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ILO-en-strap

GB.273/10
273rd Session
Geneva, November 1998


TENTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA

Report of the Committee on Sectoral and
Technical Meetings and Related Issues

Contents


1. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues met on 12 November 1998. On a proposal by the representative of the Government of Croatia, coordinator for the Central and Eastern European subregion, seconded by the representative of the Government of Germany on behalf of the Western European subregion, Mr. Íry (Government, Hungary) was unanimously elected Chairperson. Mr. Jeetun was elected Employer Vice-Chairperson, and Mr. Zellhoefer was the Worker Vice-Chairperson.

I. Programme of sectoral meetings, 2000-01

2. The Committee had before it a paper(1)  containing 27 proposals for meetings in 13 sectors, from which the Committee was invited to choose 12 sectors and topics for the programme of sectoral meetings, 2000-01.

3. A representative of the Director General, (Mr. Tapiola, Deputy Director-General) recalled that the Committee's task at the present session was to select twelve sectors and topics, and that proposals for the composition, type of delegations and output of each meeting would be submitted in March 1999.

4. Mr. Jeetun (Employer Vice-Chairperson) stated that the selection of topics for future meetings was not an easy task since the Committee had to look at prospective needs and anticipate changes in a dynamic global environment characterized by a constant need for industries and individuals to adapt. This adaptation required a certain degree of flexibility, and meetings should be topical not only for the present but for the years to come. The Employers regretted the limited number of topics submitted, since the Committee had to select 12 of the 13 sectors proposed by the Office. Had they been consulted in the preparation of the document, the difficulties and the reservations they held about some of the topics would have been minimized. More choice should be provided in future. In making their selection, the Employers sought to link a number of useful common themes such as technology, training, productivity and the needs of individuals. Their preferences were as follows:

5. Mr. Zellhoefer (Worker Vice-Chairperson) stated his group's preferences as follows:

6. The two proposals submitted for the media, culture and graphical sector were equally acceptable in their view.

7. The representative of the Government of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the African Government members, submitted their selection as follows:

8. The representative of the Government of Germany said that the selection of topics for sectoral meetings had become a ritual whereby the Employer members approved certain themes such as employment potential, deregulation, or moderate wage policies, and the Worker members supported issues such as improved working conditions or protection against dismissals. After informal consultations between the social partners, an agreement would be reached on combined themes and governments would find themselves in a position where they could not designate suitable experts to participate in meetings with too broad a scope. Consequently, his Government rejected the proposals which combined labour market policy and working conditions and endorsed the following topics listed in the first section of the document:

With regard to the proposal in section 2, he would have liked to select a meeting for the toy industry, but faced with the need to choose only two topics, his Government had retained the 29th Session of the Joint Maritime Commission and the impact of the decentralization and privatization of municipal services.

9. The representative of the Government of Croatia endorsed the views expressed by the previous speaker, considering that it was difficult to choose from among topics whose scope was not clear and where there was insufficient choice. Her Government preferred the following topics:

10. The representative of the Government of Hungary stated that his Government favoured the following topics:

11. The representative of the Government of Austria gave support to the following topics:

12. A representative of the Government of the United Kingdom welcomed the wide range of practically oriented topics proposed to the Committee. His Government favoured the following:

13. The representative of the Government of Italy expressed his preference for topics that would have an impact on workers in different regions of the world, particularly in developing countries, namely:

14. The representative of the Government of the United States reminded the Committee that in the context of the discussions about the ILO's strategic goals and priorities, the selection of topics should be based at least in part on how meetings could help in achieving these goals and priorities. Measuring the impact of meetings was also important; simply producing a report and ensuring its wide distribution was not sufficient: the discussions should focus on action, how it could be undertaken and measured, and how it contributed to fulfilling the ILO's goals. He therefore expressed a preference for:

15. The representative of the Government of Finland agreed that, in view of the emerging consensus on the ILO's strategic goals, more attention should have been paid to them in the selection of topics, all the more so since the reports submitted to sectoral meetings provided a valuable opportunity to disseminate widely information on these goals. He endorsed the following proposals:

16. The representative of the Government of Mexico agreed with the comments by the previous speaker and felt that the letters of invitation addressed to governments should contain more information so as to enable them to appoint delegates with the adequate expertise. His Government gave priority to:

