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90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO


Illustrating the wide-reaching and varied work of the ILO, these images chart some of the major challenges the Organization has faced, and show how it has adapted and evolved over the years to remain relevant and influential throughout massive social and technological shifts. > http://www.ilo.org/90


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90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Born in the aftermath of the First World War, the International Labour Organization was created as a means of establishing universal peace through social justice. The Commission on International Labour Legislation, shown in the photograph, was composed of two representatives from each of the five great powers of the time (United States, British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan), along with representatives from Belgium, Cuba, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Article 392 of the Treaty of Versailles states: "The International Labour Office shall be established at the seat of the League of Nations as part of the organization of the League." Geneva, already selected as the seat of the League, was therefore also the seat of the International Labour Office. In this picture, ILO Assistant Director Harold Butler and Director Albert Thomas enjoy a moment of rest in front of the first ILO building, La Châtelaine, in Pregny, Switzerland, 1920. This building now houses the Headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
The members of the ILO are sovereign States; they meet at least once a year at a Conference, to which each member is entitled to send a tripartite delegation consisting of four delegates, two representing the government, the other two representing, respectively, the employers and the workers of the country. In the Conference and in the Governing Body, employers's and workers's delegates sit side by side with government delegates and enjoy equal rights. In plenary sessions and committee meetings at the annual International Labour Conference, delegates discuss problems facing the world of work. At the First Session of the Conference in Washington, DC from 29 October to 29 November 1919, 40 countries and territories were represented. The Conference adopted the first ILO Convention, the Hours of Work (Industry) Convention (No. 1) on the 8-hour day and 48-hour working week.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Equally as important as the annual session of the International Labour Conference is the Governing Body of the ILO, a tripartite council elected by the Conference. The Governing Body is charged with overseeing the work of the Interational Labour Office, which entails everything from commissioning special committees to examining the expenditures of the ILO. At its inception,the Governing Body was composed of 12 Government members, 6 Employer members, and 6 Worker members. Today the Governing Body has expanded to 28 Government members, 14 Employer members, and 14 Worker members, reflecting the increased membership of the ILO.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
From 1926 to 1974 the ILO was hosted in a new building constructed especially for the Organization, designed by Georges Epitaux of Lausanne. Over 60 enterprises and sculptors were hired to build and adorn the new Office. It would later become the headquarters of GATT and the WTO.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
In appreciation of the work performed by the ILO, a number of gifts have been bestowed on it. One such gift is Maurice Denis' mural "The Dignity of Work", which was given to the ILO by the International Confederation of Christian Trade Unions. Designed to integrate into the structure of the building, this 6x3 metre mural was painted at Denis' home and brought to Geneva to be stretched over the wall and arches in the Centre William Rappard (which now houses the WTO). After being hidden for decades, the mural was rediscovered in 2007 by a group of ILO and WTO volunteers and art enthusiasts.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
As the permanent secretariat of the Organization the International Labour Office regularly produces reports, often published in multiple languages, for use by member States and the social partners (employers, workers) of the ILO, along with researchers and the general public. In addition to publishing reports on labour, Article 396 of the Treaty of Versailles requires the International Labour Office as part of its mandate to collect and distribute "information on all subjects relating to the international adjustment of conditions of industrial life and labour".
