The impact of the regular supervisory system

Since 1964, the Committee of Experts has kept track of the number of cases of progress in which it noted changes in law and practice which improved the application of a ratified convention. To date, nearly 3,000 cases of progress have been noted.

In recent years, in response to comments it has made, the Committee noted such changes as the following:

  • Samoa adopted the Labour and Employment Relations Act of 2013 (LER Act of 2013). In section 51(2) of the LER Act of 2013, children under 18 years of age are prohibited from being employed on dangerous machinery or in any occupation or in any place under working conditions injurious or likely to be injurious to the physical or moral health of such child.
  • Ukraine adopted a Law on Ensuring Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities of Women and Men which entered into force on 1 January 2006. The Law is aimed at ensuring equality of women and men in all spheres of society, including employment, through enforcement of equal rights, the elimination of gender discrimination, and positive action to address the existing inequalities between men and women. Under section 17, equal rights and opportunities shall be granted to women and men in the field of employment, job promotion, skills development and retraining.
  • Lebanon adopted Decree No. 8987 of 2012 on the prohibition of the employment of minors under the age of 18 in works that may harm their health, safety or morals. According to this decree, minors under the age of 18 shall not be employed in prohibited types of work and activities which, by their nature, harm the health, safety or morals of children, limit their education and constitute one of the worst forms of child labour included in Annex No. 1 of the Decree. Moreover, minors under the age of 16 shall not be employed in such types of hazardous work which are listed in Annex No. 2 of the Decree, and which include work in agricultural activities; work in factories that manufacture tiles, rocks, and the like, work in building, demolition, excavation, construc- tion, and heights climbing, and working in commercial and industrial enterprises.
  • The United Republic of Tanzania has repealed the Industrial Court of Tanzania Act (No. 41 of 1967), which contained provisions prohibiting strikes contrary to the procedure under the Act, enforceable with penal- ties of imprisonment (involving an obligation to perform labour).

The impact of the regular supervisory system is not just limited to cases of progress. The Committee of Experts each year examines whether member States have fulfilled their obligation to submit adopted instruments to their legislative bodies for consideration. Even if a country decides not to ratify a Convention, it may choose to bring its legislation into conformity with it. Member States regularly review the Committee’s comments on the application of a Convention in other countries and may amend their own legislation and practice so as to avoid similar problems in the application of a standard, or in order to emulate good practices. Where a Convention has been ratified, the Committee often makes direct requests to govern- ments, pointing to apparent problems in the application of a standard and giving the countries concerned time to respond and tackle these issues before any comments are published in its report. The Committee’s inter- ventions facilitate social dialogue, requiring governments to review the application of a standard and to share this information with the social partners, who may also provide information. The ensuing social dialogue can lead to further problem-solving and prevention.

The reports of both the Committee of Experts and the Conference Committee are available on the Internet to millions of users. Governments and the social partners thus have an even greater incentive to solve prob- lems in the application of standards in order to avoid critical comments by these bodies. Upon request by member States, the International Labour Office provides substantial technical assistance in drafting and revising national legislation to ensure that it is in conformity with international labour standards. In these ways, the supervisory bodies play an important role in preventing problems in the application of standards from arising in the first place.