Questions and Answers

ILO Governing Body wraps up its 331st session

The November session of the ILO Governing Body ended on 9 November. ILO News discussed the highlights with Juan Llobera, Clerk of the Governing Body.

Comment | 13 November 2017
ILO News: There was high media interest around some of the decisions made during the last session. The complaint against Qatar was one of them. Can you tell us about the outcome?

A Complaint concerning non-observance by Qatar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81), had been made by delegates to the 103rd Session (2014) of the International Labour Conference under article 26 of the ILO Constitution. It had been discussed at numerous sessions of the Governing Body.

In view of the latest significant changes made by the Government of Qatar in its labour legislation, the Governing Body decided to close the complaint, while endorsing the launch of a comprehensive 3-year ILO technical cooperation programme in Qatar.

The Governing Body welcomed the transformation of this complaint into a real commitment by the Government of Qatar to make positive change on the ground for all workers.

The strategic objectives of the ILO-Qatar cooperation over the period 2018-2020 are set out in the report submitted to the Governing Body.

The Governing Body also welcomed positive developments in respect of a previous complaint for non-observance of ILO Conventions on freedom of association in Guatemala.

The Governing Body kept under review the situation in Myanmar regarding the elimination of forced labour in the country, and urged the Government of Venezuela to foster social dialogue through the institutionalization of a tripartite round table before the end of the year.

As usual, the Governing Body approved the report of the Committee on Freedom of Association that met during this 331st session.

Can you tell us briefly about the other main decisions made during the 331st session?

Delegates had a complex discussion on ILO cooperation with the tobacco industry. The Governing Body called on the Director-General, taking into account all views expressed in the current session, to present to the 332nd session of the Governing Body in March 2018 an integrated ILO strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector.

Decisions were also made on the follow-up to an ILO resolution concerning employment and decent work for peace and resilience, the second recurrent discussion on fundamental principles and rights at work as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and decent and productive employment creation. These decisions ensure the follow-up to earlier work undertaken by delegates to the International Labour Conference.

They were also discussions around protecting workers against unacceptable forms of work, Promoting workplace compliance through labour inspection and the Enhanced programme of development cooperation for the occupied Arab territories.

Finally, there was also a change in the composition of the Officers of the Governing Body?

Following the assignment of Peru’s Ambassador Luis Enrique Chávez Basagoitia to a new duty station, the Governing Body had to elect a new Government Vice-Chairperson to replace him. The ILO’s executive body elected the new Permanent Representative of Peru in Geneva, Ambassador Claudio Julio de la Puente Ribeyro, as Government Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body for the remainder of the current term of office of its Officers until June 2018.

Luc Cortebeeck, continues to head the Governing Body for the period 2017-2018, while Mthunzi Mdwaba from South Africa, and Catelene Passchier from the Netherlands continue to act as employer and worker spokespersons.