wage incentives, facilitates for
workers and the working conditions of labour.
According to Mr. V.V. Giri industrial legislation is a provision for equitable distribution of
profits and benefits emerging from industry, between industrialists and workers and affording
protection to the workers against harmful effects to their health safety and morality.
Necessity and Importance of Labour Law:
(1) Improves industrial relation i.e. employee-employer relations and minimizes industrial
(2) Prospects workers form exploitation by the employers or management
(3) Helps workers in getting fair wages
(4) Minimizes labour unrest
(5) Reduces conflicts and strikes etc.
(6) Ensures job security for workers
(7) Promotes welcome environment conditions in the industrial system
(8) Fixes rest pauses and work hours etc.
(9) Provides compensation to workers, who are victims of accidents.
Need for labour legislation in India:
The need for labour legislation may be summarized as under:

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Necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of workers;

Necessary to protect workers against oppressive terms as individual worker is economically
weak and has little bargaining power;
To encourage and facilitate the workers in the organization;
To deal with industrial disputes;
To enforce social insurance and labour welfare schemes.

Principles of Labour Law:

Industrial legislations based upon the following principles:
(1) Social Justice
(2) Social Equality/ Welfare
(3) National Economy
(4) International Uniformity
(1) Social justice:
The first step in establishing social justice is to protect those who cant protect themselves.
Industrial laws provide social justice to the workers by ensuring suitable distribution of profits
and benefits among the employer and employees. It also provides better working conditions in
The essence of democracy is ensuring social justice to all sections of the community.
This demands the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.
In modern industrial set-up, workers, left to themselves, are unable to protect their
Therefore, the State has to intervene to help them by granting them freedom of
association, the power of collective bargaining and by providing for mediation or
arbitration in the case of industrial conflict.
(2) Social equality/welfare:
Another objective of labour law is to ensure social welfare of workers. These laws help the
employees to improve their social status i.e. material and morale of the workers by providing
adequate wages and safety measures, ensuring appropriate working hours and health facilities.
Legislation based on this principle provides for achievement of definite standards.

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Standards in terms of living, position in society etc. of the working population.

These standards for the working class can be achieved by bringing about changes in the
Law of our land.
Power to change the Law is exercised by the government.
Existing laws may be amended to meet the changed standards.
(3) National economy:
National economy is another guiding principle of labour legislation. It ensures normal growth of
industry for the development of nation. It increases the efficiency of workers and satisfies their
needs. Thus efficient industry finally contributes a lot to improve national economy.
Ensure normal growth of industry for the benefit of the nation as a whole;
Satisfy the physical and intellectual needs of the citizens;
Ensure the growth of industrial efficiency such as to adjust the wage system with a view
to increase the productivity and prosperity of the workers.
(4) International uniformity:
In attaining international uniformity International Labour Organization (I.L.O.) has played an
important part. It aims at securing minimum standard on uniform basis in respect of all labour
matters. Uniformity of standards can be maintained only by enforcing various industrial laws.
Since its inception, securing minimum standards (for the working population
worldwide) on a uniform basis in respect of all labour matters has been the main
objective of ILO.
To this end, conventions are passed at the conferences of ILO.
As a member of the ILO, adopting these conventions would require appropriate
legislation to be brought about.
The influence of international labour conventions has been significant in shaping the
course of labour legislation in India.

Classification of Various Labour Laws

There are over 45 legislation on labour from the Central Government and the number of
legislation enacted by the State Governments is close to four times that of the Central Acts.
Labour Laws can be classified into the following eight categories:
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Laws related to Industrial Relations

Laws related to Wages
Laws related to Specific Industries
Laws related to Equality and Empowerment of Women
Laws related to Deprived and Disadvantaged Sections of the Society
Laws related to Social Security
Laws related to Employment & Training

Laws related to Industrial Relations

1 The Trade Unions Act, 1926
2 The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules, 1946
3 The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
Laws related to Wages
1 The Payment of Wages Act, 1936
The Payment of Wages Rules, 1937
2 The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
The Minimum Wages (Central) Rules, 1950
3 The Working Journalist (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958
Working Journalist (Conditions of service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules,
4 The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
The Payment of Bonus Rules, 1975
Laws related to Specific Industries
1 The Factories Act, 1948
2 The Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948
3 The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
4 The Mines Act, 1952

