International labor organization

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International Labor Organization.
International Labor Organization

ILO main building
Organization type Specialized agency
Abbreviation ILO, ILO, OIT
management United KingdomUnited Kingdom Guy Ryder
Founded April 11, 1919
Headquarters Geneva , SwitzerlandSwitzerlandSwitzerland 
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations
Law on the Administrative Council of the International Labor Office (German Reich, 1925)
Washington Convention on Unemployment (1919)
IAA conference in Berlin in 1927

The International Labor Organization ( ILO , also ILO ; English: International Labor Organization , ILO ; French: Organization internationale du travail , OIT ; Spanish: Organización Internacional del Trabajo , OIT ) is a specialized agency of the United Nations and is tasked with promoting social justice and human and to promote labor rights . This includes combating trafficking in human beings.


The ILO began its work on April 11, 1919 at the Peace Conference in Versailles . It was originally a permanent institution of the League of Nations with the aim of securing world peace on the basis of social justice . It arose from a demand by the social democratic Amsterdam trade union international . The ILO constitution is annexed to the Versailles Treaty as Chapter 13. It begins with the words: "In the long term, world peace can only be built on social justice."

The ILO has been a UN specialized agency since December 14, 1946, when it took its seat in Geneva , making it the first of its kind. In 1969 the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994 the Hans Böckler Prize . The ILO has 187 member states.


  • International Labor Conference ( International Labor Conference ) : Occurs once a year in Geneva, decided acts and budget of the organization. In the highest body of the ILO, each member state has four delegates, including two representatives from the government and one representative each from workers ' and employers' organizations .
  • Board of Directors ( Governing Body ) : The executive branch consists of 56 representatives (and as many substitutes) and meets three times a year. Here, too, the ratio of representatives is 2: 1: 1. Ten of the 28 government seats are permanently held by ten states of "great industrial importance" ( Brazil , People's Republic of China , France , Germany , India , Italy , Japan , Russian Federation , United Kingdom and United States ), the remaining 18 are elected every three years. The representatives from employee and employer organizations are personally elected.
  • International Labor Office ( International Labor Office ) : Takes over the function of the Secretariat of the International Labor Organization and leads, among other regular statistics on the labor market and labor situation in the member countries.

General Directors

Directors-General of the ILO since 1919 have been:

photo Surname Country Term of office
Albert Thomas Albert Thomas Third French RepublicThird French Republic France 1919-1932
Harold Beresford Butler United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1932-1939
John Gilbert Winant John Gilbert Winant United States 48United States United States 1939-1941
Edward Phelan IrelandIreland Ireland 1941-1948
David A. Morse David A. Morse United StatesUnited States United States 1948-1970
C. Wilfred Jenks United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1970-1973
Francis Blanchard FranceFrance France 1974-1989
Michel Hansenne BelgiumBelgium Belgium 1989-1999
Juan Somavía Juan Somavía ChileChile Chile 1999-2012
Guy Ryder Guy Ryder United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom since 2012

Working method

The ILO is tasked with further developing international labor standards . Governments, trade unions and employers work together in it (three-key principle). To this end, it draws up legally binding agreements (conventions) and recommendations to the member states. This affects various areas of labor law: standards for maternity protection, protection of temporary employees, age limits for certain jobs, etc. To date, there are a total of 188 conventions and 198 recommendations, which are also referred to as the “International Labor Code”.

After ratification by the competent authorities of a member state, conventions create legal obligations, whereas recommendations are only intended to provide guidance for politics. Members are required to report regularly to the ILO on the implementation of the Conventions they have ratified and on the status of their national legislation on labor law and health and safety.

The ILO and the international trade union movement

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) describes the ILO in its program (2006) as a “global reference point”. The 2nd World Congress of the ITUC (2010) adopted a resolution “The International Labor Organization”, in which this importance is again underlined and further elaborated.


For 2018, revenues were $ 692 million (2017: 683 million, 2016: 670 million) and expenses were $ 625 million (2017: 640 million, 2016: 675 million). Of all the specialized agencies of the UN, the ILO had one of the largest budgets.

See also


Radio feature

Web links

Commons : International Labor Organization  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ILO Director-General. Retrieved October 22, 2012 .
  2. IAO: We about us or Origins and history (engl.)
  3. E.g. in ILO publications Youth Employment in Crisis: Time to Action, 101st International Labor Conference 2012, Report V and Employment, Growth and Social Justice, Report of the 9th European Regional Meeting, Oslo 8-11 May 2012 April 2013 , ILO: Publications and Research
  4. "The International Labor Organization (ILO) is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labor rights, pursuing its founding mission that labor peace is essential to prosperity." From: ILO, Mission and objectives
  5. ^ Joint declaration of the Interinstitutional Coordination Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. Retrieved October 5, 2016 .
  6. a b Built on social justice , new Germany , June 8, 2019 (link for a fee)
  7. Hans Böckler Foundation: Hans Böckler Prize - The Prize Winners ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. ILO, in:
  9. Artur Woll (Ed.): Wirtschaftslexikon: Jubiläumsausgabe . 10th edition. de Gruyter, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-486-84758-1 , p. 351 ( [accessed on January 29, 2019] quoted after the limited preview on Google Books ).
  10. IGB program , accessed on March 1, 2018
  11. Resolution: The International Labor Organization of the 2nd ITUC World Congress , accessed on March 1, 2018
  12. ^ Total Revenue by Agency. United Nations - Chief Executives Board for Coordination, accessed July 16, 2020 .
  13. Expenditure by Agency | United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .

Coordinates: 46 ° 13 ′ 45 "  N , 6 ° 8 ′ 3"  E ; CH1903:  499365  /  120585