105th International Labour Conference

ILO Director-General: “ILO sets course to promote decent work in global supply chains, in transition from conflict and crisis and in making poverty history by 2030”

World parliament of labour sets the course for global action to shape the future of work.

Press release | 10 June 2016
GENEVA (ILO News) – The 105th International Labour Conference (ILC) closed following two weeks of deliberations on key world of work issues, including decent work in global supply chains, employment for the transition to peace, maritime labour issues and basic labour rights.

“We worked out what needs to be done to ensure that the ever increasing organization of production in global supply chains contributes to the promotion of decent work. We began the job of delineating the way that decent work can and must contribute to peace and stability in the wake of conflict, crisis or disaster,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in his closing remarks to the ILC.

He added that the Conference set a compass to guide member States to meet their obligations to apply ratified conventions, refined the world’s maritime labour code, and pointed the way for the ILO to organize its own work.

“And if all of that were not enough, we set the course for making poverty history by 2030,” he concluded, referring to his report to the ILC entitled “The End to Poverty Initiative: the ILO and the 2030 Agenda”.

The Organization received important messages from its host country Switzerland and the European Commission. Two guests of honour, Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, highlighted the centrality of social dialogue between governments, employers and workers in shaping the future of work.

The Conference also held a World of Work Summit. Young people and high-level representatives of governments, employers and unions discussed how to shape the future of work for youth. In the run-up to the World Day Against Child Labour (on June 12), another high-level panel discussed child labour in supply chains.

Finally, delegates discussed a report of the Director-General drawing the world’s attention to the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories.

A record 5,982 delegates from 187 ILO member States attended the 105th ILC. The Conference was presided over by Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour from South Africa.

Conference committees

Four conference committees dealt with topical labour issues:

Global supply chains

The Committee on Decent work in Global Supply Chains held nine days of intense tripartite discussions to explore how global supply chains can effectively contribute to decent work and sustainable development.

The Committee adopted by consensus a resolution and set of action-oriented conclusions. These give a strong mandate to the ILO to lead the global call for action to bridge governance gaps in sectoral, national, regional and international supply chains.

The ILO members called upon the Organization to implement a timely and dynamic programme of action and to convene, by decision of its Governing Body, a tripartite meeting to assess the failures that lead to decent work deficits in global supply chains, identify salient challenges of governance, and consider what programmes, measures, initiatives or standards are needed to promote decent work in global supply chains.

MLC and Convention No. 185 amendments

The Conference voted overwhelmingly to approve two amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006.

The first amendment concerned the adoption, in the framework of occupational safety and health, of guidelines for the elimination of shipboard harassment and bullying. It includes a reference to the Guidance on this subject jointly published by the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

The second amendment allowed for a five month extension of the validity of Maritime Labour Certificates in circumstances where ships have passed the relevant inspection but where a new certificate cannot be issued and made available on board.

Another vote adopted an amendment to the annexes of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, (No. 185), to align seafarers’ identity documents with the specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Concretely, identity documents will, in future, use facial images stored in a contactless chip.

Social Justice Declaration

The Committee for the Social Justice Declaration adopted a resolution which calls for concrete action to achieve the full potential of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, 2008 through its actions in the framework of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and integrating decent work into national sustainable development strategies.

The resolution also calls for the promotion of decent work through partnerships and policy coherence at country level with international and regional economic and financial institutions. It further underscores the need to strengthen the ILO’s capacity and that of its constituents to contribute to the achievement and related goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Employment and decent work for the transition to peace

Delegates to the conference held a first discussion concerning the revision of the Employment (Transition from War to Peace) Recommendation, 1944 (No. 71) to take account of the contemporary context and the need to respond to conflict and disaster situations. The revision widens the focus of the Recommendation on reconstruction and recovery to include prevention, preparedness and recovery.

The revision builds on a growing international consensus on the vital role of employment and job creation and the ILO’s decent work agenda in responding to crises and for building peace and resilience. It therefore acknowledges the need for increased capacities to deal with situations that are at the crossroads of humanitarian, peacebuilding, disaster response and development issues.

A second discussion, with a view to adopting a revised Recommendation, will take place at the International Labour Conference in June 2017.

Application of Standards: 24 cases and migrant workers

The Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the ILC adopted conclusions on 24 individual cases related to issues arising from the implementation of labour rights. This discussion was based on the annual report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations which is an independent body composed of legal experts charged with examining the application in law and practice of ILO Conventions and Recommendations by ILO member States.

The Committee also discussed a General Survey concerning migrant workers’ instruments *.

Acknowledging the human dimension of the issue, the Committee considered that it was essential that labour migration benefitted workers, employers and the wider community, and that it was necessary to balance the rights, responsibilities and needs of all stakeholders. Effective management of international labour migration required good global governance and international cooperation to which the ILO could particularly contribute.

For more information please contact the ILO Department of Communication and Public Information at newsroom@ilo.org or +4122/799-7912.

* Including the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97), the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143), the Migration for Employment Recommendation (Revised), 1949 (No. 86) and Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151).