The Role of ACTRAV
As the main link between the International Labour Office and workers, the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) coordinates all the activities of the Office related to workers and their organizations, both at headquarters and in the field. The International Labour Organization (ILO), whose executive secretariat is the International Labour Office, is the only tripartite agency of the United Nations. In it, governments, as well as employers and workers are represented on an equal footing. They benefit equally from the services of the Organization.
The ILO tripartite approach provides a means of solving social disputes through dialogue. It promotes "social partnership" between worker and employer organizations and governments in the Organization's member States.
ACTRAV's mission is to maintain close relations with the trade union movement throughout the various countries of the world, to provide trade unions with the support of the International Labour Office in endeavours to strengthen their influence by promoting activities which defend and advance the rights of workers.
- Is the link between the International Labour Office and one of its key stakeholders: the trade union movement
- Ensures that the concerns of trade unions are incorporated into all the activities of the International Labour Office
- Enables trade union organizations to make full use of the potential of the Office.
- Enables the Office to count on the support of trade unions in promoting and attaining its goals
Social justice, fundamental rights at work, the defence and expansion of social protection, full employment and equality of treatment are the overarching goals of the ILO, and are summarized in the concept of "Decent Work".
ACTRAV contributes to the attainment of these objectives by supporting trade union activities in a wide range of fields:
- Strengthening the labour movement
- Promoting fundamental rights and principles at work
- Collective bargaining and social dialogue
- Combatting the exploitation of child labour
- Improving working conditions and the environment
- Fighting unemployment and underemployment
- Worker education and training, especially through the ILO Training Centre in Turin
Much more than a department of officials, ACTRAV brings together a team of trade unionists representing the world's various regions and experienced in the work of international trade union solidarity and in strengthening the labour movement. Our specialists work from the Office's Geneva headquarters, as well as from its regional offices in the field and in multidisciplinary teams, where they contribute to awareness of trade unionism.
The ACTRAV team:
Prepares the case files that will help worker representatives develop their positions and arguments for the Annual Conference of the ILO, the Governing Body, regional and sectoral conferences and in the Office's various activities
- Assists worker delegates as they take part in these activities
- Infuses a trade union perspective into the work of other departments and divisions of the Office
- Raises awareness of union initiatives and activities in other departments and sectors in the ILO
- Follows up and analyses trends in national, regional, industry-based and international trade union movements.
- Uses its resources and expertise to help strengthen and develop workers' organisations.
ACTRAV's work concept, which includes an active presence in the field, training or information seminars, cooperation projects, briefings, studies and publications, is an action dynamic designed to promote the fundamental rights of workers, values of social justice and concepts of equality.
ACTRAV is stepping up its activities:
- International campaigns to promote the ratification of ILO conventions
- Organizing meetings and seminars on subjects of interest and topicality to workers
- Preparing representations to ILO Member governments to secure the respect and implementation of their commitments
- Project implementation and technical cooperation and assistance in the field
- Training of trade union leaders
- Conduct of specific programmes pertaining to labour issues
A Source of Information
Thanks to its close ties with trade union organization across the world, its presence in the field in various regions and to its training activities, ACTRAV is at the centre of a vast network for information on the trade union movement. This information is placed at the service of the International Labour Office and its constituents and of the public at large through the media, universities and NGOs.
The principal vehicles for this information are:
- The International Journal of Labour Research, published by the Bureau for Workers’ Activities. It provides an overview of recent research on labour and social policies from trade union researchers and academics around the world. The International Journal of Labour Research is multidisciplinary and will be of interest to trade union researchers, labour ministries and academics of all relevant disciplines – industrial relations, sociology, law, economics and political science. It is published twice a year in English, French and Spanish.
- The ACTRAV web pages constitute a wealth of information on the activities of the International Labour Office, targeted at workers and offer links to national, regional and international trade union organizations as well as other UN agencies.
- Human Rights at Work, a regular online bulletin on ACTRAV activities.
- A wide variety of publications, manuals, brochures and practical guides on a broad spectrum of issues of interest to workers.
Whether it is the situation regarding industrial accidents in Tonga or the arrest of a trade unionist in Latin America or actions taken by African trade unions to combat HIV/AIDS, ACTRAV will be able to put you in touch with the persons who are most knowledgeable about the matter and who can furnish you with information.
The ACTRAV network spans the globe:
- The major international trade union confederations accredited to the ILO
- The major international industry-based trade union federations (construction, services, power, metal-working, transport, food, agriculture, etc.)
- Over 500 national trade union organizations
- Through ACTRAV, the other departments and specialized divisions of the International Labour Office
- ILO and ACTRAV representatives in the field
- The multidisciplinary advisory teams
- The training Centre in Turin, which plays a key role in worker education activities.