International Labour Organization, ILO FAQ


The International Labour Organization, ILO Frequently Asked Questions

Meaning of ILO: The ILO was established in 1919 as a subsidiary of the League of Nations under the Versailles Peace Treaty. On December 14, 1946, he became a specialized agency of the United Nations, abbreviated as "Labor Organization". Its purpose is to: 

  • Promote full employment and improve living standards
  • Promote cooperation between employers and employee
  • Expand social security measures; protect workers' lives and health
The main activities are:
  • Engaging in international labor legislation
  • Formulating conventions and recommendations
  • Providing assistance and technical cooperation

The highest authority of the organization is the International Labour Conference, which meets once a year.



UN Organization Name:    International Labour Organization

Member States:    187
Principal:    Guy Ryder

Headquarters:    Geneva, Switzerland

Set up time:    1919

Official website:    http://www.ilo.org/


    What is Organization Overview of ILO?

    International Labour Organization Overview: As of 2015, the ILO has 185 member countries. 
    The main person in charge is the Director General (or known as the Director of the International Labour Office) Guy Ryder (United Kingdom). 
    He was elected in June 2012 and took office in September, with a term of office until 2017.

    Which Organizations does ILO Include?

    The Organization of the ILO includes:

    (1) International Labour Conference

    The highest authority, convened once a year; during the intersessional period, the Council directs the organization’s work, and the International Labour Office is its permanent secretariat. 

    The main activities include engaging in international labor legislation, formulating conventions and recommendations, and technical assistance and technical cooperation.

    (2) Council

    The Executive Committee of the International Labour Organization is elected by the General Assembly every three years and guides the work of the organization during the adjournment of the General Assembly. 
    It convenes a meeting in March, June and November each year.

    (3) International Labour Office

     Permanent Secretariat, located at the headquarters of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland. 

    The ILO is an international organization that participates in the country as a unit, but the organizational structure implements the unique "tripartism" principle. This means that the delegations of member states participating in various meetings and activities are composed of representatives of the government, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations. 

    The representatives of the three parties have equal and independent right to speak and vote. 
    International Labour Organization LOGO

    What is the Purpose of International Labour Organization?

    ILO Purpose
    • Promote full employment and improve living standards.
    • Promote labor-management cooperation.
    • Improve working conditions
    • Expand social security
    • Guarantee the occupational safety and health of workers
    • Obtain lasting world peace, and establish and maintain social justice

    What is ILO Declaration?

    The Declaration on the ILO’s Goals and Purposes (Philadelphia Declaration), adopted by the 26th International Labour Conference in 1944 in Philadelphia, USA, reaffirmed the basic principles of the ILO, including:

    • Workers are not commodities
    • Freedom of speech and freedom of association are necessary conditions for continuous progress
    • Poverty anywhere threatens prosperity everywhere
    • The fight against poverty requires the unremitting energies of all countries at home and the concerted efforts of the international community.

    The Philadelphia Declaration makes it clear that all human beings, regardless of race, belief or gender, seek material welfare and spiritual development under the conditions of freedom, dignity, economic security and equal opportunities. 
    Creating conditions to achieve this goal should become a national and international policy Central goal.

    The ILO has an obligation to review and consider all international economic and fiscal policies and measures in accordance with this goal. 

    After the adoption of the Philadelphia Declaration, as an annex to the Constitution, together with the Constitution, it became the basis and guiding document for the ILO ’s activities.

    What are the Responsibilities of ILO?

    International Labour Organization: The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting social justice and internationally recognized human rights and labor rights.

    It formulates international labor standards in the form of conventions and recommendations, and determines the minimum standards of basic labor rights. 

    It covers:

    • Freedom of association
    • The right to organiz
    • Collective bargaining
    • The abolition of forced labor
    • Equal opportunities and treatment
    • Other regulations that regulate working conditions throughout the work area standard.


    The ILO mainly provides technical assistance in the following areas: 
    • Vocational training and vocational rehabilitation
    • Employment policy
    • Labor administration
    • Labor law and industrial relation
    • Working conditions
    • Management development
    • Cooperatives
    • Social security
    • Labor statistics and occupational safety and health

    It advocates the development of independent worker and employer organizations and provides training and consulting services to these organizations. 

    The organization implements the principle of "tripartite mechanism", that is, the delegation of each member country is composed of two people from the government. 
    One representative from each worker and employer, and all three parties participate in various meetings and institutions and vote independently.