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO Correspondents at the Fourth Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, June 1922. During the 1920s the ILO began to install a number of Correspondents in areas of high activity to help facilitate operations worldwide. The functions of the Correspondents in the early years were to communicate with local labour ministries and employers¿ and workers¿ organizations; answer local requests for information; organize visits; sell publications; and keep the Geneva headquarters updated about the current status of labour issues in their area. Nowadays the scope of Field Officers and National Correspondents has expanded, and offices are spread over the globe.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
"A class which takes care of its children is already a class conscious of its destiny" Albert Thomas, first Director of the ILO. Albert Thomas frequently visited member States to discuss labour policy at the highest levels: with Heads of State and government representatives, with employers' organizations and with trade union leaders. In 1927 during a two-month official mission to Scandinavia and the Baltic States he also visited a children¿s holiday home in Latvia where children of Riga's workers could spend some time in the countryside.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO staff at the opening session of the First Labour Conference of American States, 1936. The First Labour Conference of American States opened in Santiago, Chile, on 2 January 1936 after the Chilean Government extended the offer of hosting a regional conference. In attendance were 21 American member States of the ILO, as well as Costa Rica (represented by observers). An overwhelming success, the Regional Conference passed resolutions relating to the founding principles of social insurance, issues of employment and unemployment, and requested research to be undertaken by the Office on immigration and the problems of Native Americans.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Delegation of the United States of America to the 20th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, June 1936. Front row, second from left: John G. Winant, Government delegate, who became Director of the ILO in 1939. The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles had been born out of US President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" speech. But the US Senate's failure to ratify the Treaty of Versailles meant that the United States was not a member of the League of Nations and consequently not of the ILO. The onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s created increased interest in the United States about public works and social programmes. The ILO continued to encourage the United States to participate in its activities. The appointment of Frances Perkins as Secretary of Labor under President Roosevelt brought the United States closer to membership, and on 19 June 1934 the United States, despite not being a member of the League of Nations, opted to join the ILO by virtue of Congressional Resolution SJ 131, ultimately signed by President Roosevelt.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Women delegates at the 20th Session of the International Labour Conference, 1936. The proportion of women participating in the Conference has always been low. The ILO adopted a resolution at the 78th Session (1991) of the Conference, calling on governments, employers' and workers' organizations to include more women in their delegations to the International Labour Conference. Since 2002, there has been a trend of slight yearly improvement...
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
A group of ILO officials and their spouses waiting to board ship, Lisbon, Portugal, September 1940. In 1939 an Emergency Committee was formed that would replace the Governing Body if war broke out. The Swiss Federal Council had introduced a measure whereby international organizations would only be given 24 hours to leave Switzerland in case of armed conflict. After plans to move to France became untenable, the Canadian government agreed to host the organization at McGill University in Montreal. Staff deemed essential for the chief activities of the ILO were transferred, completing a five-day carand- train voyage through France, to Lisbon in Portugal, where they waited one month before being able to sail for their new working centre in Montreal.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Delegates to the 4th meeting of the Building, Civil Engineering and Public Works Committee, October-November 1953 Industrial Committees, where employers and workers can come together to discuss problems and advances in different industrial sectors, are a notion dating from the 91st Session of the Governing Body in December 1943. However, it was not until January 1945 that they were finally approved in the following domains: inland transport, coal mines, iron and steel, metal trades, textiles, petroleum, and building trades (including public works). Later on, committees were added for the chemical industry, plantations, and salaried employees. Tripartite in nature, the Industrial Committees quickly became part of the integral fabric of the ILO's activities.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
P. J. Nehru addressing the Preparatory Asian Regional Conference, New Delhi, October-November 1947. The success of the First Labour Conference of American States in 1936 encouraged the ILO to gradually introduce Regional Conferences. Focused on one area of the world, these Regional Conferences permit intensive examination of issues of regional interest and relevance. The first Regional Conference in Asia was held at New Delhi in 1947; in 1955 the first in Europe was held in Geneva; and in 1960 the first in Africa was held at Lagos.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO Director-General David A. Morse accompanies Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the Fourth Asian Labour Conference, 13 November 1957, in New Delhi, India. At the Fourth Asian Labour Conference in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Nehru gave the opening speech, remarking that "in a true world everybody should labour and everybody should be a producer and a consumer. However, as things are, you have tried to deal with them in a cooperative manner and I do not think there is any other satisfactory way of dealing with them." Specific issues treated at the Conference included handicraft industries and the conditions of work of sharecroppers.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Miguel Ximenez, an engineer agronomist, at the Andean Programme's "Chimborazo project" in Ecuador in 1957. The ILO Technical Assistance Programme began in 1949, followed in 1950 by the United Nations Enlarged Programme of Technical Assistance. The ILO's technical cooperation and capacity- building programmes are now offered to countries on all continents and at all stages of economic development and help to build bridges between the Organization's standard-setting role and the people. An extensive network of offices throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East provides technical guidance on policy issues, and assistance in the design and implementation of development programmes. The projects are implemented through close cooperation between recipient countries, donors, and the ILO, which maintains a network of area and regional offices worldwide. In the last decade, an average of some US$130 million has been spent annually on technical cooperation projects.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
