- The importance of a just transition for social justice and decent work was highlighted at the 111th International Labour Conference, which was held in Geneva.
- The delegates passed resolutions, policies, and ratifications that reaffirmed their dedication to battling discrimination, advancing gender equality, and defending the rights of workers.
- The conference covered a wide range of labour-related topics, including the elimination of child labour, apprenticeships, and labour protection.
- The urgent necessity to end prejudice and guarantee equal chances for all workers was emphasised.
- To advance the cause of decent employment and foster a more equal workplace, the ILO requested the formation of a Global Coalition for Social Justice.
- The conference came to an end with a firm commitment to creating a future in which everyone can benefit from having a quality job and social fairness is the norm.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has recently emphasised the importance of a just transition for social justice and decent work. With a new labour standard aimed at supporting continuous skills development in rapidly changing labour markets, the ILO aims to provide opportunities for people of all ages to skill, reskill, and upskill. This article explores the key discussions and outcomes of the 111th International Labour Conference held in Geneva.
II. A Just Transition for Social Justice and Decent Work
During the conference, the conclusions of the General Discussion Committee on a just transition were adopted. These conclusions stressed the imperative need to advance social justice, eradicate poverty, and support decent work. In line with these goals, delegates endorsed the ILO Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies. This endorsement serves as a basis for action and policymaking.
III. Charting a Path for Labour Protection
The conference also witnessed the adoption of the conclusions of the Recurrent Discussion Committee on labour protection. This resolution charts a way forward towards more inclusive, adequate, and effective labour protection for all workers. It lays the groundwork for developing a comprehensive plan of action to ensure the well-being and rights of workers.
IV. Resolution on Belarus and Compliance
In the midst of the discussions, the 111th International Labour Conference adopted a resolution that particularly addressed the situation in Belarus in accordance with Article 33 of the ILO Constitution. This important resolution seeks to ensure compliance with the recommendations made by an ILO Commission of Inquiry and holds the Belarusian government responsible for its actions. The commission, tasked with the important job of examining the observance of fundamental labour rights, carefully examined Belarus’ adherence to the 1949 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98) and the 1948 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention.
This resolution serves as a reminder of the ILO and its member states’ ongoing commitment to ensuring decent working conditions for everyone. The conference recognises the crucial role that labour rights play in promoting social justice and preserving the values of decent work by discussing the situation in Belarus. The resolution acknowledges that respecting and upholding workers’ rights, including the ability to organise and engage in collective bargaining, is the cornerstone of a just and equitable society.
Upholding Decent Work Principles in Belarus
This resolution, which acts as a potent call to action, demonstrates the ILO’s commitment to the cause of decent employment. The ILO seeks to ensure that the fundamental values established in the pertinent treaties are recognised and upheld by requiring compliance from the government of Belarus. The goal of the resolution is to provide an atmosphere in which employees can assert their rights without fear of retaliation, allowing them to actively participate in decisions that have an impact on their working circumstances.
It needs teamwork and a united front to sustain good work in Belarus and beyond. The resolution emphasises the need for governments to be held accountable for their actions as well as the obligation of the entire international community to protect the rights and dignity of workers. The ILO works to advance the cause of decent work on a worldwide level by pushing for adherence to labour rules and encouraging a just and fair working environment.
Resolutions like the one addressing the situation in Belarus serve as beacons of hope as the ILO continues its relentless efforts to promote social justice and decent work. They serve to underline the idea that the ideals of collective bargaining, workers’ rights protection, and freedom of association are essential pillars of a just and thriving society. The ILO creates the conditions for a future in which everyone can benefit from the advantages of decent work, thereby promoting a more inclusive and just world.
V. Promoting Gender Equality and Eliminating Discrimination
One of the critical discussions during the conference revolved around achieving gender equality at work. The Committee of Experts’ General Survey highlighted the urgent need to eliminate all forms of discrimination in employment and occupation. The survey emphasised guaranteeing full and effective maternity protection and ensuring the right of workers with family responsibilities to engage in employment.