    What is the History of ILO?

    History of International Labour Organization: The ILO was established at the Peace Conference held after the end of the First World War in 1919. This Peace Conference was first held in Paris and then in Versailles. In April 1919, the Peace Conference adopted the ILO Constitution.
    The ILO was first created for humanitarian purposes. 
    The working conditions of workers are increasingly unacceptable, and a large number of workers are being exploited without considering their physical, family life and their personal development.
    The ILO Constitution clearly reflects people ’s concern about this situation in the preamble, noting that “existing working conditions have exposed a large number of workers to injustice, suffering and poverty”. 

    The second is for political purposes. If the working conditions of workers are not improved, then with the development of industrialization, the number of workers will continue to increase, which may result in social instability and even revolution.
    The preface points out that injustice "has caused such great instability that it has endangered world peace and harmony". 

    The third is for economic purposes. Since improving working conditions inevitably has an impact on production costs, any industry or country undergoing social improvement may find itself placed at a disadvantage to its competitors. 

    The preamble states that “If any country does not adopt humane working conditions, it will become an obstacle for other countries who are willing to improve their own conditions.”
    In the middle of World War II, representatives of governments, employers and workers from 41 countries attended the International Labor Conference in Philadelphia. 

    Delegates adopted the Philadelphia Declaration as an annex to the ILO Constitution, which is still a charter on the purpose and objectives of the ILO. The ILO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
    On March 4, 1999, professional lawyer and diplomat Juan Somavia became the ninth director of the International Labour Office, and was re-elected twice in 2003 and 2008. Mr. Somavia has been engaged in civil and international affairs for a long time and has an outstanding reputation.

     In early 2012, it was announced that due to family reasons, he would resign on September 30 of that year.
    In June 2012, the then Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (or Executive Director of the International Labour Office) Guy Ryder was elected as the new Director-General. 

    Ryder was the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, and was the first director-general in the history of the International Labour Organization who was not nominated by the governments of member states (nominated by the Workers’ Group). 

    In October 2012, Ryder was appointed Director General.
    On May 8, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations Secretary General Guterres, ILO Director General Guy Ryder, and others participated in the 100th anniversary celebration of the ILO.

    What are the Main Activities of ILO?

    International Labour Organization Main Activities:

    Hold a meeting

    Since its establishment until 2013, the organization has held 102 International Labour Conferences. By March 2014, the organization had held 320 council meetings. 

    From the beginning of the 21st century to 2015, the recurring issues of the Council mainly include: 
    • Review and approval of the work reports of special committees such as freedom of association
    • Planned finance and administration
    • Law and international labor standards, employment and social policy
    • Discussion of budgets, personnel and meeting plans, etc.
    In addition to the above regular meetings, the organization often holds various industry and sector professional meetings to study issues related to employment, training, occupational safety and health, and social security in related industries or industries.

    Daily affairs of International Labour Organization

    (1) International labor legislation

    Formulate international labor conventions and recommendations for member states to approve and implement. Since its establishment, successive labor conferences have formulated 188 conventions and 203 recommendations. 

    (2) Technical assistance and technical cooperation

     to provide member countries with financial, technical and consulting assistance and cooperation in the field of labor. 

    (3) Research and publication

    Carry out research work on theory and practice in the field of labor science, and publish and distribute various relevant journals, monographs, and promotional materials.

    What are the International Labor Standards?

    An important activity of the ILO is to engage in international labor legislation, that is, to develop international labor standards. International labor standards take two forms: 
    International labor conventions and international labor recommendations. The convention is an international treaty, formulated by voting by more than two-thirds of the representatives attending the International Labour Conference.
    Thereafter,
    Subject to the independent decision of the Member State, the approval procedures can be performed at any time, that is, it has legal binding force on the country and no binding force on the country that does not approve it.

    The proposal is formulated in the same way, but approval is not required, and its role is Reference when formulating national policies, laws and regulations in related fields.

    In practice, the method of supplementing a recommendation with a more detailed and specific content while formulating a convention is often adopted.

    Classification of International Labour Organization

    International labor standards can be divided into the following types according to their content:
    1. Basic labor human rights refer to freedom of association and collective bargaining, mainly referring to the freedom to establish trade unions, abolition of forced labor, the implementation of collective bargaining, equality of labor opportunities and treatment, and abolition of child labor.

