Geneva, March 1997
|Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards||LILS|
SEVENTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Standard-setting policy: The ratification and promotion
of fundamental ILO Conventions
1. The present document supplements document GB.268/LILS/7, which is also before the Committee. The first document summarizes the replies to the Director-General's initiative received up to 14 February 1997, in particular his letter of December 1996 to all member States that had not ratified all the ILO's fundamental Conventions. Because of the considerable number of additional replies received since the completion of the first document, this addendum summarizes the 26 replies received by the Office between 15 February and 14 March 1997, as well as the ratifications that have occurred in the meantime.
2. As regards the seven fundamental Conventions (Nos. 29, 87, 98, 100, 105, 111 and 138), 24 new ratifications or confirmations of previous obligations have now been registered since the 265th Session of the Governing Body (March 1996), including eight ratifications since 14 February 1997 when the first document was completed. Convention No. 29 has been ratified by South Africa; Convention No. 105 has been ratified by Albania, Croatia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates; Convention No. 100 by the United Arab Emirates; and Convention No. 111 by Albania and South Africa. In total, on 14 March 1997, replies had been received from 75 countries of the 146 to which the Director-General's last letter was sent.
3. The first part of the present document thus summarizes the replies received up to 14 March 1997, while the second part discusses countries that have requested the ILO's assistance or which refer to it.
A. Forced and compulsory labour
Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
4. Since the publication of the first document,(1) South Africa has ratified Convention No. 29.
5. St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which have not ratified any of the ILO's fundamental Conventions, have stated that these instruments are being examined.
6. Canada states that its position has changed and notes that its ratification of this instrument would be a tangible example of its strong support for ILO objectives as regards the promotion of core labour standards. In addition, the Government states that since the definition of forced labour in Convention No. 29 applies also to Convention No. 105, which has already been ratified by Canada, ratification of Convention No. 29 would "complete the picture". Nevertheless, before undertaking the ratification procedure, the Government wishes to consult the Provinces and Territories to confirm that there are no current obstacles to the full application of this Convention. Ethiopia states that ratification of this Convention (and of Conventions Nos. 100, 105 and 138) is being examined. Mongolia states that it has taken steps for early ratification of this Convention and of Convention No. 105. Turkey reports that the ratification of the Convention will shortly be put on the agenda of the National Assembly, along with the ratification of Convention No. 138. Sao Tome and Principe indicates that the Convention's principles are taken into account when adopting legislation relevant to it (and that this is also the case for Conventions Nos. 105 and 138), and that the Government hopes to be in a position to ratify the Convention in the medium term. The Philippines indicates that, taking account of divergencies between national legislation and the Convention's provisions, the Government is not inclined to ratify it.
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
7. Since the publication of the first document, Albania, Croatia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates have ratified this Convention.
8. The positions of Ethiopia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Sao Tome and Principe on Convention No. 105 are indicated above under Convention No. 29.
9. Indonesia reports that the ratification of this Convention (and that of Conventions Nos. 87 and 111) will be examined when a new law on work and employment is adopted. Romania states that the ratification of the Convention is being examined, and Ukraine that measures have been taken to harmonize the existing legislation with the provisions of the Constitution of 28 June 1996, which prohibits all forms of forced labour.
B. Freedom of association
Freedom of Association and Protection of the
Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
10. The position of Indonesia on Convention No. 87 is stated under Convention No. 105; and the positions of St. Kitts and Nevis and of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, under Convention No. 29.
11. Lebanon and Morocco report that the ratification of the Convention will be considered once the present work of harmonizing national legislation with the provisions of this instrument has been completed.
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining
Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
12. Burundi sent to the ILO, by a fax of 28 February 1997, copies of the instruments of ratification of Convention No. 98 (as well as of Convention No. 138 and of other instruments not involved in this campaign), but the Office has not yet received the original ratification documents.
13. The positions of St. Kitts and Nevis and of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on this Convention are indicated under Convention No. 29.
14. Canada has stated that ratification is under examination and that, while it applies the principles contained in this instrument, divergencies remain between certain of the Convention's provisions and the Canadian situation.
Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
15. Since the publication of the first document, the United Arab Emirates has ratified Convention No. 100.
16. The positions of Ethiopia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Convention No. 100 are indicated under Convention No. 29.
17. Uganda states that, following the adoption of the new Constitution, the prospects for ratification of the Convention are good. This is also the case with Conventions Nos. 111 and 138.
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)
18. Since the publication of the first document, Albania and South Africa have ratified the Convention.
19. The positions of St. Kitts and Nevis and of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Convention No. 111 are indicated under Convention No. 29; the position of Indonesia under Convention No. 105; and the position of Uganda under Convention No. 111.
20. Ireland states that ratification of this instrument will be examined after the adoption by Parliament of draft legislation on equality in employment and occupation.
D. Minimum age
Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
21. The positions of Ethiopia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe and Turkey on Convention No. 138 are indicated above under Convention No. 29; and that of Uganda under Convention No. 100.
22. The ratification document submitted on Convention No. 138 by Albania was incomplete, and the Office has not yet been able to register this ratification. Burundi has sent a facsimile copy of the instrument of ratification, but the Office has not yet received the original document.
23. Barbados states that the ratification procedure for this Convention is under way. Canada has stated that ratification is under examination and that, while it applies the principles contained in this instrument, divergences remain between certain of the Convention's provisions and the Canadian situation; consultations have been undertaken with the technical services of the Office. Cyprus reports that the social partners have recommended ratification of the Convention and that the ratification procedure will therefore begin soon. Indonesia and Jamaica state that measures have been taken with a view to ratification. Lebanon and Morocco state that ratification of the Convention can be envisaged once the harmonization of national legislation with the Convention, now under way, has been completed. The Philippines states that the Government is reconsidering its position and envisages ratifying the Convention, once it has brought its legislation into conformity with it.
24. The Dominican Republic states that the employers' organizations are still firmly opposed to the ratification of this instrument. Egypt states that it has been decided to delay the ratification of this Convention until economic, social and cultural conditions allow the full application of its provisions. Mongolia reports that the conditions necessary for ratification are not yet present. The Syrian Arab Republic states that the ratification of the Convention is postponed while waiting for the relevant legislation to be brought into conformity with the requirements of the Convention.
II. References to ILO assistance
25. Canada refers to informal consultations with the International Labour Standards Department concerning Conventions Nos. 98 and 138. As regards Convention No. 138, Egypt requests the ILO to examine the possibility of organizing a three-day workshop in order to clarify certain concepts in the Convention, following the tripartite national symposium organized in 1995 with the assistance of the Standards Department. Indonesia mentions the organization in 1993 of a national meeting on child labour, in which the Office took part, in order to study Convention No. 138. It also refers to the workshop organized in October 1996 by the ILO Office in Djakarta and the Government to prepare the ratification of Convention No. 138. Mauritius refers to the seminar organized by the ILO in September 1996 with a view to identifying obstacles to the ratification of Conventions Nos. 87, 98 and 111. St. Kitts and Nevis refers to a familiarization seminar for the social partners in tripartite consultations organized by the ILO in December 1996, shortly after it became a member State of the ILO, and states that a seminar on international labour standards is being planned for September 1997.
III. Concluding remarks
26. Since the Director-General launched his initiative for the promotion and ratification of ILO standards in May 1995, 37 ratifications or confirmations of the fundamental Conventions have been registered. The Office is awaiting official ratification documents from six countries (Albania, Argentina, Burundi, United Arab Emirates, Mauritania and Nepal) on various Conventions. Since the publication of the first document, seven countries (Barbados, Canada, Cyprus, Indonesia, Philippines, Romania and Turkey) have stated that a ratification can be expected soon; and seven countries (Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Morocco, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda and Ukraine) have stated that new ratifications could take place after the adoption of a new Constitution or a new Labour Code, or the amendment of certain legislation.
27. Finally, since 14 February 1997, the Office has received replies from six countries (Albania, Indonesia, Morocco, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe and Ukraine) of the 39 countries(2) which had replied to none of the Director-General's earlier letters on the ratification of the ILO's fundamental Conventions.
Geneva, 17 March 1997.