International Labor Organization (ILO)

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The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a dependent body of the United Nations (UN). This deals with matters related to work and labor relations. It arose in 1919, as a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles and with the aim of promoting decent work.

Bringing together workers, governments and employers, the ILO establishes labor regulations for the sake of decent employment. Thus, the philosophy of the ILO assumes that, with decent jobs, economic prosperity and social peace will be achieved.

Main objectives of the International Labor Organization (ILO)

The major goals that the ILO has set for itself cover four areas of action:

  • Promote respect for labor regulations and workers' rights.
  • Fight for decent wages for workers.
  • Greater social protection for workers.
  • Promote dialogue and negotiation between governments, employers and workers.

To try to achieve these objectives, the ILO establishes labor regulations, prepares programs at the international level, with the aim of strengthening fundamental rights and social and labor conditions, and promotes technical cooperation in labor matters at the international level.

How the ILO works

The ILO is defined as a tripartite organization, since it includes employers, governments of the member states and workers. Its function is to support the dialogue between employers and unions regarding social and economic policies.

The internal structure of the ILO is as follows:

  • International Labor Conference: In addition to being the body that decides on labor regulations, it will also serve as a body for debate on social and labor issues. It also handles the approval of the ILO budget.
  • Board of Directors: Holds executive power. In other words, it carries out the ILO's programs and takes care of the budgetary aspects of the organization.
  • International Labor Office: It is the supervisory body. It is in charge of the control functions of the Board of Directors.

It should be noted that the work carried out by the Board of Directors will be advised by commissions that have experts contributed by employers, governments and union organizations.

On the other hand, meetings of ILO member countries are held from time to time to address the most important labor and social issues.

What are the ILO's fields of action?

For the international standards of the ILO to take effect, there is a system of supervision and control. In other words, the ILO ensures that signed conventions are complied with.

For this, the organization regularly monitors the way in which the agreements are being applied and indicates in which areas it could be improved. Furthermore, the ILO can provide advice to member states.

Development cooperation is another of the major fields of action of the ILO. To this end, the ILO promotes programs that are committed to decent employment. In these, the commitment of employers, governments and workers is requested, in order to get involved.

In short, it is about carrying out policies that allow sustainable development and that, at the same time, translate into decent work.

The ILO program and budget

The ILO program and budget must be approved by the International Labor Conference every two years.

Thus, the program and the budget set the objectives to be achieved two years from now, the resources that will be allocated to achieve them, while approving the expenses that are considered pertinent.

But where does the ILO get funding from?

Mainly, through three ways:

  • Through the prorated contributions of the countries that comprise it.
  • Through voluntary contributions from the main partners.
  • Contributions from public agencies, financial institutions and agencies dependent on the UN.

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