International Labor Organization: Supervisory Mechanisms

Topic: International Organizations
Words: 1465 Pages: 5


The need to create a better and accommodative working environment for workers across the globe is a major concern that has drawn the attention of ILO. Laborers, irrespective of their workplace or country of origin, deserve to have their rights and freedom protected by the state and the employer as well. To promote proper working standards, the international communities have developed measures that ensure all member states adhere to the practices outlined in the agreement. The ILO values are universal tools that reflect common fundamental principles on issues related to work situations. Even though it is not mandatory for the member countries to adopt and implement the instruments, ILO must confirm the progress and development of respective nations whether they ratified or ignored the principles. All member states are required to issue regular reports on the progress of the conventions and any possible obstacles that are hindering the ratification of the given values. ILO has developed two effective supervisory mechanisms that help in checking and validating the rights of laborers across member countries.

Regular System of Supervision

The regular system of supervision consists of two bodies responsible for examining the ILO reports of the applications and the way member states practice the values based on the observations on the reports sent by the employers and workers’ organizations. The responsible ILO bodies are the Committee of Experts and the International Labor Conference’s Tripartite Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (Alhambra, Ter Haar, and Kun, 2020). Each agency has a specific mandate to perform based on the values and practices of the ILO to ensure proper examination and ratification of the labor standards.

Based on the current ILO constitution, the Committee of Experts consists of 20 members who operate in their capacities. The body is selected, and member states do not involve directly in the process hence making it more objective and reputational. The body meets annually on a specified date set by the governing agency. The key role of the Committee is to conduct a technical and independent valuation of the reports provided by participant countries (Picard, 2020). After the examination, the Experts then report the findings to the Conference concerning the extent to which the respective national legislation and practices conform to the proposed international obligations. The body relies on the data given by the member country to facilitate its supervisory role. They use questionnaires to enable them to extract accurate information from parties to the convention (Van Der Heijden, 2018). The required details are gathered from judicial decisions, labor reports, national legislation, and feedback from employers and employees’ associations. The survey is aimed at ensuring that domestic laws applied in the respective nation conform to the ILO recommendations and its constitution.

During the process of examining the application of international labor principles, there are two different remarks made by the Experts. The first is about the overall observation, which entails the comment on basic inquiries concerning the application of a given convention by the member country. The various questions raised are then published in the yearly reports of the Committee. The second aspect is the direct request, whereby the Experts demand further information following the provisions made. They channel the queries to the national governments in charge of the implementation of the agreements. After obtaining credible and expressive reports, the results are taken to the International Labor Conference for further discussion. The Conference Committee consists of a tripartite organ, namely the employers, governments, and workers’ representatives. The procedure is to enable national governments to add and implement other desirable observations and seek support on how to counter challenges facing the application of various conventions. The Conference Committee is allowed to examine the comments made by Experts that seem to be of interest to the ILO and governments.

The regular system of supervisors has enabled ILO to monitor the progress in the application of the conventions by the member states. Furthermore, through the Committee of Experts, the body has been able to identify a possible issue that affects governments, hindering them from effective ratification of the treaties (Nunes Chaib, 2019). It makes sure the ILO justifies the commitment of the nations by conforming to whether their applications meet the ILO obligations. Moreover, it allows other countries facing issues already faced by other participants to formulate relevant criteria for overcoming them. Despite its practicability, this mechanism still encounters some aspects of drawbacks. For instance, some member states may decline to implement the ILO conventions. Similarly, other governments might provide inaccurate data hence misleading the process of applying the changes.

Special Procedures

Special procedures are a supervisory and control mechanism that entails the submission of representations. It consists of three key areas that complement the regular supervision in the ILO. The ad hoc procedures can be activated on the following basis, the Representative procedure, the Complaint procedure, and the Freedom of Association procedure. All the aspects focus on different bringing an effective balance between the special and regular measures.

The Representative Procedure

The Representative procedure is indicated in the ILO constitution under Article 24. It allows the association of workers and employees to make a representation to ILO if a member state fails to provide effective compliance to conventions as per the agreements (MacKay, 2020). Over the past years, several similar cases have been filed and reached the ILO governing body. Upon receiving the representation, the governing body may opt to examine a committee consisting of government, workers, and employers’ groups. After which, the agency evaluates the situation represented, and therefore ILO might invite the respective national government to discuss the findings of the issue.

The Complaint Procedure

The complaint approach is one of the most complex adversarial techniques available in the ILO constitution covering Articles 26 to 34. According to this procedure, any member state has the authority to file a complaint against other participants that have failed to comply with the ILO conventions accordingly. After the filing of the alleged issue, the governing body of ILO can instigate the situation or assign the Conference to unveil the findings. Since it is a multilateral concern, any member country has the right to demand other parties to the treaty promote the interests ratified by the nations (Khodzhaevich, Davlyatovich, and Yuldashevich, 2019). However, in some cases, based on the collective structure of the procedure, the complainant country must not verify its compliance with the agreements of ILO that relate directly to its grievance.

The Freedom of Association Procedure

The freedom of association procedure was established by the governing body of ILO and the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It deals with the ever-increasing number of cases the ILO member states encounters. It is through the approach that ILO draws its rationale for special procedures. Based on the freedom of association fundamentals, an attack on the ILO has a direct impact on the employees, national governments, and employers’ groups. The system applies to both nations that have ratified ILO conventions and to those which fail to comply. Through the process, the governing body takes appropriate measures to govern the rights of members involved in the case.

The special procedure mechanism has provided an effective ground for solving several complaints on matters affective the wellbeing of workers, governments, and employers’ groups. It provides clear steps for managing the situations and ensuring all member states comply with the interest of ILO participants. However, despite the contribution of ad hoc procedure in ILO, it faces some significant shortcomings that implement the processes complex (Blackett, 2019). Furthermore, most national governments do not ratify the conventions set by the governing body.

Impacts and Effectiveness of Rights Globally

The ILO promotes safety working environment, which makes employees more productive and committed to performing their duties. It enhances the ability of workers to bargain fairly about their compensation which is essential for their personal development (Araujo, 2018). Furthermore, ILO’s supervisory mechanisms allow employers, workers, and governments’ to file their claims on matters concerning the inappropriate work environment. Moreover, the parties have the mandate to participate in the decision-making on issues that significantly affect their lives (Graham et al., 2020). The rights guarantee freedom of association which is essential in bringing people together to tackle challenges that hinder to implementation and ratification of ILO conventions.


In summary, the various mechanisms of ILO in supervising and controlling the rights play a significant role in ensuring member states ratify the conventions. The regular supervision approach allows the governing body to oversee and recommend solutions to challenges affecting the implementation of agreements. Similarly, special procedures which entail the representation, complaint, and freedom of association are fundamental in supplementing the regular control of the body. ILO promotes an effective and reliable working environment for workers and employers by ensuring compliance with its treaties in member countries.

Reference List

Alhambra, A.G.M., Ter Haar, B. and Kun, A. (2020) ‘Harnessing public institutions for labor law enforcement: Embedding a transnational labor inspectorate within the ILO,’ International Organizations Law Review, 17(1), pp.233-260.

Araujo, B.M. (2018) ‘Labour provisions in EU and US mega-regional trade agreements: Rhetoric and reality,’ International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 67(1), pp.233-253.

Blackett, A. (2019) Everyday transgressions: Domestic workers’ transnational challenge to international labor law. ILR Press.

Graham, M., Woodcock, J., Heeks, R., Mungai, P., Van Belle, J.P., du Toit, D., Fredman, S., Osiki, A., Van der Spuy, A. and Silberman, S.M. (2020) ‘The fairwork foundation: Strategies for improving platform work in a global context,’ Geoforum, 112, pp.100-103.

Khodzhaevich, A.K., Davlyatovich, K.S. and Yuldashevich, M.A. (2019) ‘The role of the international labor organization in the human resource management system,’ International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering, 8(9), pp.169-175.

MacKay, F. (2020) ‘The ILO convention No. 111: An alternative means of protecting indigenous peoples’ rights?’ The International Journal of Human Rights, 24(2-3), pp.144-155.

Nunes Chaib, A. (2019) ‘Committee of experts on the application of conventions and recommendations: International labor organization (ILO).’

Picard, L. (2020) ‘ILO committee of experts bets on targeted cooperation to address forced labor in Qatar: By Loïc Picard, former legal adviser, international labor organization, Geneva, Switzerland. International Labor Rights Case Law, 6(3), pp.250-256.

Van Der Heijden, P. (2018) ‘The ILO stumbling towards its centenary anniversary,’ International Organizations Law Review, 15(1), pp.203-220.

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