Mission and vision
- 21 million people are victims of forced labour, 5.5 million of whom are children.
- 168 million children are in child labour: 85 million of them are in hazardous work and other worst forms of child labour and 83 million are simply too young to be working.
- On average, women are paid 23 per cent less than their male counterparts. Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work because of the colour of their skin, their ethnicity or social origin, their religion or political beliefs, their age, gender, sexual identity or orientation, disability or because of their HIV status.
- More than 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries that have ratified neither of the freedom of association and collective bargaining Conventions.
Such a situation cannot and must not continue. These issues are at the core of the ILO mission: in 1998, the ILO's member States expressed their shared commitment to uphold basic human rights at work by adopting the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch (FUNDAMENTALS) was established in 2013, bringing together the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and the Department for the Promotion of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (DECLARATION).
FUNDAMENTALS mission is to serve as a centre of excellence on policies and action to support the realization of fundamental principles and rights at work. FUNDAMENTALS supports member States to fulfil their obligations to respect, to promote and to realize, in good faith, the fundamental principles and rights at work by facilitating the strengthening of relevant legislation and institutions including employers’ and workers’ organizations and the commitment of national duty bearers, rights-holders and enterprises.
Fundamental principles and rights at work provide the foundation on which equitable and just societies are built. They are the starting point for a virtuous circle of effective social dialogue, better conditions for workers, rising enterprise productivity, increased consumer demand, more and better jobs and social protection, and for formalizing the informal economy.
Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining represent the primary vehicle by which this can be achieved, enabling employers and workers to negotiate key aspects of their relationship. Ending discrimination will unlock the potential of the millions of women, men and youth currently excluded or undervalued.
Eradicating child labour and ensuring that all children are in quality education, and that young people receive the training they need to fulfil their productive and creative potential, will contribute to ending poverty, to stronger economies and to a better future for all. Ending forced labour, in all its forms, means that workers will neither be robbed of their dignity nor their right to freely-chosen employment.
Four fundamental principles and rights at work
Discrimination at work
Freedom of association and the right of collective bargaining