The International Labor Organization being (committed to promote and develop
social justice) the only International Organization that has survived the second
world war even after “league of nations” has been completely dissoluted. It is
accountable for building and commanding International Labor Standards in the
form of conventions and recommendations out of which least standards of basic
labor rights are set. With regard to the International Labor Standards, the path
of India has always been definite. There are altogether eight core conventions
out of which only 4 have been approved by India. The exceeding goal of ILO is
decent work as well as creating larger opportunities for men and women and so
on. As an end product of the peace conference that took place at the end of
world war I at Versailles by the year 1919, the International Labor Organization
emerged out. What is paramount to the activities of the International Labor
Organization are the International Labor Standards. The author focuses on the
establishment of the ILO in its first part. Living wage, fair wage and,
minimum wage are the classifications of wages. Wages are defined under section
2(h) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. This paper throws a light upon the
Significance of the ILO Conventions and Recommendations and thereby enhancing
the conventions and recommendations in relation to wages.
In this modern era, the concept of Globalization has generated many different
contingencies for many citizens in the countries globally, nevertheless at the
same time, it has also led to various issues and wrangles for millions of
workers internationally. Every country has this salacity to profit a competitive
edge, and in doing so, it is observed that many don’t seem to be following fair
labor standards, for example, Jacques Necker (a Swiss banker) contended in the
year 1788 that if France rejects the Sunday rest day its vying position will
promote only if the other countries did not pursue the same. The International
Labor Standards aim at the advancement of people as Human beings. “Labor cannot
be said as a commodity”, the global society endorsed in the ILO’S Declaration of
Philadelphia of 1944.The International Labor Standards are supported by an
exclusive administrative system that assists to make sure that the countries
administer the conventions that they have approved. The ILO continually analyzes
the operation of the labor standards in the member countries that have accepted
them and assists them by pointing out where they could be better implemented. Undoubtedly, labor cannot be compared to an apple or a television,
because it is not a non-living product which could be reached at an agreement
for the greatest profit or the lowest price. Economic development encompasses
the creation of jobs and suitable working conditions in which people can work
together in liberty and safety dignity etc. To put it shortly economic
development is not something which is undertaken for its own purpose but to
promote many lives of human beings; international labor standards are here today
to make it perfect that it stays incessant on developing human life and
dignity(ILO,2010). The International Labor Organization (ILO) was formed in the
year 1919 to develop the social progress and to overcome the economic battles of
interests with the aid of collaboration and dialogue. It brought together
employers, governments and the workers at the global level to find common rules
policies and behaviors from which almost everyone could benefit in contradiction
to revolutionary moments which were prevailing at that time. Peace and Justice
could go hand in hand was the firm belief behind which this International Labor Organization (ILO) was constituted. It was not built up in the sense that war
always amounts to injustice, but merely on faith that social justice is a
peculiarity for peace(Servais,2005).
The three chief organs governing the work
include the International Labor Conference of the Entire membership; the
governing body, elected by the conference which meets thrice a year; and the
office counseled by the Director-general, who is chosen by the Governing Body.
The first constitution of the International Labor Organization (ILO) was adopted
by the Commission on International Labor Organization of the peace conference in
1919 and built up a part of the treaty of Versailles. This constitution laid the
basement for the entire organization itself spelled out the objects and purposes
as well as its particularized design and also recognized particular methods and
guidelines for managing and organizing labor conditions which almost all the
industrial communities should venture to apply, as far as their appropriate
circumstances will allow” which are of exceptional and persuasive significance.
This perception of the constitution was taken a step further in an authoritative
declaration which was accepted by the organization at a conference aid in
Philadelphia in the year 1944 and was integrated into its constitution.
This research paper will highlight the significance of the International Labor
Organization and the available recommendations and conventions in relation to
wages. Also, this research paper aspires to cover the basic idea behind the
establishment of the International Labor Organization and its impact on the
During the course of endorsing and evaluating the resources that the researcher
has relied upon, it has been firmly felt thateven though the ILO conventions
are seen to be in dearth of any intrusive-teeth like the World Trade
Organization rules, they still bear some weight in naming and mortifying a
country if it fails to do so in implementation.
