Commission of Inquiry

ILO Governing Body decides to appoint Commission of Inquiry for Venezuela

A Commission of Inquiry – the ILO’s highest-level investigative procedure – will examine allegations relating to the violation of international labour standards by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Press release | 21 March 2018
GENEVA (ILO News) – The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has decided to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to examine allegations that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela failed to comply with Conventions on freedom of association, tripartite consultation and setting of minimum wages.

The complaint, lodged in June 2015 by 33 employers’ delegates at the International Labour Conference, refers to the non-observance of ILO Conventions No. 26 (Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention, 1928), No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948) and No. 144 (Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards), 1976). It alleges attacks, harassment, aggression and a campaign to discredit the employers’ organization – FEDECAMARAS – its leaders and affiliates.

It further alleges lack of consultation with FEDECAMARAS on laws that affect the labour and economic interests of the employers, and the adoption of numerous increases to the minimum wage without consultation with employer and worker representatives.

The Governing Body has discussed this complaint six times since 2015 and had asked the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on several occasions to take measures to put an end to the alleged interference, aggression and stigmatization directed against FEDECAMARAS, its affiliated organizations and its leaders.

In taking the decision to set up the Commission of Inquiry, the Governing Body expressed deep concern about the lack of any progress with respect to its previous decisions and recommendations regarding the complaint. In particular, it referred to the failure to establish a tripartite roundtable, bringing together government, employer, worker as well as ILO representatives to resolve all pending issues. The Governing Body also expressed its regret that it had not been able to carry out the high-level mission it had recommended at its November 2017 Session, due to objections raised by the Government about the agenda of the mission.

A Commission of Inquiry is generally set up when a member State is alleged to have committed persistent and serious violations of ratified International Labour Conventions, which are binding international treaties, and has repeatedly refused to address them.

Upon receipt of a complaint under article 26 of the ILO Constitution, the ILO Governing Body may decide to appoint the Commission of Inquiry, consisting of three independent members, to carry out a full investigation of the complaint, ascertain all the facts of the case, and to make recommendations to address the problems raised in the complaint.

To date, 12 Commissions of Inquiry have been established by the ILO since its foundation in 1919. The last was set up in November 2008 following a complaint against the Government of Zimbabwe.

For more information, please contact the ILO Newsroom: