Skip to main content

International Labour Law - Seminar 5

Week 5 (28 October 2014)

The ILO: Key Initiatives – The “Decent Work” Programme and Subsequent Follow-up Activities


The purpose of this seminar is to continue our detailed look at a small group of “key” ILO Conventions constituting what are described as the “core labour standards” and to see how a modern policy context has been developed on the basis of initiatives focused around the underlying objective of ensuring “Decent Work”.

The ILO and “Core” Labour Standards


Eight ILO Conventions have been identified by the ILO's Governing Body as being fundamental to the rights of human beings at work, irrespective of levels of development of individual member States. These deal with four key areas – Freedom of association; the abolition of forced labour; Equality and the elimination of child labour – and consist of:

Convention No.29, Forced Labour, 1930
Convention 87, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, 1948
Convention No.98, Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, 1949
Convention No.100, Equal Remuneration, 1951
Convention No.105, Abolition of Forced Labour, 1957
Convention No.111, Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958
Convention No.138, Minimum Age, 1973
Convention No.182, Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999


You should begin by considering the context and underlying purpose behind the initiative to place the spotlight upon a group of so-called “core” standard-setting instruments. READ:

There is a follow-up process associated with the 1998 Declaration. This involves an annual reporting procedure in relation to countries which have not yet ratified all of the “core” instruments, as well as the production of a Global Report (dealing, in turn, with the four designated areas of concern). SEE:

For a useful guide to the application of “core” labour standards, and examples of policies in practice, SEE:

Note that the promotion of “ core” labour standards has also been taken up at the level of the European Union. SEE:


The ILO and the Goal of “Decent Work”

For the development and presentation of this initiative, READ:


Assessing the Approach of Promoting “Core” Standards and the Promotion of “Decent Work”