17. The representative of the Government of Canada agreed with the two previous speakers on the need for the topics to reflect the ILO's priorities and to lead to useful conclusions. Her Government endorsed the following topics:

18. The representative of the Government of Spain supported the following topics:

19. The representative of the Government of Japan highlighted the importance of holding meetings for sectors with particular needs as regards employment and labour issues and working conditions. Sectors which were undergoing technological innovation or suffering from a financial crisis should be considered as a priority, for example, the construction industry, the financial sector and the automobile industry. Her Government expressed particular interest in:

20. The representative of the Government of Panama supported the following choice of topics:

21. The representative of the Government of Sweden indicated his Government's priorities as follows:

22. The representative of the Government of China welcomed the comprehensive proposals submitted to the Committee and favoured the following topics:

23. Following informal consultations between the Employer and Worker members, Mr. Jeetun announced that the two groups had reached agreement on the following programme of meetings, based on the views expressed by members of the three groups:

With regard to the topic proposed for the forestry, wood, pulp and paper sector, the Employer and Worker members agreed that the first three sentences and the sixth sentence of the paragraph relating to issues under proposal F.2 should be moved to the proposal which they had retained (F.1). The reference to environmental NGOs should however be deleted, as should all references to labelling and certification.

24. The Worker members considered that in view of the change in the topic agreed for the hotels, tourism and catering sector, the paragraph relating to issues under proposal G.2 should be merged with the issues under paragraph G.1.

25. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends to the Governing Body that the 12 sectoral meetings listed in paragraph 23 above be included in the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01 for major programme 100 (Sectoral activities).

* * *

II. Second Session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on
Fishermen's Training and Certification
(London, 12-16 January 1998)

26. The Committee had before it a paper(2)  providing information on the work of the above meeting.

27. The Workers recognized the important progress accomplished by the Working Group and endorsed the point for decision.

28. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. take note of the progress of the First Session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on Fishermen's Training and Certification (London, 12-16 January 1998);
  2. authorize the holding of a Second Session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on Fishermen's Training and Certification, with a composition of four ILO participants (two Employer and two Worker representatives), two FAO participants and two IMO representatives, with the four ILO participants to be selected in consultation with the Employers' and Workers' groups of the Governing Body;
  3. request the Director-General to communicate its decision to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.

* * *

III. Report of the Joint IMO/ILO Working Group on the
Seafarers' Hours of Work and the Manning of
Ships Convention, 1996 (No. 180)
(London, 19-23 January 1998)

29. The Committee had before it the Report(3)  of the Joint IMO/ILO Working Group on the Seafarers' Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Convention, 1996 (No. 180).

30. Mr. Jeetun welcomed the development of standardized guidelines and formats prepared by the Working Group.

31. Mr. Zellhoefer expressed his satisfaction with the model formats elaborated by this important meeting, which should help in the implementation of international instruments. The Worker members urged the IMO and the ILO to adopt these guidelines and formats.

32. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. take note of the report of the Joint IMO/ILO Working Group on the Seafarers' Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Convention, 1996 (No. 180), including its attached guidelines and model formats;
  2. authorize the Director-General to consult with the Secretary-General of the IMO regarding the joint publication of the guidelines for the development of tables of seafarers' shipboard working arrangements and the formats of records of seafarers' hours of work or hours of rest, the model format for a table of shipboard working arrangements and the model format for records of hours of work or hours of rest of seafarers;
  3. request the Director-General to communicate its decision to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.

* * *

IV. Effect to be given to the recommendations
of sectoral meetings

1. Tripartite Meeting on Employment and Industrial Relations Issues in Oil Refining
(Geneva, 23-27 February 1998)

33. The Committee had before it the Note on the Proceedings(4)  of the Tripartite Meeting on Employment and Industrial Relations Issues in Oil Refining.

34. A representative of the Government of Indonesia, who had acted as Chairperson of the Meeting, informed the Committee of its successful outcome in spite of the difficulties which had arisen owing to the detention of two Worker members from Nigeria.