A.S. Tchistayakov, permanent representative of the USSR to the European Office of the United Nations, deposits instruments of ratification for 18 ILO Conventions on 10 August 1956. In some instances, multiple Conventions are ratified at the same time as a result of new membership, or a withdrawal from and subsequent readmission to the ILO. This was the case with regard to the USSR: having become a member State of the ILO in 1934 it withdrew in 1940, becoming a member again after the Second World War on 26 April 1956.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
The first study course held by the International Institute for Labour Studies, September 1962. In 1960 the ILO launched the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS), a think-tank for advanced research in labour issues. The IILS carries out research, debates, policy forums, and publications, and has a yearly internship programme held in Geneva just before the annual International Labour Conference. The internship course aims to aid the participants in promoting active labour policy in their respective countries. The Institute also hosts the ILO Century Project, which explores the history of ILO ideas, methods and achievements.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
A Turin Centre training course, February 1969. The International Training Centre for the ILO was established in 1964. The idea for the centre began in 1961, when the ILO cooperated in the planning of an International Labour Exhibition in Turin which had as a theme "human labour as a determining factor in economic and social progress". When the exhibition ended, the Italian Government allowed the main pavilion of the labour exhibition to be converted into an international centre for advanced technical training, for those who did not have such training available in their home countries. The Turin Centre provides advanced vocational training and serves as a focal point for high-level in-service training.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Workers in Brazil. Employment has always been a major ILO concern and became a central goal of the development strategy promoted by the UN system from the 1960s on. In 1969 ILO Director-General David Morse launched the World Employment Programme (WEP), which built a substantial programme of research and action aimed at increasing employment, particularly in developing countries.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO Director-General David A. Morse receives the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the ILO on 10 December 1969 In 1969, on the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for its promotion of social justice and peace among nations, a quality exemplified even in a document contained in the cornerstone of the ILO building: "Si vis pacem, cole justitiam" - If you seek peace, cultivate justice.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO Director-General C. Wilfred Jenks and the President of Cameroon, El Hadj Ahmadou Ahidjo, lay the cornerstone of the African Regional Centre for Labour Administration, seat of an ILO area office in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 28 July 1971 When the ILO was founded in 1919 the only independent States on the African continent were Ethiopia, Liberia, and the Union of South Africa. However, with the post-Second World War wave of decolonization the ILO needed to recognize the new responsibilities these changes placed upon it and to evolve appropriate new techniques and machinery. The opening of the first African Field Office at Lagos, Nigeria in January 1959 was one such step, later followed by other offices, such as that in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
The current ILO headquarters, opened in 1974 in Grand Saconnex, Geneva. In the 1960s the ILO lakeside building became too small, so it was decided to sell it and build a new, larger headquarters on Route des Morillons in Grand Saconnex. Three architects (Eugène Beaudoin, Alberto Camenzind, and Pier Luigi Nervi) participated in the conceptualization of the building, which cost 146,203,099 Swiss francs to build.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Lech Walesa (Workers' delegate, Poland) at a plenary sitting of the 67th Session of the International Labour Conference. In June 1981, Polish Workers' delegate Lech Walesa (of the trade union Solidarity, and later the President of Poland) gave a speech championing worker' self-management, social justice, and trade union independence. His appearance caused a stir because only the year before he had led a strike in the Gdansk shipyard that helped force the Polish authorities to sign the Gdansk Agreements, giving workers the right to organize in free and independent trade unions. However, the proclamation of martial law in Poland in December 1981 ended the open existence of trade unions, including Solidarity which by then had 10 million members. In June 1982 the Worker delegates of France and Norway filed a complaint against Poland for non-compliance with ILO Conventions they had ratified regarding freedom of association and the right to organize. A Commission of Inquiry was formed to investigate and its report found Poland in violation of various Conventions. It suggested that the Polish Government and trade unions work together to resolve the problems, but Poland gave official notice of its withdrawal from the ILO, a measure that was, however, later revoked. The Polish workers' dream of an independent, selfgoverning trade union was finally realized in 1989 when Solidarity regained its legal status.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Director-General of the ILO Michel Hansenne and Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress, in discussion during the 77th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva. On 8 June 1990, in one of his first visits to an international organization following his release from prison, Nelson Mandela addressed the 77th Session of the International Labour Conference. He saluted the ILO for its "enormous contribution" to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of democratic principles, going on to say that the actions of the ILO "are important elements in the common efforts of all humanity to isolate and by this means destroy the system of apartheid." In June 2007, Mandela was the joint recipient of the ILO's first annual Decent Work Research Prize. He recalled his 1990 speech, and said the ILO continued to "promote the values we share, the rights we all must respect and the ideal that progress is only possible through genuine dialogue".