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5 The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service

and Misc. Provisions) Act, 1955
The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of
Service and Misc. Provisions) Rules, 1957
6 The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958
7 The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
8 The Beedi & Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966
9 The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970
10 The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976
The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1976
11 The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of
Service) Act, 1979
12 The Shops and Establishments Act
13 The Cinema Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment)
Act, 1981
The Cinema Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment)
Rules, 1984
The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981.
14 The Dock Workers (Safety, Health & Welfare) Act, 1986
15 The Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment &
Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
16 The Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) (inapplicability to Major Ports)
Act, 1997
17 The Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946
18 The Limestone & Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1972
19 The Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976
20 The Beedi Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1976
21 The Iron Ore Mines, Manganese Ore Mines & Chrome Ore Mines Labour
Welfare Fund Act, 1976

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22 The Iron Ore Mines, Manganese Ore Mines & Chrome Ore Mines Labour Welfare
Cess Act, 1976
23 The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981
24 The Cine Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1981
25 The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry latrines
Prohibition Act,1993
26 The Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Act, 1974
Laws related to Equality and Empowerment of Women
1 The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
2 The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
Laws related to Deprived and Disadvantaged Sections of the Society
1 The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
2 The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986
Laws related to Social Security
1 The Workmens Compensation Act, 1923
2 The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
3 The Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
4 The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
Laws related to Employment & Training
1 The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959
The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Rules, 1959
2 The Apprentices Act, 1961
1 The Fatal Accidents Act, 1855
2 The War Injuries Ordinance Act, 1943
3 The Weekly Holiday Act, 1942
4 The National and Festival Holidays Act
5 The War Injuries (Compensation Insurance) Act, 1943
6 The Personal Injuries (Emergency) Provisions Act, 1962
7 The Personal Injuries (Compensation Insurance) Act, 1963

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8 The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Register
by Certain Establishments) Act, 1988
9 The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour
problems, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities
for all. The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands
are members of the ILO.
In 1969, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving peace among
classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other
developing nations.

The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules; however, it
does not impose sanctions on governments.

Governance, organization, and membership

ILO headquarters in Geneva
Unlike other United Nations specialized agencies, the International Labour Organization has a
tripartite governing structure representing governments, employers, and workers (usually with a
ratio of 2:1:1). The rationale behind the tripartite structure is the creation of free and open debate
among governments and social partners. The ILO secretariat (staff) is referred to as the
International Labour Office.
Governing Body
The Governing Body decides the agenda of the International Labour Conference, adopts the draft
programme and budget of the organization for submission to the conference, elects the director-
general, requests information from member states concerning labour matters, appoints
commissions of inquiry and supervises the work of the International Labour Office. Juan Somava
was the ILO's director-general from 1999 until October 2012, when Guy Ryder was elected as his

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replacement. This governing body is composed of 28 government representatives, 14 workers'

representatives, and 14 employers' representatives.
Ten of the government seats are held by member states that are nations of "chief industrial
importance," as first considered by an "impartial committee." The nations are Brazil, China,
France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United
States.[5] The terms of office are three years.
International Labour Conference
Interpreting booth ready for an ILO meeting
The ILO organizes the International Labour Conference in Geneva every year in June, where
conventions and recommendations are crafted and adopted. Also known as the "parliament of
labour", the conference also makes decisions about the ILO's general policy, work programme
and budget.