35. Mr. Zellhoefer praised the excellent report submitted to the Meeting, which covered issues such as job security, contract labour, safety and health, wages and working conditions as well as the widespread non-observance of the principle of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. The Workers had raised the issue of violations of freedom of association throughout the Meeting and were pleased to note the recent developments in that country, which had led to the release of the two trade unionists jailed at the time of the Meeting. As regards the conclusions, they underlined in particular the need to manage change in a positive and socially responsible manner (paragraph 1) and only after consultation and negotiation with workers' organizations (paragraph 4). The Workers were greatly concerned with the vast implications of safety and environmental matters associated with the extraction and transport of crude oil and oil products (paragraph 10). They suggested that the ILO undertake studies in this area and explore with foreign investors all opportunities to promote social development alongside technological development in the countries concerned.

36. Mr. Jeetun highlighted the issues of productivity, competitiveness and the effective voluntary steps taken by the industry, which the Employers felt constituted a positive contribution. They also welcomed the reference in the conclusions to the case concerning Nigeria which was before the Committee on Freedom of Association (paragraph 12).

37. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. authorize the Director-General to communicate the Note on the Proceedings:
    1. to governments, requesting them to communicate the texts to the employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    2. to the international employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    3. to the international organizations concerned;
  2. request the Director-General to bear in mind, when drawing up proposals for the future programme of work of the Office, the wishes expressed by the Meeting in paragraphs 11 and 12 of the conclusions and in the relevant parts of the resolutions.

2. Tripartite Meeting on the Human Resources Dimension of Structural and Regulatory Changes and Globalization in Postal and Telecommunications Services
(Geneva, 20-24 April 1998)

38. The Committee had before it the Note on the Proceedings(5)  of the Tripartite Meeting on the Human Resources Dimension of Structural and Regulatory Changes and Globalization in Postal and Telecommunications Services.

39. Mr. Zellhoefer welcomed the opportunity for representatives of constituents in the postal and telecommunications services sector to discuss changes in information technology and the blurring of the frontiers between information processing, telecommunications and postal services, publishing and broadcasting. The Worker members deplored that references to the Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177) had been excluded, as it included new labour standards on telework and these issues were at the heart of the problem of this rapidly evolving sector. He recalled that once a Convention was adopted by the Conference, the ILO had the responsibility of promoting its ratification and that meetings of this type were an appropriate forum for discussions on the implementation of the relevant international labour instruments. The Worker members welcomed references in the conclusions to: the balance between mobility in professional life and social stability and protection (paragraph 6); the responsibility of employers and governments in ensuring the ongoing development and reskilling of employees (paragraph 15); the involvement of workers and their organizations in the restructuring process and, in particular, to the fact that the process of restructuring "must not undermine existing collective bargaining arrangements" (paragraph 18).

40. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. authorize the Director-General to communicate the Note on the Proceedings to:
    1. governments, requesting them to communicate these texts to the employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    2. the international employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    3. the international organizations concerned;
  2. request the Director-General to bear in mind, when drawing up proposals for the future programme of work of the Office, the wishes expressed by the Meeting in paragraphs 22 and 23 of the conclusions and in the relevant parts of the resolutions.

3. Tripartite Meeting on Technology and Employment in the Food and Drink Industries
(Geneva, 18-22 May 1998)

41. The Committee had before it the Note on the Proceedings(6)  of the Tripartite Meeting on Technology and Employment in the Food and Drink Industries.

42. Mr. Zellhoefer expressed his group's appreciation to their colleague, Mr. Khurshid Ahmed, for his effective chairmanship of the Meeting and noted a number of important issues raised in the conclusions: the need to provide continuous training for workers once new and advanced skills were required (paragraph 9); the necessity of taking adequate measures to lower accident rates and diseases in this sector, which remained too high in spite of the introduction of new technologies (paragraph 14); recognition that the collective bargaining process could help in the development of measures to protect workers from the new health and safety hazards arising from new forms of work organization and technology (paragraph 15). The Worker members welcomed in particular the two resolutions on freedom of association and child labour, not only in view of their importance as related to the sector, but also in the light of the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour.

43. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. authorize the Director-General to communicate the Note on the Proceedings to:
    1. (i) governments, requesting them to communicate these texts to the employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    2. (ii) the international employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    3. (iii) the international organizations concerned;
  2. request the Director-General to bear in mind, when drawing up proposals for the future programme of work of the Office, the wishes expressed by the Meeting in paragraphs 17 to 19 of the conclusions and in the relevant parts of the resolutions.

