MARCH 2016


Robert W. CoxRobert W. Cox, was born in Canada in 1926. He worked for the ILO from 1947 to 1972.  In 1954, he became "chef de cabinet" when David Morse was the Director - General and later became Director of the IILS. He was the first Secretary of ILERA from 1967 to 1970.

Ben C. RobetsBen C. Roberts was one of the founding members of BUIRA, UK. He met Cox during one of his numerous visits to the IILS. He was the first elected IIRA President from  1976 to 1970 and stayed for a second term from 1970 until 1973.

At the first World Congress, IIRA already counted 10 Full members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Israel, Italy, UK and USA, 11 Institutional members and 160 Individual Members.

A special mention should be made of the following people who joined ILERA before the first world congress in 1967 and are still active members today!

·         Dr Alan Gladstone, Switzerland

·         Dr Stephen Say Tee, Singapore

·         Prof Arnold M. Zack, USA

·         Prof Mahmood A. Zaidi, USA

1966 – 2016

- 50th anniversary of ILERA -



The IIRA was officially established on 30 June 1966, at a meeting in London. The founding members were the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), UK, the Industrial Relations Research Association (now called Labour Employment Relations Association, LERA), USA, the Japan Institute of Labour (JIL) and the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS) of the ILO. The people principally involved in the formation of the IIRA were Robert W. Cox, the Director of the IILS and Ben C. Roberts, professor of industrial relations at the London School of Economics, at that time. Cox and Roberts discussed the idea of establishing an international industrial relations association between them in the early sixties and later with Gerald Somers, professor of economics and industrial relations at the University of Wisconsin, and Arthur Ross, professor of economics and industrial relations at the University of California and President of IRRA.

In order to avoid becoming a purely Anglo-American association, Somers and Ross suggested to include a non-Anglo-Saxon association as a fourth founding member. Four options were considered: France, Germany, India and Japan and for several reasons Japan was considered the best prospect, since the Japanese Government had established in the late 1950s an autonomous government-funded labour research institute, the Japan Institute of Labour. JIL was officially invited to become the fourth founding member and Ichiro Nakayama, JIL's Director-general, accepted.

A meeting was organized on 29 and 30 June 1966 in London to be attended by Roberts for the IILS, Cox for BUIRA, Nakayama for JIL and Somers for IRRA. Subsequently, Nakayama developed health problems and his place was taken by Shingo Kaite, managing Director of JIL. These four agreed upon the name for the new organization: the International Industrial Relations Association and also approved the draft constitution; appointed Roberts as Chairman of the Provisional Executive Committee and Cox as Secretary. Members of the Committee were Nakayama and Somers. The first IIRA World Congress was set for 4 - 8 September 1967 in Geneva.

In the next issue of the newsletter we will come back to the organization, the papers presented and the outcome of the first world congress.

·         Sources: Bruce E. KAUFMAN, The Global evolution of industrial relations. Events, ideas and the IIRA. 2004, ILO. IILS Bulletin, 1966 and 1967.  BUIRA Website.


1937 - 2015

Youssef Kara was born in 1937. Throughout his life Youssef was dedicated to worker’s rights, aiding minorities, and promoting the work of the Histadrut in the ILO and vice versa.

In 1965 he began his career at the Histadrut, and rose through the ranks as enrolled at Haifa University, focusing on Political Science and the History of the Middle East. At the time he served as a secretary of the Israeli Organization of Druze Academics. One might assume this is where he began to follow his passion in aiding minorities within the Israeli society. In his position he assisted Druze citizens in their admission to academia. Youssef would later continue to speak on behalf of minorities throughout the world. His involvement in the Histadrut expanded as he became a member of the Executive Board from 1986-1994.

In 1993 Kara became directly involved in the ILO. He was elected as a member of the Governing Body of the ILO on behalf of workers' group. This was just one facet of his work in the international arena. Youssef was involved in the yearly ILO Conference, representing the Histadrut on multiple occasions. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Training Centre of the ILO. Kara organized joint ventures and events between the Histadrut, ILO and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, which focused on equality, workers' rights, and international labour relations. As part of his commitment to the ILO Youssef Kara initiated and implemented vocational training regarding workers' rights for migrant workers. He remained the Histadrut representative to the ILO for more than 20 years.

As a significant part of his public activities Youssef Kara took a very active part at the Israeli Industrial Relations Research Association board (IIRRA) keeping close ties with ILO departments as well as with ILERA. He served as the chairperson of steering committees of more than 10 conferences held in Israel in cooperation with the ILO and Ebert Stiftung.

Youssef was elected a chairperson of the IIRRA last June keeping insights aiming to expand activities and deepen research within the Association and motivating young researchers at this area. He served as a Public Representative in the Israeli National Labour Court. He followed his passion for worker’s rights, equality and peace until his last days.

Youssef passed away on 21 December 2015 and is survived by his wife, 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

The Special ILERA Seminar, originally scheduled for 2016, has been postponed until 6 - 7 February 2017 and will be dedicated to the memory of Yousef Kara. More information on the Seminar will follow when available.