1) International Labor Organization’s Principles are the guidelines in the
formation of Labor laws in India.
2) The Conventions and Recommendations given by the ILO in relation to wages has
an effect on the labor legislation formulated.
History And The Establishment of The International Labor Organization- A
To trace the history of the International Labor Organization, it is pertinent to
mention right from its creation. In the year 1919, the International Labor
Organization was built up. Out of the nineteenth-century labor and social
movements it commenced, which actually terminated in extensive requests for the
social justice and more advanced living standards for the working people in the
world. After the dissolution of the league of nations, the ILO became the first
and the foremost specific agency connected with the united nations. The
authentic membership has grown to about 121 (of about forty- five countries) in
the year 1971. The accurate reason behind why ILO is still considered to be
exclusive among the world organizations is that all the employers, be it
representatives of the workers have an alike voice with those of the government
correspondingly in codifying its policies. The ILO’S greatest contemplative
body, the annual International Labor Conference comprises of four
representatives from each member country respectively: one worker and one
employer delegate, two government delegates each of whom could speak and vote
freely. The actual work of the ILO is accompanied by the governing body between
the conferences consisting of twenty-four government, twelve worker and twelve
employer members in addition to which there will be twelve deputy members.
The three chief tasks of the ILO, the first one is the endorsement of
international labor standards, the so-called the conventions, and
recommendations, for exertion and application by member states. What do these
conventions and recommendations contain is a question one would actually ponder
upon. These conventions and recommendations are nothing but the guidelines on
the protection of women, hours of work, child labor, social security protection
etc. In addition, these recommendations and conventions also contain questions
covering the elementary human rights. Freedom of Association, abrogation of
forced labor, collective bargaining, the eradication of discrimination in the
employment sector and the aggrandizement of brimming employment. It is seen that
totally 134 conventions and 142 recommendations in the year 1970 had been chosen
by the ILO. Each of them is seen to be a catalyst, as well as a model for
realistic operation and national legislation in member countries. The next
fascinating peculiarity about the International Labor Organization is its
abstruse assistance to help advancing nations. For the purpose of carrying out
these abstruse cooperation programs more than half of ILO’s resources are
dedicated totally. The four chief areas of concentration are the advancement of
human resources, carried out through vocational training and management
development; employment preparation and advancement, the augmentation of social
institutions in such fields as relating to labor relations, labor
administration, circumstances of work and life(for Eg: social security,
The World Employment Program was launched by the ILO, marking
the onset of its second-half century. It was designed basically to provide
assistance to countries for providing them with employment and training
contingencies for their blistering populations. The preeminent contribution of
the International Labor Organization would be the world employment program to
the United Nations Second Development Decade. According to an estimation to work
for more than 300 scholarly cooperation projects there are seen to be nearly 900 ILO experts
of fifty-five distinctive nationalities in over 100 different
countries all around the world. The ILO is observed to have totally six
directors general since its dawn. The exceptional feature about the ILO is that
it is seen as a crucial and the main source of resource in relation to
publications and documentation on labor and social matters. The International
Institute for labor studies in Geneva, and the International center for advanced
technical and vocational training in Turin, Italy are seen to be the two chief
functional educational institutions established in total.
Significance of The ILO Conventions And Recommendations
The International Labor Standards are nothing but the lawful instruments that
are drawn up by the ILO’s constituents like governments, workers or employers.
The main purpose behind which is the setting out of some primary and elementary
principles and the rights at work. An International Labor Standard is
annunciated by the International Labor Organization, which is the United
nation’s labor and employment relations agency. They can be either
recommendations or conventions. Thus the conventions treaties that do not bind a
country unless and until it is ratified by that country are called as
conventions) accepted and adopted by the International Labor Organization can be
assuredly seen as exemplifying universal norms with worldwide outlook and
ethical content. It is analyzed that in many cases the conventions lay down the
elementary principles to be achieved or carried out by approving countries while
a relevant recommendation ecumenically supplements the convention by providing
with the particularized guidelines as to how it could be brought out in the
application. Recommendations can also be self-governing, without having any link
to the convention. It is seen that once a standard is acknowledged or confirmed,
under the ILO constitution the member states are obliged to submit the same to
their proficient authority, typically the parliament for the consideration. This
means the application for acceptance in the case of conventions. Once accepted
or ratified a convention ecumenically comes into force for that particular
country one year after the date of acceptance.