* * *

V. Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal
injury and abandonment of seafarers

44. The Committee had before it a paper(7)  on the Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal injury and abandonment of seafarers.

45. Mr. Zellhoefer supported the proposal to establish a Working Group to deal with a complex subject. The Worker members urged that all efforts be made to select London as the venue for the Working Group and to ensure that it met either immediately before or after a session of the IMO's Legal Committee.

46. Mr. Jeetun highlighted the importance of the topic and agreed that the Meeting should last five working days if needed, and that London should be the venue.

47. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. authorize the holding of a Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal injury and abandonment of seafarers, in London if agreed by the IMO, with a maximum duration of five working days and a composition of eight ILO participants (four Shipowner and four Seafarer representatives) and eight IMO representatives;
  2. request the Director-General to communicate the decision to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.

* * *

VI. Invitation of intergovernmental and non-governmental
international organizations

(a) Tripartite Meeting on Voluntary Initiatives Affecting Training and Education on Safety, Health and Environment in the Chemical Industries
(Geneva, 22-26 February 1999)

48. The Committee was informed(8)  that it was proposed to invite the following non-governmental international organizations, beside those that have general consultative status with the ILO, to be represented by observers at the above Meeting:

49. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body authorize the Director-General to invite the non-governmental international organizations listed above to be represented by observers at the Tripartite Meeting on Voluntary Initiatives Affecting Training and Education on Safety, Health and Environment in the Chemical Industries.

(b) Tripartite Meeting on Managing the Privatization and Restructuring of Public Utilities
(Geneva, 12-16 April 1999)

50. The Committee was informed(9)  that it was proposed to invite the following non-governmental international organizations, beside those that have general consultative status with the ILO, to be represented by observers at the above Meeting:

51. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body authorize the Director-General to invite the non-governmental international organizations listed above to be represented by observers at the Tripartite Meeting on Managing the Privatization and Restructuring of Public Utilities.

(c) Tripartite Meeting on Social and Labour Issues in Small-scale Mines
(Geneva, 17-21 May 1999)

52. The Committee was informed(10)  that it was proposed to invite the following intergovernmental and non-governmental international organizations, beside those that have general consultative status with the ILO, to be represented by observers at the above Meeting:

Intergovernmental organizations

Non-governmental international organizations

53. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body authorize the Director-General to invite the intergovernmental and the non-governmental international organizations listed above to be represented by observers at the Tripartite Meeting on Social and Labour Issues in Small-scale Mines.

* * *

VII. Report of the Sixteenth International Conference of
Labour Statisticians
(Geneva, 6-15 October 1998)

54. The Committee had before it the Report(11)  of the Sixteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

55. Mr. Zellhoefer congratulated the Office on the long and extensive preparations for the Conference, which had dealt with particularly complex issues and had set guidelines for present and future labour statistics. The new or revised measures, such as the measurement of unemployment and income from employment, statistics of occupational injuries and several issues included in the general report had led to the adoption of comprehensive resolutions. The Worker members were particularly pleased that after lengthy discussions at previous and at the recent session, the Conference had arrived at guidelines for the measurement of employment-related income and had recognized the concept of "dependent contract labour", workers who were obligated officially to become self-employed but worked in fact for a single contractor. They also welcomed the elaboration of guidelines on occupational injuries, which were the outcome of four years of efforts to arrive at operational rules for the code of practice on the reporting of occupational injuries.

56. Mr. Jeetun affirmed that the report would have worldwide implications for the collection of appropriate statistics, which would be useful to workers, to the Office and to all other interested parties.

57. The representative of the Arab Labour Organization was pleased to note that the draft resolutions submitted to the Conference had been prepared in Arabic. Of the 90 delegations attending the Conference, 12 had represented Arab countries and representatives of the Palestinian Authority were also present. The Arab Labour Organization appreciated the effort made to translate the texts, and firmly endorsed paragraph 19 of the report where attention was drawn to the desirability of translating the texts of the resolutions and the guidelines into Arabic and various other languages. His Organization was willing to assist in this matter so that Arab statisticians could fully benefit from the Conference's work.

58. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body take note of the report of the Conference and request the Director-General to distribute it --

  1. to the governments of member States and, through them, to the national employers' and workers' organizations concerned, drawing particular attention to the three resolutions appended to the report and to the two sets of guidelines; and
  2. to the United Nations and the other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations represented at the Conference.

