About the department

Mission statement

It is responsible for:
  • i) the promotion of sound industrial and employment relations;
    ii) the development of well-balanced labour laws; and
    iii) the support of tripartite dialogue.
  • GOVERNANCE works closely with other ILO Departments to promote social dialogue and tripartism across socio-economic policy agendas. This collaboration helps mainstream social dialogue and tripartism into the ILO's work as a whole.
  • It maintains close links with ILO Field Offices in order to ensure that sound tools of industrial relations, social dialogue and adequate legal frameworks are incorporated into the Decent Work Country Programmes and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
  • It works with the International Training Centre in Turin in the preparation and the delivery of training materials and programmes in the field of industrial relations, social dialogue and labour law. It also develops partnerships with research and academic institutions around the world.
GOVERNANCE priority activities
The activities of GOVERNANCE in the broader area of industrial and employment relations and labour law are driven by the following objectives:
  • Helping to develop sound industrial relations at the enterprise, sectoral, national, regional and international levels;
  • Establishing and/or strengthening legal and institutional frameworks, machineries and processes of bipartite and tripartite social dialogue and collective bargaining;
  • Encouraging more countries to base their labour legislation on ILO standards and best comparative labour law practices, and to design such laws through tripartite consultation;
  • Supporting member States in establishing and strengthening labour courts, industrial tribunals and dispute resolution mechanisms, to enable them to deal efficiently and equitably with individual and collective disputes;
  • Integrating gender equality in all aspects of industrial and employment relations and labour law;
  • Increasing the participation of employers' and workers' organizations in economic and social policy-making at all levels;
  • Enhancing links with the social partners at various levels, along with key international institutions and other global socio-economic actors (e.g., multinational enterprises and global union federations).

How does GOVERNANCE deliver these services?

GOVERNANCE services are delivered to tripartite constituents through a combination of three activities, ranging from advocacy and the provision of technical advice to member States and social partners, the generation of original research, to knowledge-sharing activities. Gender considerations cross-cut through all these activities:

Technical cooperation

  • Helping to design and implement national labour laws and regulations;
  • Supporting the development of effective industrial relations institutions and mechanisms for collective bargaining and dispute resolution;
  • Promoting social dialogue and tripartism as tools for delivering decent work and fostering good governance;
  • Capacity-building of tripartite constituents in the field of labour legislation and employment relations;
  • Providing institutional support to tripartite and bipartite bodies;
  • Promoting the ratification and implementation of social dialogue-related international labour standards;
  • Training on mediation and conciliation procedures, and negotiations skills.

Building expertise through research activities

  • Comparative research on labour law trends and industrial relations processes and outcomes;
  • Development of statistical indicators, legal databases and country profiles;
  • Networking with external academic and research institutions, particularly through its close relationship with the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA).

Knowledge-sharing activities

  • Managing online fora for information sharing;
  • Providing the Secretariat of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA).
  • Maintaining a database on termination of employment legislation;
  • Devising National Labour Law Profiles and guidelines on labour legislation and on the employment relationship.

Department structure

The Department includes ILO programmes to realize fundamental labour rights. It incorporates the following Branches and Units:
  • Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch (LABADMIN/OSH);
  • BetterWork Programme
  • Fundamental Rights and Principals at Work Branch(FPRW);
  • Social Dialogue and Tripartism Unit; and
  • Labour Law and Reform Unit.