It is observed that the accepting
countries commit themselves to implement the convention in national law and
practice and in broadcasting the application of the same in normal intervals.
The chief role of ratification was promoted by the permutations of the very
first convention accepted and adopted by the ILO, the hours of work (Industry)
convention,1919. The complaint procedures can also be started against the
countries in addition for contraventions of a convention which they have
approved. It is seen that the corporate codes of conduct progressively integrate
the International Labor Standards sometimes premeditatedly and sometimes not.
The eight basic or constitutional conventions are: Freedom of Association and
Protection of the right to organize convention, Right to organize and collective
bargaining convention, Forced labor convention, Abolition of forced labor
convention, Minimum age convention, worst forms of child labor convention, Equal
Remuneration Convention, Discrimination(Employment and Occupation) convention.
It is imperative to mention about the other four conventions called as ”priority
conventions” nominated by the ILO’S commanding body, thereby alleviating member
states to approve them highlighting their significance for the functioning of
the International labor standards system. With regard to India 43, ILO
Conventions and 1 protocol had been affirmed. India has approved 4 core
conventions totally out of 8 core conventions. Consistency, Universality and
tripartite composition are seen as the chief features of the International Labor
The Concept of Wages
The concept of wages and its history can be traced from the Employer’s and Workmen’s(Disputes) Act passed by the Indian Government in the year 1860. The
majority of the people work hard for the purpose of earning money. The access to
enough and routine wages is not yet made certain in many parts of the world.Wage can be defined as a remuneration to labor for the work done for the
service performed by it to the employer. There are divergent theories on the
concept of wages as propounded by economists and sociologists, which clearly
elucidated contrasting facets of wage problems. However, these theories are not
seen to be appropriate in all circumstances.In India, minimum wage rates are
decided under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. This act has its basis from Article
43 of the Indian constitution. Minimum wage rates are decided both by the
Central Government and the Provincial Governments as labor is seen to be the
coeval subject under the constitution of India.
ILO Conventions And Recommendations Relating To Wages:
It is observed that many of the ILO Conventions unambiguous and roundabout
relevance to the concept of wages. It is seen that there are totally six
conventions with the concept of “wages” as their main topic, most aged from
1926(Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No-26). There are many other
conventions that unambiguously appropriate for wages but they all are
principally dealt with other significant topics such as equality of treatment or
collective bargaining. Conventions like the Domestic Workers Convention,
2011(No.189) make unambiguous relevance to wages itself. The admissible ILO
principles with regard to the concept of wages include Minimum wage fixing,
Equality of Treatment, Protection of Wages, labor clauses in public contracts,
Promotion of Collective Bargaining, Labor relations in the Public Service.
Fundamental: Equality of Treatment
Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951(No.100):
In the implementation of the principle for equal remuneration between men and
women for a work of balanced value, the approving state must play an important
role in advancing encouraging and assuring them. On the basis of the work
executed, this convention helps in reassuring and encouraging equitable job
appraisals in order to give effect to the same convention mentioned.
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No.111)
In abnegating any discrimination based on color, sex, gender etc this national
policy was brought about. It is pertinent to mention here about the grounds
included under the forbiddance of discrimination. Forbiddance of discrimination
under this convention interestingly includes terms and conditions of employment
which also includes wages.
Fundamental: Minimum Wage Fixing
Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention, 1928(No.26):
This convention focuses on the establishment and the perpetuation of a minimum
wage fixing machinery where wages are not controlled by collective bargaining or
are particularly low. Other important peculiarities about this convention
include Supervision, Binding, sanctions, and remedies.
Minimum Wage-Fixing Convention, 1970 (No.131):
Minimum wages can be sanctioned through authorization and they have the force of
law. Workers and Employers organizations whenever suitable engage in the
operation of machinery, and they should be fully asked for or consulted in the
minimum wage fixing. It also makes sure to be accountable of the needs of
workers and their families and the economic factor which also consists of
employment and labor productivity.
