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The Procedures of the International Labour Organization

Constitution of the International Labour Organization:

Conventions adopted by the International Labour Conference of the ILO:

Protected Main Rights

  • Freedom of Association and of Collective Bargaining (Conventions No. 87 and No. 98)
  • Prohibition of Forced Labour (Conventions No. 29 and No. 105)
  • Elimination of Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (Conventions No. 100 and No. 111)
  • Abolition of Child Labour (Conventions No. 138 and No. 182)

Complaint Procedures

The complaint procedure is regulated by Articles 26 to 34 of the ILO Constitution, by which a complaint against a Member State, not observing a convention to which it is a party, can be filed by:

  • another Member State also having ratified the same convention
  • any delegate to the ILO Conference (each Member State is also represented by a delegate representing the employers and a delegate representing the workers)
  • the ILO Governing Body (composed of 28 State representatives, 14 representatives of employers and 14 representatives of workers)

In other words, the complaint cannot be filed by an individual. It is mostly done by the trade unions of the country which are represented in the ILO.
Having received a complaint, the Governing Body has the possibility to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, composed of three independent members, which has the mission to carry out a close examination of the complaint, to prove the facts and formulate a recommendation as regards measures to be taken for solving the raised issues.

If a State refuses to comply with recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry, the Governing Body can take measures in virtue of Article 33 of the ILO Constitution. That Article provides that “in the event of any Member failing to carry out within the time specified the recommendations, if any, contained in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, (…),the Governing Body may recommend to the Conference such action as it may deem wise and expedient to secure compliance therewith”. Article 33 has been used once in the history of the ILO in 2000, as the Governing Body has demanded to take measures to prompt Myanmar to curb exploitation of forced labour.

African States being Party to ILO Conventions

It is necessary to examine each ILO Convention to determine the participating States. Concerning the rights mentioned previously, a ratification table for African countries is available here:

Concrete African Cases

Complaint against the Government of Lesotho presented by the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (IFBWW), Case No. 1590, Report No. 283:

Complaint against the Government of Lesotho presented by Lesotho General Workers' Union, Case No. 638, Report No. 126:

Last change: 18.01.10 - 15:09