International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization (ILO) was established in 1919. Since 1946 the ILO is a specialized agency of the UN. The Organization aims at promoting social and economic progress and improving labour conditions.
The main functions of the ILO are the following:
- Creation of coordinated policies and programs directed at solving social and labour issues;
- Adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation;
- Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems;
- Human rights protection (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.);
- Research and publication of works on social and labour issues.
The basis of the ILO is the tripartite principle, i.e. the negotiations within the Organization are held between the representatives of governments, trade unions, and member-states’ employers.
187 conventions and recommendations on social and labour issues have been adopted since 1919.
The International Labour Conference (ILC) is the ILO superior body convened at least once a year. The Conference deals with examining and adopting the international norms in the social and labour sphere, and with discussing universally important questions.
The Governing Body is the ILO executive body which directs the Organization’s activities in the period between the ILC sessions and defines the order of the Conference decisions’ implementation. The Governing Body meets three times a year.
The International Labour Office is the ILO permanent secretariat.
Liberia is an ILO member since its creation in 1919 and has ratified 25 international labour Conventions. Out of 25 Conventions ratified by Liberia, of which 14 are in force, 9 Conventions have been denounced; 2 instruments abrogated; none have been ratified in the past 12 months.
Development and assenting of the Decent Work Law
The Decent Work Bill, which was developed by the tripartite partners in collaboration with the ILO was passed into Law in June 2015, the country’s first labour law since the 1950s. The formulation of the law was supported by the ILO through technical, financial and advisory services. The ILO promoted and facilitated an extensive process of consultations between the government, employers and workers across Liberia. These consultation processes enriched and improved the new law in many ways, and will serve as a solid basis for the law to realize its potential to make a major contribution to the rule of law and good governance in Liberia.
It is the first labour law in the world that refers to the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda directly in its title and includes a clear statement of its purposes. Among others, this means an environment that helps to create quality jobs, and allows all workers to exercise their rights at work. The new law is also intended to promote economic development and growth, including by reducing obstacles to efficient business competition.
Promoting social dialogue for peace building and good governance
The ILO has over the years undertaken a number of capacity building activities targeted at improving the capacities of the social partners namely the Liberia Labour Congress and Liberia Chambers of Commerce. This has involved support to the reconstruction of premises, which had been damaged during the war, training of respective staff, and provision of IT and other logistical equipment.
As a result, the new National Tripartite Council was created and brings together representatives of employers, workers and the government to advise the Minister of Labour on labour market issues and the implementation of the new labour law. The National Tripartite Council will help to institutionalize and to promote social dialogue between civil society and the government. The new law also includes a framework to establish strong and independent employer and worker organizations allowing them to engage in effective collective bargaining over conditions of employment and work.