Day 62 – Q 2. What is the structure and the mandate of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)? Discuss. 

  • IASbaba
  • August 20, 2020
  • 0
GS 2, International Relations, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. What is the structure and the mandate of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)? Discuss. 

अंतर्राष्ट्रीय श्रम संगठन (ILO) की संरचना और अधिदेश क्या है? चर्चा करें।

Demand of the question:

It’s a straightforward question as it expects from candidate to write in detail about the structure and mandate of International Labour Organisation. 


The International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. It is the only tripartite U.N. agency as it brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.


The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.

  • The ILO is established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations. It became the first affiliated specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946. It has its headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland.

Structure of ILO: The ILO accomplishes its work through three main bodies which comprise governments’, employers’ and workers’ representatives:

  • International Labour Conference: It sets the International labour standards and the broad policies of the ILO. It meets annually in Geneva. It is often referred to as an International Parliament of Labour. It is also a forum for discussion of key social and labour questions.
  • Governing Body: It is the executive council of the ILO. It meets three times a year in Geneva. It takes policy decisions of ILO and establishes the programme and the budget, which it then submits to the Conference for adoption. The work of the Governing Body and the Office is aided by tripartite committees covering major industries.
  • It is also supported by committees of experts on such matters as vocational training, management development, occupational safety and health, industrial relations, workers’ education, and special problems of women and young workers.
  • International Labour Office: It is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization. It is the focal point for ILO’s overall activities, which it prepares under the scrutiny of the Governing Body and under the leadership of the Director-General.
  • Regional meetings of the ILO member States are held periodically to examine matters of special interest to the regions concerned.

Mandate of ILO:

  • ILO has mandate for creation of coordinated policies and programs, directed at solving social and labour issues.
  • It also has mandate for adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation.
  • It provides Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems.
  • It also works in Human rights protection field (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.).
  • It also facilitates Research and publication of works on social and labour issues.
  • As part of its mission, the ILO aims to achieve decent work for all by promoting social dialogue, social protection and employment creation, as well as respect for international labour standards.

So far ILO has worked as per its mandate and strived to achieve following glorious achievements:

  • ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: It was adopted in 1998, the Declaration commits member states to respect and promote eight fundamental principles and rights in four categories, whether or not they have ratified the relevant conventions.
  • Core Conventions of the ILO: The eight fundamental conventions form an integral part of the United Nations Human Rights Framework, and their ratification is an important sign of member States’ commitment to human rights.

However ILO faced criticism on certain issues as it lacked to address them, they are as follows:

  • A universal labour guarantee that protects the fundamental rights of workers’, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces.
  • Guaranteed social protection from birth to old age that supports people’s needs over the life cycle.
  • Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms.


The eight-core conventions of the ILO provide relevance and bring justice to the workers all around the world. The conventions are formulated keeping in mind the economic challenges faced by the workers of all classes. They help the workers get fair pay for their work and get the opportunity to be treated equally. It also regulates the employment of children for minimum wages. However, ILO needs to formulate policies to address the emerging challenges due to global integration so that interest of every worker is addressed.

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