    2. Employment, social policy, labor management, labor-management relations, working conditions, including wages, working hours, occupational safety and health, social security, including compensation for work-related injuries, pensions, unemployment insurance.

    3. Target specific groups and occupations, including women, child labor and underage workers, elderly workers, disabled people, migrant workers, seafarers, fishermen, dock workers, etc.

    For a long time, the ILO has attached importance to the formulation of international labor standards, promoted the ratification and implementation of international labor conventions by Member States, and played a positive role in safeguarding the basic rights and interests of workers and other workers in various countries.

    In the 1990s, the ILO took a series of measures to promote the ratification process.

    However, for historical reasons, the entire international labor standards system is mainly based on the socio-economic development level and needs of developed countries.

    Therefore, despite the International Labor Organization calling it the minimum standard of international labor, and advocating the universality and flexibility of the standard, the majority of developing countries still have many difficulties in the formulation and approval of the Convention, and there are many contradictions with developed countries.

    Especially in recent years, the trade union organizations and governments of a few Western countries have advocated that the status of the implementation of labor conventions in various countries should be linked to their international trade and market access, which has caused opposition in the labor organizations.

    What are the Main Publications of ILO?

    International Labour Organization Main Publications: 
    • International Labour Review
    • Official Bulletin, 3 times a year
    • Labor Statistics Bulletin (Quarterly) 
    • (Bulletin of Labor Statistics)
    • Year Book (Year Book of Labor Statistics)
    • World of Work (Bimonthly)
    The above publications are published in English, French and Spanish, and the Chinese version of "Working World" is published.

    1. International Labour Review

    Academic publications that publish economic and social articles related to current international and national labor issues. Bimonthly.

    2. Labor Law Documents

    Publish important international labor conventions and texts of laws and regulations on labor and social security in various countries. Published three times a year.

    3. Bulletin of Labour Statistics

    Publication of special articles on labor statistics, statistical tables on employment, unemployment, wages, working hours, and consumer prices in three languages ​​in parallel in English, French and Western languages ​​(with each latest issue of a supplementary material) 

    According to the results of the “October Survey” conducted annually by occupational classification on wages and working hours and food retail prices. A total of four bulletins, four supplementary materials, and one special issue of "October Survey" are published every year.

    4. Year Book of Labour Statistics

    Three languages: English, French and Western. 
    Published annual comprehensive statistics of labor in various countries of the world, including total population and economically active population, employment, unemployment, working hours, wages, labor costs, industrial injuries, strikes and plant closures (the vast majority of tables are classified by major economically active sectors), and consumer prices. Explain statistical sources and methods to provide guidance for the use of yearbooks and bulletins.

    5. Official Bulletin

    Bulletin A (Series A): publish ILO work news, documents adopted by the International Labour Conference and other official documents; Bulletin B (Series B): publish the report of the Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Office. There are three phases each year.

    6. Social and Labour Bulletin

    Quarterly Social and Labor News. Post the latest news on the activities of governments and employers' and workers' organizations in social and labor affairs legislation and policy formulation. Four supplements and one supplement each year.

    7. International Labour Documentation

    Monthly. According to the bulletin of the catalogue compiled by the LABORDOC database of the International Labour Office, it includes labor relations, labor laws, employment, working conditions, management, vocational training, project evaluation, labor economy, social development, rural development, technological change and other fields in countries around the world.

    8. Documents of the International Labour Conference

    Including the working papers of each year ’s International Labour Conference issues and the minutes of the conference, usually 14 to 18 items.

    9. Labor Education

    quarterly. For trade union organizations and other worker education institutions to carry out worker education. 
    News and book reviews on the current status of world labor issues, ILO activities, worker education methods and the history of the labor movement are published.

    10. Judgments of the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO

    Published two to three times a year.

    11. Conditions of Work Digest

    Publish information on legislation, policy formulation, and plan implementation related to important issues and trends in working conditions and quality of work life. Twice a year.

    12. Documents of the Regional Conferences

    Including working papers on various topics of the ILO Regional Conferences for Africa, America, Asia and Europe. Published after each meeting.

    13. Documents of Industrial Meetings

    Including working documents and meeting minutes of various professional industry meetings held by the International Labour Office. Published after each meeting.

    14. Labor-Management Relations Series

    Monographs on labor law and labor relations are published from time to time.

    15. Management Development Series

    Monographs on various management issues and management development methods are published from time to time.