Each member state has four representatives at the conference: two government delegates,
an employer delegate and a worker delegate. All of them have individual voting rights, and all
votes are equal, regardless of the population of the delegate's member state. The employer and
worker delegates are normally chosen in agreement with the "most representative" national
organizations of employers and workers. Usually, the workers' delegates coordinate their voting,
as do the employers' delegates.[citation needed] All delegate have the same rights, and are not
required to vote in blocs.[8]
Main article: List of International Labour Organization Conventions
ILO building in Geneva with Salve in the background
Through July 2011, the ILO has adopted 189 conventions. If these conventions are ratified by
enough governments, they become in force. However, ILO conventions are considered
international labour standards regardless of ratification. When a convention comes into force, it
creates a legal obligation for ratifying nations to apply its provisions.
Every year the International Labour Conference's Committee on the Application of
Standards examines a number of alleged breaches of international labour standards. Governments
are required to submit reports detailing their compliance with the obligations of the conventions

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they have ratified. Conventions that have not been ratified by member states have the same legal
force as do recommendations.
In 1998, the 86th International Labour Conference adopted the Declaration on Fundamental
Principles and Rights at Work. This declaration contains four fundamental policies:
The right of workers to associate freely and bargain collectively;
The end of forced and compulsory labour;
The end of child labour; and
The end of unfair discrimination among workers.
The ILO asserts that its members have an obligation to work towards fully respecting
these principles, embodied in relevant ILO Conventions. The ILO Conventions which embody the
fundamental principles have now been ratified by most member states.
Recommendations do not have the binding force of conventions and are not subject to ratification.
Recommendations may be adopted at the same time as conventions to supplement the latter with
additional or more detailed provisions. In other cases recommendations may be adopted
separately and may address issues separate from particular conventions.
ILO member states
As of April 2016, the ILO has 187 state members. 186 of the 193 member states of the United
Nations plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO. The UN member states which are not
members of the ILO are Andorra, Bhutan, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, and North
The ILO constitution permits any member of the UN to become a member of the ILO. To
gain membership, a nation must inform the Director-General that it accepts all the obligations of
the ILO constitution. Other states can be admitted by a two-thirds vote of all delegates, including
a two-thirds vote of government delegates, at any ILO General Conference. The Cook Islands, a
non-UN state, joined in June 2015.
Members of the ILO under the League of Nations automatically became members when the
organization's new constitution came into effect after World War II.
Position within the UN

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
As with other UN specialized agencies (or programmes) working on international development,
the ILO is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.
While the ILO was established as an agency of the League of Nations following World War I, its
founders had made great strides in social thought and action before 1919. The core members all
knew one another from earlier private professional and ideological networks, in which they
exchanged knowledge, experiences, and ideas on social policy. Prewar "epistemic communities",
such as the International Association for Labour Legislation (IALL), founded in 1900, and
political networks, such as the socialist Second International, were a decisive factor in the
institutionalization of international labour politics.
In the postWorld War I euphoria, the idea of a "makeable society" was an important
catalyst behind the social engineering of the ILO architects. As a new discipline, international
labour law became a useful instrument for putting social reforms into practice. The utopian ideals
of the founding memberssocial justice and the right to decent workwere changed by
diplomatic and political compromises made at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, showing the
ILO's balance between idealism and pragmatism.
Over the course of the First World War, the international labour movement proposed a
comprehensive programme of protection for the working classes, conceived as compensation for
labour's support during the war.[clarification needed] Post-war reconstruction and the protection
of labour unions occupied the attention of many nations during and immediately after World War
I. In Great Britain, the Whitley Commission, a subcommittee of the Reconstruction Commission,
recommended in its July 1918 Final Report that "industrial councils" be established throughout
the world. The British Labour Party had issued its own reconstruction programme in the
document titled Labour and the New Social Order. In February 1918, the third Inter-Allied
Labour and Socialist Conference (representing delegates from Great Britain, France, Belgium and
Italy) issued its report, advocating an international labour rights body, an end to secret diplomacy,
and other goals. And in December 1918, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) issued its own
distinctively apolitical report, which called for the achievement of numerous incremental
improvements via the collective bargaining process.