On behalf of the ILO, please note that two (2) positions in the field of labour law and international labour law were recently advertised. One is in Geneva, and the other in Santiago de Chile. The closing date for applications is 31 March.

Further details can be found here: >>>


This is to inform you that following the departure of Ms Sandra Polaski from the ILO and until the arrival of her successor in May 2016, Moussa Oumarou will be acting Deputy Director-General of the ILO.


1-3 Nov. 2016, Beijing, China


 "The Implications of Economic Transformation and Upgrading on labour and Employment Relations and the Responses".

Currently, many countries (regions) in Asia as well as other parts of the world are undergoing transformation of economic structures, accompanied by new issues, changes and problems in the field of labour and employment relations. These countries (regions) have taken policies and measures according to their own specific situations, making theoretical and practical exploration and accumulating much successful experiences. However, they have undergone difficult developing process and are still confronted with many new issues. The Asian Regional Congress aims to share theoretical and practical achievements, and to discuss and analyze the confronting difficulties and situations, so as to promote common development. Meanwhile, it is also hoped to boost innovation in theory and practice in the field of labour relations in China through instructive discussions with academics and practitioners. This Congress provides a good opportunity to expand channels of international collaboration and strengthen the links among research institutions, organization and academics throughout the world for the construction and development of harmonious labour relations.

Papers presented at the Congress will be organized around the following six topics:

  • Changes and challenges in the labour market
  • The implications of economic transformation and upgrading on labour relations and responses
  • Thoughts and approaches of constructing harmonious labour relations
  • Policies and measures on improvement of social security and protection of workers’ rights and interests
  • Income distribution policy during the economic transformation and upgrading
  • The future of labour relations in China and Asia

Deadline for submission of papers: 15 July 2016!
Early bird registration until 31 May 2016.

Congress website >>>



·         Collective Bargaining, 11/2015

·         Representativity and recognition for collective bargaining,  11/2015

·         Subjects for Collective Bargaining, 11/2015

·         The Application of Collective Agreements, 11/2015

·         Trends in collective bargaining coverage: stability, erosion or decline?, 09/2015

·         Improving working conditions for domestic workers: organizing, coordinated action and bargaining, 11/2015

·         Collective bargaining and non-standard

·         forms of employment: Practices that reduce vulnerability and ensure work is decent, 11/2015


· Bargaining, A policy Guide. 2015








For further information, please contact:


International Labour Office

4, route des Morillons

CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland

Tel: + 41 22 799 67 54

Fax: + 41 22 799 84 51



Milano, Italy, 8 - 10 September 2016



I Actors at National and European Level

II Collective Bargaining and Participation

III The European Dimension of Regulation

IV The Transformation of the Public Sector

REGISTER NOW !V HRM, Business Performance, Quality of Work.



Congress Website >>>


Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law

Adelle Blacket and Anne Trebilcock, Edward Elgar Publishing,  2015.

The editors’ substantive introduction and the specially commissioned chapters in the Handbook explore the emergence of transnational labour law as a field, along with its contested contours. The expansion of traditional legal methods, such as treaties, is juxtaposed with the proliferation of contemporary alternatives such as indicators, framework agreements and consumer-led initiatives. Key international and regional institutions are studied for their coverage of such classic topics as freedom of association, equality, and sectoral labour standard-setting, as well as for the space they provide for dialogue. The volume underscores transnational labour law’s capacity to build bridges, including on migration, climate change and development.

20% DISCOUNT FOR ILERA MEMBERS! International and Comparative Employment Relations, sixth Edition.



Globalisation, Regulation and Change. Edited by Greg J. Bamber, Russell D. Lansbury, Nick Wailes, Chris F. Wright. 2016.


This sixth edition has an emphasis on globalisation and comparative theories, including concepts of convergence. It offers an innovative approach in the introduction, and concludes with an insightful account of the forces shaping employment relations in the world economy.





We would like to sincerely thank the following people for their kind and thoughtful donations to the Luis Aparicio Fund:


Ms Anne Trebilcock who donated the amount paid by her publisher for the Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law to the fund.


Ms Martha Monsalve and her team in Colombia who donated the benefits made on the occasion of the Regional Congress of the Americas, held in 2014.



c/o Ms Johanna de Vries
Governance and Tripartism Department
International Labour Office
1211 GENEVA 22
Tel.: (+41-22) 799-7371


Council members exist in the following countries: Argentina - Australia - Bangladesh - Belgium - Canada - Chile - China - Colombia - Cyprus - Denmark - Finland - France - Germany - India - Indonesia - Ireland - Israel - Italy - Japan - Korea - Mexico - Netherlands - New Zealand - Nigeria - Norway - Peru - Philippines - Slovakia - South Africa - Sri Lanka - Sweden - United Kingdom - United States - Uruguay - Venezuela - and one regional Association in Central Africa (ITAC) that covers 11 French and Portuguese speaking African countries.

Contact details >>

Copyright © ILERA                     Designed and edited by J. de Vries

Copies of this Newsletter as well as previous newsletters and broadcasts are available on