The ILO and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) jointly organized a tripartite seminar on Labour Inspection Convention from 22-23 November 2017. The purpose of this seminar is to examine the prospect for ratification by China of the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No.81), which is referred to as Convention 81 hereinafter. State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), All-China Federation of Trade Unions, China Enterprise Confederation, National People’s Congress, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and MOHRSS’ local inspection authorities, the main stakeholders in improving workplace compliance and the ratification of Convention 81 are present in this national high-level dialogue.
Convention 81 is one of the 12 priority Conventions of the ILO. Labour inspection was the 9th founding principle expressed in the ILO Constitution of 1919: “Each State should make provision for a system of inspection in which women would take part, in order to ensure the enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the employed”. Convention 81 is of special significance to labour market governance. Today 78% of the member states of ILO have ratified this 70-year old convention.
The labour inspection system of China, officially established in 1993, is relatively young if compared with some western countries, but it has seen steady development over nearly 25 years. For many years labour and OSH inspection remains one of the most important areas that the ILO has closely cooperated with MOHRSS, SAWS, the social partners and the other institutions that are important stakeholders in improving workplace compliance and workers’ occupational safety and health. ILO, the Chinese government and social partners first started the dialogue on Convention 81 in 2003 and have continued the dialogue on Convention 81 ever since. Today China has established a comprehensive legal system for labour protection, social security and occupational safety and health. Labour and OSH inspection is playing an essential role in protecting the rights and interest of workers, providing safe and healthy working conditions for all employees, and promoting harmonious labour relations.
In the one and a half days discussion, the participants had an open, practical and constructive discussion to compare the Chinese laws and practices with Convention 81, identify gaps for improvement, and agree on follow up actions to prepare the conditions for the ratification of Convention 81. The participants agreed that the government should continue to attach great importance to labour and OSH inspection. The ratification of Convention 81 will contribute to the further strengthening and improvement of the labour and OSH inspection system of China.
The seminar is organized back to back with the seminar on Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), which is another convention that the government is seriously considering for ratification, to examine how labour inspectors can play a more important role in preventing and combating forced labour.