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Functions of ILO
1. Labour statistics
The ILO is a major provider of labour statistics. Labour statistics are an important tool for its
member states to monitor their progress toward improving labour standards. As part of their
statistical work, ILO maintains several databases. This database covers 11 major data series for
over 200 countries. In addition, ILO publishes a number of compilations of labour statistics, such
as the Key Indicators of Labour Markets (KILM). KILM covers 20 main indicators on labour
participation rates, employment, unemployment, educational attainment, labour cost, and
economic performance. Many of these indicators have been prepared by other organizations. For
example, the Division of International Labour Comparisons of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
prepares the hourly compensation in manufacturing indicator.
The U.S. Department of Labor also publishes a yearly report containing a List of Goods
Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor issued by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
The December 2014 updated edition of the report listed a total of 74 countries and 136 goods.
2. Training and teaching units
The International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) is based in
Turin, Italy. Together with the University of Turin Department of Law, the ITC offers training for
ILO officers and secretariat members, as well as offering educational programmes. For instance,
the ITCILO offers a Master of Laws programme in management of development, which aims
specialize professionals in the field of cooperation and development.
3. Child labour
Different forms of child labour in Honduras, 1999
The term child labour is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, potential,
dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development.
Child labour refers to work that: is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and
harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to
attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine
school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from
their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the

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streets of large cities often at a very early age. Whether or not particular forms of "work" can be
called child labour depends on the child's age, the type and hours of work performed, the
conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The
answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.
ILO's response to child labour
Parties to ILO's 1973 Minimum Age Convention, and the minimum ages they have designated:
purple, 14 years; green, 15 years; blue, 16 years
The ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) was
created in 1992 with the overall goal of the progressive elimination of child labour, which was to
be achieved through strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with the problem and
promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labour. IPEC currently has operations in 88
countries, with an annual expenditure on technical cooperation projects that reached over US$74
million, 50 million in 2006. It is the largest programme of its kind globally and the biggest single
operational programme of the ILO.
The number and range of IPEC's partners have expanded over the years and now include
employers' and workers' organizations, other international and government agencies, private
businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs, the media, parliamentarians, the judiciary,
universities, religious groups and, of course, children and their families.
IPEC's work to eliminate child labour is an important facet of the ILO's Decent Work
Agenda. Child labour not only prevents children from acquiring the skills and education they need
for a better future,[36] it also perpetuates poverty and affects national economies through losses in
competitiveness, productivity and potential income.
4. Exceptions in indigenous communities
Because of different cultural views involving labour, the International Labour Organization (ILO)
developed a series of culturally sensitive mandates including Conventions No. 169, 107, 138, and
182 to protect indigenous culture, traditions, and identities. Conventions No. 138 and 182 lead in
the fight against child labour, while No. 107 and 169 promote the right of indigenous and tribal
peoples and protect their right to define their own developmental priorities.The ILO recognizes
these changes are necessary to respect the culture and traditions of other communities while also
looking after the welfare of children.

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In many indigenous communities, parents believe children learn important life lessons
through the act of work and through the participation in daily life. Working is seen as a learning
process preparing children of the future tasks they will eventually have to do as an adult. It is a
belief that the family's and child well-being and survival is a shared responsibility between
members of the whole family. They also see work as an intrinsic part of their child's
developmental process. While these attitudes toward child work remain, many children and
parents from indigenous communities still highly value education. ILO wants to include these
communities in the fight against exploitative child labour while being sensitive to their traditions
and values.
1. Forced labour
The ILO has considered the fight against forced labour to be one of its main priorities. During the
interwar years, the issue was mainly considered a colonial phenomenon, and the ILO's concern
was to establish minimum standards protecting the inhabitants of colonies from the worst abuses
committed by economic interests. After 1945, the goal became to set a uniform and universal
standard, determined by the higher awareness gained during World War II of politically and
economically motivated systems of forced labour, but debates were hampered by the Cold War
and by exemptions claimed by colonial powers. Since the 1960s, declarations of labour standards
as a component of human rights have been weakened by government of postcolonial countries
claiming a need to exercise extraordinary powers over labour in their role as emergency regimes
promoting rapid economic development.
In June 1998 the International Labour Conference adopted a Declaration on Fundamental
Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up that obligates member States to respect, promote
and realize freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all
forms of forced or compulsory labour, the effective abolition of child labour, and the elimination
of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
With the adoption of the Declaration, the International Labour Organization (ILO)
created the InFocus Programme on Promoting the Declaration which is responsible for the
reporting processes and technical cooperation activities associated with the Declaration; and it
carries out awareness raising, advocacy and knowledge functions.

