Supervision

The system of interrelated processes and bodies responsible for monitoring the effective implementation of international labour Conventions by States parties. It comprises two sets of procedures: examination of periodical reports examined by independent experts and a tripartite Conference committee (regular supervision) and adversarial proceedings initiated by ad hoc complaints (special procedures). 

Regular supervision is carried out by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards. The Committee of Experts was set up in 1926 by a Conference resolution and comprises 20 independent experts appointed by the Governing Body and serving in their personal capacity. It meets once a year and adopts its report which contains individual observations and direct requests addressed to member States. The Conference Committee is a standing tripartite committee, which reviews and debates at each annual session of the Conference a limited number of cases of non-compliance among those contained in the report of the Committee of Experts. Based on the oral, and sometimes written explanations of the government concerned, the Committee adopts conclusions which seek to ensure the government’s follow-up action to rectify discrepancies by offering assistance while at the same time maintaining the situation under the scrutiny of the supervisory bodies.

As regards special procedures, these may take the form of either complaints – filed by any member State, the Governing Body of its own motion or by a delegate to the Conference – or representations which may be made by an employers’ or workers’ organization on the ground that a member State contravenes the requirements of a Convention to which it is party. Under the complaint procedure, the Governing Body may appoint a Commission of Inquiry to establish the facts and draw up recommendations. The government concerned must indicate within three months whether it accepts the Commission’s recommendations or whether it proposes to refer the complaint to the ICJ whose decision shall be final. As for representations, if found receivable, they are examined in the first place by an ad hoc tripartite committee of three members which submits its conclusions and recommendations to the Governing Body for adoption.

Moreover, a special machinery exists in the field of freedom of association, which was set up in 1950, and empowers governments or employers’ and workers’ organizations to file complaints with the tripartite Committee on Freedom of Association – composed of nine members of the Governing Body and an independent chairperson.