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Former soccer ball sewers in a school that is part of an ILO Field Project in Sialkot, Pakistan, 2005. Since its inception, the ILO has been involved in formulating international labour standards to protect children and young adults. In 1992 it launched the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) to intensively combat child labour through education, monitoring, labour inspection, and time-bound measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. In 1999 the ILO adopted the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182), now ratified by more than 90 percent of the ILO¿s 182 member States, the fastest ratification in the history of the ILO.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
86th Session of the International Labour Conference. In June 1998 the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work established a social floor for the global economy. The Declaration calls on member States to promote fundamental ILO Conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining, the elimination of forced labour, the abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination regarding employment and occupation.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Unidentified
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Presentation of the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, London, 24 February 2004. From left to right: Benjamin William Mkapa (President of the United Republic of Tanzania), Tarja Halonen (President of Finland) and Juan Somavia (ILO Director-General). In 2004, the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization convened by the ILO released its report "A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All". The report identified 57 measures to promote a fair globalization, and argued that decent work should be a global goal, integrated into both national and international action. The Decent Work Agenda was launched by Juan Somavia, the first ILO Director-General from the Southern hemisphere. It sums up the ILO's goals and guides its action, based on four pillars: employment promotion, social protection, dialogue and rights at work.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
Standing ovation at the closing sitting of the 94th Session (Maritime) of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, 23 February 2006. Since 1976 a Maritime Session has been convened approximately once every ten years. The 94th (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference in 2006 took as its aim the unprecedented task of adopting a comprehensive International Labour Convention to consolidate almost all ILO maritime labour Conventions and Recommendations currently in force - over 60 texts - and set out the conditions for decent work in the increasingly globalized maritime sector. The Convention will come into force 12 months after the date on which there have been registered ratifications by at least 30 Members with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of 33 per cent. Three years on, in line with the ILO's five-year Action Plan, this key global agreement has now been ratified by five major flag States and key ILO Members, representing nearly 45 per cent of the world's gross tonnage.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Dubois A.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
ILO staff commemorate World AIDS Day in 2006. With the appearance of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, workplaces worldwide were faced with a new challenge. Affecting labour and productivity, and threatening the livelihoods of many workers and those who depend on them - families, communities and enterprises - HIV/AIDS is a prominent workplace issue. The ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work has developed a Code of Practice with strong key principles, chief among them prevention, education, non-discrimination of workers on the basis of their real or perceived HIV status. After the acceptance of the Code of Practice in 2001, the ILO joined the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
International Women¿s Day 2008. Rupa Manel Silva, Founder of the Women's Bank of Sri Lanka. Gender equality is a central element of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda. The ILO Gender Bureau, currently engaged in a campaign to raise the visibility of gender issues, strives to ensure that women are empowered economically and receive equal treatment in labour markets and equal access to decent work. The annual International Women's Day provides a forum for discussion and improvements, and hosts important and inspirational women speakers. The year 2009 will see the 10th anniversary of the ILO's gender equality action plan and a general discussion at the International Labour Conference on "Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work".
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
97th International Labour Conference, Geneva, 2008. On 10 June 2008 representatives of governments, employers' and workers' organizations from 182 member States adopted by acclamation the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. By adopting this landmark declaration, the ILO emphasizes its role in helping to achieve progress and social justice in the context of globalization. Together, the tripartite constituents commit to enhance the ILO's capacity to advance these goals, through the Decent Work Agenda. The Declaration institutionalizes the Decent Work concept developed by the ILO since 1999, placing it at the core of the Organization's policies to reach its constitutional objectives.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/pool photo ILC
90 years working for social justice : A photographic history of the ILO
In 2009 the ILO celebrates its 90th Anniversary, against a backdrop of a historical financial, economic and jobs crisis around the world in which the fundamental value of social justice based on Decent Work is central to a sustainable recovery. Since its inception, the ILO has contributed to the protection of the vulnerable, the fight against unemployment, the promotion of human rights, the development of democratic institutions and the improvement of the working lives of women and men everywhere. In its history the ILO has sometimes thrived, sometimes suffered setbacks, but always survived to pursue its goals through the political and economic upheavals of the last 90 years."Working for Social Justice is more than just the theme of our 90th anniversary. It is our assessment of the past, our current mandate and our responsibility for the future", Juan Somavia, ninth Director-General of the ILO.
> http://www.ilo.org/90. Photo:ILO/Maillard J.

  
  
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Last update: Sunday - 25 August 2019