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In November 2001, following the publication of the in Focus Programme's first Global
Report on forced labour, the ILO Governing Body created a Special Action Programme to
Combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL), as part of broader efforts to promote the 1998 Declaration on
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up.
Since its inception, SAP-FL has focused on raising global awareness of forced labour in
its different forms, and mobilizing action against its manifestation. Several thematic and country-
specific studies and surveys have since been undertaken, on such diverse aspects of forced labour
as bonded labour, human trafficking, forced domestic work, rural servitude, and forced prison
The Special Action Programme to combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL) has spearheaded the ILO's
work in this field since early 2002. The programme is designed to:
Raise global awareness and understanding of modern forced labour
Assist governments in developing and implementing new laws, policies and action plans
Develop and disseminate guidance and training materials on key aspects of forced labour
and trafficking
Implement innovative programmes that combine policy development, capacity building of
law enforcement and labour market institutions, and targeted, field-based projects of direct
support for both prevention of forced labour and identification and rehabilitation of its
2. Minimum wage law
To protect the right of labours for fixing minimum wage, ILO has created Minimum Wage-Fixing
Machinery Convention, 1928, Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery (Agriculture) Convention, 1951
and Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970 as minimum wage law.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the lead UN-agency on HIV workplace policies
and programmes and private sector mobilization. The ILO recognizes that HIV has a potentially
devastating impact on labour and productivity and represents an enormous burden for working
people, their families and communities. ILOAIDS is the branch of the ILO dedicated to this issue.

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The ILO has been involved with the HIV response since 1998. In June 2001, the ILO's Governing
Body adopted a pioneering Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work, which was
launched during a special session of the UN General Assembly.
The same year, ILO became a cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
In 2010, the 99th International Labour Conference adopted the ILO's Recommendation
concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, 2010 (No. 200), the first international labour
standard on HIV and AIDS. The Recommendation lays out a comprehensive set of principles to
protect the rights of HIV-positive workers and their families, while scaling up prevention in the
workplace. Working under the theme of 'Preventing HIV, Protecting Human Rights at Work,'
ILOAIDS undertakes a range of policy advisory, research and technical support functions in the
area of HIV and AIDS and the world of work. ILO also works on promoting social protection as a
means of reducing vulnerability to HIV and mitigating its impact on those living with or affected
by HIV.
ILOAIDS is currently engaged in the "Getting to Zero"campaign to arrive at zero new
infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero-discrimination by 2015. Building on this campaign,
ILOAIDS is executing a programme of voluntary and confidential counselling and testing at
work, known as VCT@WORK
4. Migrant workers
As the word "migrant" suggests, migrant workers refer to those who moves from place to place to
do their job. For the rights of migrant workers, ILO has adopted conventions, including Migrant
Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 and United Nations Convention on the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in 1990.
5. Domestic workers
Domestic workers are those who perform a variety of tasks for and in other peoples' homes. For
example, they may cook / clean the house and look after children. Yet they are often the ones with
the least consideration, excluded from labour and social protection. This is mainly due to the fact
that women have traditionally carried out the tasks without pay.[47] For the rights and decent
work of domestic workers including migrant domestic workers, ILO has adopted Convention on
domestic workers on 16 June 2011.

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6. ILO and globalization

Seeking a process of globalization that is inclusive democratically governed and provides
opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people. The World Commission on the
Social Dimension of Globalization was established by the ILO's Governing Body in February
2002 at the initiative of the Director-General in response to the fact that there did not appear to be
a space within the multilateral system that would cover adequately and comprehensively the
social dimension of the various aspects of globalization. The World Commission Report, A Fair
Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All, is the first attempt at structured dialogue among
representatives of constituencies with different interests and opinions on the social dimension of
globalization, aimed at finding common ground on one of the most controversial and divisive
subjects of our time.

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