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This was the very first effort to create universal organizations to deal with the social and economic problems faced by the world in the early 20th century. The Constitution laid the foundation for the Organization, spelled out its aims and purposes as well as its detailed design and also identified certain “methods and principles for regulating labour conditions which all industrial communities should endeavour to apply, so far as their special circumstances will permit” which are of “special and urgent importance”.
This vision of the constitution was taken a step further in a powerful declaration which was approved by the Organization at a conference help in Philadelphia in 1944 and was incorporated in its constitution. Today, by and large, the goal is devised as “decent work”, a notion which creates rights at work, employment and social protection into an overall vision, pursued through social dialogue, and which pays particular attention to the common reinforcement of action in different fields. The decent work goal is rooted in the most recent ILO Declaration, on Social Justice for Fair Globalization. In 1946, It became a Specialized Agency of the United Nations and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and in 1969 (Servais, 2005). The ILO differs from other intergovernmental organizations in two ways, the first is Tripartism, i.e, the participation of employers representatives, the employee representatives and government delegates. The second is the particular ways in which international labour standards are adopted, ratified and supervised. Tripartism is based on the article 3 of the ILO constitution which states that “The … General Conference … shall be composed of four representatives of each of the Members, of whom two shall be Government delegates and the two others shall be delegates representing respectively the employers and the workpeople of each of the Members.” (Servais, 2005).
International labour standards are legal mechanisms drawn up by the ILO’s constituents (governments, employers and workers) framing fundamental principles and rights at work. They are either conventions, which are lawfully obligatory international treaties that can either be ratified by the member states, or recommendations, that provide a non-binding guideline. In many cases, a convention lays down the basic ideology to be put into operation by ratifying countries, while an associated recommendation supplements the convention by giving more comprehensive course of action on how it could be applied. Recommendations can also be independent, that is, not related to any convention. Conventions and recommendations are crafted by the representatives of governments, employers and workers and are taken up at the ILO’s annual International Labour Conference. Once a standard is adopted, it is compulsory for the member state under the ILO Constitution to submit them to their expert authority (normally the parliament) for consideration. In the case of conventions, this means consideration for ratification. If it is ratified, a convention is normally applied after one year of the date of ratification in that country. Ratifying countries bound themselves to applying the convention in their national law and practice and to reporting on its application at regular intervals. If the country violates the convention they have ratified, representation and complaint procedures can be initiated (ILO, 2009).
The ILO’ has identified eight conventions as “fundamental”, covering areas that are considered as fundamental principles and rights at work: freedom of association and the effective recognition of 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. These principles are also covered in the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). In 1995, the ILO launched a campaign to attain universal ratification of these eight conventions. There are currently over 1,290 ratifications of these conventions, representing 88.5% of the possible number of ratifications (ILO, 2009).

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