VI. Ratification of International Labour Conventions
Thirteen ratifications of International Labour Conventions were registered during the conference. These ratifications mainly focused on the recently adopted convention against violence and harassment in the world of work (C190) and conventions concerning occupational safety and health. These ratifications reflect a global commitment to promoting safer and more respectful working environments.
VII. ILO Programme and Budget for 2024–25
The ILO programme and budget for 2024–25 were adopted during the conference. This document and resolution reaffirmed the commitment of all the ILO’s tripartite constituents to combat all forms of discrimination and exclusion. While recognising the differing positions expressed on some issues, the ILO remains dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable world of work.
VIII. World of Work Summit: Pursuing Social Justice
A high-level World of Work Summit, held during the conference, gathered heads of state, government representatives, and organisations. The summit focused on the theme of “Social Justice for All” and addressed various social justice issues. These included discussions on inequalities, informality, equal opportunities, lifelong learning and skills development, social protection, advancing trade, sustainable development, and human and labour rights.
IX. World Day Against Child Labour
The conference also marked World Day Against Child Labour on June 12. At a time when child labour rates are increasing, ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo called on the international community to support greater social justice and intensify efforts to eliminate child labour. The fight against child labour remains a significant priority for the ILO.
X. Director-General’s Remarks at the ILC Closing Ceremony
During the ILC closing ceremony, Director-General Houngbo commended the delegates for their accomplishments and commitment to the ILO’s mandate. He emphasised that their skilled negotiations and careful diplomacy resulted in the adoption of several significant documents. Importantly, resounding and unequivocal support was expressed for a Global Coalition for Social Justice, recognised as a timely and essential initiative. Building on this momentum, the ILO aims to continue its journey towards social justice.
A huge step forward in the fight for social justice and decent work has been made with the completion of the 111th International Labour Conference. The conference’s overarching message was that building a fair and equitable society depends on a just transition, and this message rang out loud and clear throughout. The ILO and its member states embraced this necessity with a strong sense of purpose and resolve, which culminated in the passage of crucial resolutions, directives, and ratifications that strengthened their dedication to the cause of decent work.
The conference provided a forum for discussing urgent labour challenges and outlining specific initiatives in the direction of a more inclusive and just future. The resolutions passed at the conference covered a wide range of subjects, including gender equality, apprenticeships, and child labour prevention. Each resolution is a crucial step towards ensuring that all workers have respectable working conditions that are free from exploitation and discrimination.
The emphasis on preventing discrimination and advancing gender equality in the workplace was a key component of the conference agenda. The debates emphasised how critical it is to end all types of prejudice and guarantee equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance. The conference’s focus on fostering a work climate that celebrates diversity and gives people the freedom to grow is further demonstrated by its commitment to offering full and effective maternity protection and helping employees with family responsibilities.
Taking a Stand Against Child Labour
Additionally, the ILO’s unwavering efforts to combat child labour were demonstrated by the celebration of World Day Against Child Labour. The conference emphasised that the international community has a joint obligation to fight against this serious violation of children’s rights in light of the rising incidence of child labour. The ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, issued a call to action, urging the international community to unite in support of increased social justice and step up efforts to end child labour.
The ILO sees a global coalition for social justice at the centre of the future. Heads of state, labour ministries, and leaders of employers’ and workers’ organisations all enthusiastically endorsed this ambitious idea. In order to advance the cause of decent work, remove obstacles, and build a more equal and inclusive workplace, the Global Coalition is an essential resource.
The ILO maintains its extraordinary progress while maintaining a constant focus on decent work. Worldwide, the commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination and exclusion on the basis of any ground continues to serve as a guiding concept. The ILO works to create a future in which everyone may benefit from the advantages of decent work by establishing coalitions, encouraging debate, and encouraging cooperation.
The 111th International Labour Conference is a prime example of the effectiveness of group action and global collaboration. It serves as evidence of the ILO’s and its member states’ ongoing commitment to promoting social justice and fostering an environment in which decent employment is not only an ambition but also a concrete reality for all. As we say goodbye to this historic occasion, let us carry the conference’s spirit forward, working together to create a society that maintains the principles of decent work and leaves no worker behind.