* * *

VIII. Other questions

(a) Report of the Tripartite Meeting of Export Processing Zone-Operating Countries
(Geneva, 28 September-2 October 1998)

59. The Committee had before it the Note on the Proceedings(12)  of the Tripartite Meeting of Export Processing Zone-Operating Countries.

60. Mr. Zellhoefer expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the Meeting, which should certainly generate effective follow-up. It was the first time since its adoption in June 1998 that a tripartite meeting had urged countries to respect and promote the application of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up, in a sector where these basic standards were often violated. The Worker members were satisfied with the results, which called in clear terms for an end to restrictions on trade union rights and full respect of ILO standards in the zones; they also welcomed the separate section on women workers, who constituted a high proportion of their workforce and, in particular, the emphasis put on women's access to training opportunities and better jobs. Paragraph 29 should also have referred to the need for governments to be involved, alongside EPZ enterprises, in special efforts in favour of women.

61. A representative of the Government of Germany asked whether the World Trade Organization had been invited to the Meeting. A representative of the Director-General replied that it had been invited but had not attended.

62. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body --

  1. (a) authorize the Director-General to communicate the Note on the Proceedings to:
    1. (i) governments, asking them to communicate these texts to the employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    2. (ii) the international employers' and workers' organizations concerned;
    3. (iii) the international organizations concerned;
  2. request the Director-General to bear in mind, when drawing up proposals for the future programme of work of the Office, the wishes expressed by the Meeting in paragraphs 30 to 32 of the conclusions.

(b) Invitation of a non-governmental international organization

Joint Meeting on Human Resource Development in the Public Service
in the Context of Structural Adjustment and Transition
(Geneva, 14-18 December 1998)

63. The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Office had received a request from the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations to be represented by an observer at the Meeting.

64. The Committee on Sectoral and Technical Meetings and Related Issues recommends that the Governing Body authorize the Director-General to invite the non-governmental international organization mentioned in paragraph 62 above to be represented by an observer at the Joint Meeting on Human Resource Development in the Public Service in the Context of Structural Adjustment and Transition.

(c) Resources of the sectoral activities programme

65. Mr. Zellhoefer raised an issue that had been discussed in March 1998, but had not been resolved since: the resources, objectives and planning of work of the sectoral activities programme. Resources were scarce, especially for the preparation of input for meetings and their follow-up. The Worker members proposed that the Committee reflect, at one of its future meetings -- which need not be the very next one -- on the needs and missions of the essential work done by the programme, which was the one closest to ILO constituents. The staffing situation of the Sectoral Activities Department was difficult: although the Worker members recognized the need for rotation between the field and headquarters, vacancies which were filled temporarily posed problems. Mr. Zellhoefer cited the case of one post filled in April 1998 after having been vacant since 1991, and the unfilled post of construction specialist, vacant since 1993. In the light of the most recent discussion in the Committee on Employment and Social Policy (ESP) concerning the current global financial crisis, dramatic increases in unemployment and the work of the ILO in cooperation with the World Bank in such areas as public works and infrastructure projects on employment, he felt that the specifications for this post could perhaps include some experience of infrastructure development, public works projects and procurement matters.

Geneva, 16 November 1998.

 

Points for decision:

 

Paragraph 25;

Paragraph 43;

Paragraph 58;

 

Paragraph 28;

Paragraph 47;

Paragraph 62;

 

Paragraph 32;

Paragraph 49;

Paragraph 64.

 

Paragraph 37;

Paragraph 51;

 

 

Paragraph 40;

Paragraph 53;

 


1. GB.273/STM/1.

2. 2  GB.273/STM/2.

3. 3  GB.273/STM/3.

4. 4  TMOR/1998/13, appended to GB.273/STM/4/1.

5. 5  TMPTS/1998/12, appended to GB.273/STM/4/2.

6. 6  TMFDI/1998/13, appended to GB.273/STM/4/3.

7. 7  GB.273/STM/5.

8. 8  GB.273/STM/6.

9. 9  GB.273/STM/6.

10. 10  GB.273/STM/6.

11. 11  ICLS/16/1998/V, appended to GB.273/STM/7.

12. 12  TMEPZ/1998/5, appended to GB.273/STM/8/1.


Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.