The Centenary of Convention No 1: A Landmark for Workers' Rights

2019 marks the centenary of the first international labour standard, the Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919 (No.1). The adoption of Convention No. 1 during the First International Labour Conference was truly a landmark for workers’ rights, enshrining a long-sought trade union objective, the eight-hour workday, into international law, alongside a 48-hour weekly limit on working time—a radical notion at a time when 60-plus hour workweeks were still common everywhere. This major achievement was the result of strong advocacy from trade unions at both the national and international level.

The centenary event provides the opportunity to reflect on the key role of the ILO in the development of working time over the past 100 years and to analyse some of the major trends in working time legislation. The event will showcase the events leading up to the ratification of Convention No.1. Professor Dr. Gerhard Bosch, one of the foremost working time experts, will present the keynote speech on the impact of the ILO hours of work convention on national legislation, the resulting trends over the past century and future developments anticipated regarding working time in the world of work. The speech will be followed by comments from worker and employer representatives.


Date: 14 November 2019
Time: 17:00 to 18:30 (followed by a reception)
  • Opening remarks by Ms Manuela Tomei, Director, Conditions of Work and Equality Department
  • Video on the events leading to Convention 1
  • Keynote speech by Dr Gerhard Bosch, Professor in industrial and economic sociology, University of Duisburg-Essen, on the impact of Convention 1 on working hours globally over the past 100 years
  • Comments from worker and employer representatives
  • Q&A