COVID-19 Pandemic Shifts ILO’s International Labour Confab

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The annual International Labour Conference billed for May 25 in Geneva will no longer hold due to the spread of COVID-19.

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has deferred the conference to June 5. 

The Governing Body is, however, the executive arm of the ILO (the Office is the secretariat of the Organisation). It meets three times a year, in March, June and November. 

It takes decisions on ILO policy, decides the agenda of the International Labour Conference, adopts the draft programme and budget of the Organisation for submission to the Conference, and elects the Director-General.

It is composed of 56 titular members (28 governments, 14 employers and 14 workers) and 66 deputy members (28 governments, 19 employers and 19 workers). Ten of the titular government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States). 

The other government members are elected by the Conference every three years (the last elections were held in June 2014). The Employer and Worker members are elected in their individual capacity.

Its decision was taken in the light of severe worldwide travel restrictions due to the pandemic, and the need to ensure the health and well-being of delegates and staff. The 109th session of the Conference will now take place in June 2021.

As a consequence of this decision, the associated 338th and 339th sessions of the ILO Governing Body, scheduled for May 25 and June 6, 2020, respectively, will also not take place.

Despite the deferral of the Conference, ILO and all its offices around the world are operational and will continue to work closely with its constituents, development partners and the multilateral system.

The Organisation is directing significant efforts towards addressing policy and technical responses to the pandemic, for the immediate and long term.

The International Labour Conference meets once a year in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the key world of work issues, craft and adopt International Labour Standards and monitor their implementation. 

It brings together government, worker and employer representatives of the ILO’s 187 member States.

 

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