    16. The Cost of Social Security

    A comparative study of social security expenditures in countries around the world. Issued every three years.

    17. Occupational Safety and Health Series

    Occupational safety and health monographs and reports on occupational diseases and accidents. Published irregularly.

    18. World Employment Program Studies

    Publication of publicity materials, research reports, and monographs published by the International Employment Office of the International Labour Office (the function of this office is to provide assistance to countries in the world to eliminate poverty and unemployment) Published irregularly.

    Relations with China

    China is a founding member of the International Labour Organization and a permanent member of the organization. 

    In 1971, China resumed its legal seat in the organization. Before 1983, China did not participate in the organization's activities. 

    In June 1983, China sent a delegation headed by the Minister of Labor and Personnel to attend the 69th International Labour Conference and formally resumed its activities in the International Labour Organization. 

    From 1983 to the present, China has sent delegations to attend various meetings every year and actively participated in the organization’s activities in international labor legislation and technical cooperation. 

    Over the past ten years, China’s relationship with the International Labour Organization has grown considerably. 
    It has carried out personnel exchange visits, inspections, ILO experts sent to China to hold seminars and workshops, formulated and implemented technical cooperation plans, and assisted China in establishing vocational technical training Center and other activities.

    The international labor convention ratified by China covers the minimum age of employment, minimum wage, working hours and rest time, working conditions of seafarers, equal pay for equal work for men and women, and employment of disabled persons. 

    By the end of 2013, China had ratified 25 international labor conventions.

    In January 1985, the ILO established an agency in China, the ILO Beijing Bureau, to be responsible for contacting relevant government agencies, trade union organizations, enterprise groups, academic units, etc., as well as implementing technical assistance and cooperation projects for China. 


    International Labour Organization Seal

    ILO Salary Report

    In early April 2012, the ILO released monthly per capita income statistics for 72 countries and regions around the world. 

    The results show that the per capita monthly income of these countries and regions is US $ 1480, or about RMB 9327. 
    Among them, Luxembourg has the highest wage level, with an average monthly salary of 4,089 US dollars. 

    The average monthly salary of employees in Mainland China is 656 US dollars, or about 4,134 yuan (this salary standard is subject to discussion), ranking 57th. In addition, Hong Kong and Macau ranked 30th and 52nd respectively.

    ILO Analysis Report


    Affirm China's Huimin system

    The International Labour Organization released an analysis report in Geneva on September 3, 2012, affirming China's recent implementation of a medical insurance system that benefits all people.
    The analysis report is titled "The Latest Revolution in China: Basic Medical Services Benefiting All People". The report believes that China's achievements in promoting basic medical services since 2012 are not only a "reform" but also a "revolution".
    According to the report, before 2003, the population targeted by China's medical insurance was mainly urban employees. Since then, China has vigorously promoted medical insurance for rural population and urban residents. 

    Since April 2009, the Chinese government has invested 850 billion yuan in a new round of medical reform. By 2015, China’s universal medical insurance has basically achieved full coverage. 

    By the end of 2011, employees, urban residents and new rural cooperative medical insurance have participated in it.
    The number of insurers has reached 1.3 billion, and the coverage rate has reached 95%. China already has the world's largest medical insurance system. 

    From 2009 to 2011, in the past three years, the Chinese government has invested a total of 63 billion yuan to support the construction of 2,200 county-level hospitals and 33,000 grassroots medical and health institutions. 

    In the past three years, China has also introduced a training system for general practitioners, which has trained more than 10,000 general practitioners, and a network covering urban and rural primary health care has been initially established.
    The report pointed out that China's budget for health has increased by 30% annually in recent years. 

    From 2008 to 2011, China invested a lot of financial resources in training medical personnel and improving medical services. 

    China has also released the "National Essential Medicines List" to prevent medical institutions from increasing the price of medicines, and the price of essential medicines has dropped by an average of 30% compared to before the system was implemented.

    In addition, the new medical insurance system is particularly aimed at "three noes" among urban residents who are unable to work, have no source of income, and are unable to provide support, and provide them with medical services.
    The report also pointed out that there are only 1.32 caregivers per 1,000 people in China, which prevents some insured persons from actually accessing medical services.

    In addition, the rapid aging of the Chinese population poses a challenge to China's medical security undertakings. 
    The population of 65 years and over among the Chinese population will exceed 8%. 
    By 2025, this proportion will reach 14%, which is bound to increase the burden on China's medical insurance system.






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