Fundamental: Protection of Wages
Protection of Wages Conventions, 1949 (No.95):
This convention assuredly provides adequate, brimming and responsive payment of
wages in a manner that provides them security against the corruption. It also
plays an important role in the governance of acceptable deduction.
Fundamental: Protection of Worker’s Claims
Protection of Worker’s Claims(Employer’s Insolvency) Convention, 1992 (No.173):
Means of privilege dealt under part II, guarantee institution dealt in part
III, and a combination of both are estimated as the contrasting potentialities
to safeguard workers with regard to the claims in case of insolvency or
inadequacy of the employer.
Fundamental: Labor Clauses in Public Contracts
Labor Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, 1949 (No.94):
This convention marks an imperative role in assuring minimum labor standards in
the execution of the public contracts. It makes it as a must to include clauses
for ensuring wages not less than what is considered to be agreeable and suitable
than those entrenched for identical work by law or collective agreement. Other
fascinating features of this convention includes the system of examination and
sanctions and conservation of wages due to the workers.
Fundamental: Promotion of Collective Bargaining
Collective Bargaining Convention, 1981(No.154):
This convention provides that the measures should not be the way of impeding the
freedom of collective bargaining. Also provides that the measures of advancement
should inter alia aspire at the formation of compiled rules of procedure.
Under the principle of the promotion of collective bargaining, the duties of
the supervisory bodies include the gratuitous choice of the parties as to the
level of collective bargaining and to the extent of variable issues. Constraints
of Free fixing of wages by collective bargaining should stay unprecedented.
Fundamental: Labor relations in the Public Service
Labor Relations (Public Service) Convention, 1978 (No.151):
This convention provides rights to the systematized public employees to bargain
or to engage in the decision of the terms and conditions of the employment.
Also, this convention plays a far-reaching role in providing opportune measures
in advancing negotiation of terms and conditions of employment between the
public authorities and the public employees’ or organizations or various other
methods permitting their participation or assistance. Principles of the
supervisory bodies involve the wage negotiation within a comprehensive
“budgetary package” is agreeable with the conventions. It also provides
provisions commanding unequivocal percentage increase or stipulation of
budgetary powers averting any conformity with agreements that would be
considered antagonistic to the convention.
Upshot of ILO On Labour Legislations:
With the progression and amplification of growth of miniscule plants, factories
and Industries in Indian subcontinent opening in the mid of the nineteenth
century, brand-new potentialities for employment were spawned, emanating in an
ongoing exodus of the labor from poor rural areas to factories and mills located
fundamentally in urban areas. During the time, in the dearth of any restraint on
organization’s labor by the state, the employers were very less perturbed and
worried for the needs of their workers; wages were seen to be very lesser, very
protracted working hours and disquieting the employees’ employment conditions.
Various labor legislation includes The Factories Act 1881(considered to be the
basis for all Industrial and Labor laws in India), The workmen’s compensation
act 1923(administers payment of compensation in case of an accident or injury to
workmen and their dependents), Mines Act 1923(It does not cover any provision in
relation to overtime work, it only makes provisions for labors who are working
in Indian mines), Trade Unions Act 1926(In order to determine the shortcomings
for anomaly of payment of wages to industrial labors the Indian Government under
the British set up an enquiry committee in the year 1926) , Trade Disputes Act
1929(This act was a British act of parliament passed in response to the general
strike of 1926), Payment of Wages Act 1936(passed to control the payment of
wages to definite classes of people who are employed in the Industry),
Employment of Children Act 1938 etc. Labor legislation with regard to wages
include Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act 1948(This act sets minimum
wages that must be paid to skilled and unskilled labors), Payment of Bonus Act
1965(To persons employed in certain establishments this act provides for the
payment of bonus), Working Journalists(Fixation of rates of wages) Act,
1958(With regard to the working journalists the fixation of rates of wages are
provided under this act. It is seen that the directions issued by the
International Labor Organization built up the principle based on which the labor
legislation was made commensurate to some extent in India. The ILO did have a
tremendous force on labor laws in India. Many brand-new laws were accomplished
to assimilate the guidelines of India.
International Labor Organization can be glorified as a tremendous body that was
established for the welfare or benefit of industrial wage earners both
substantial and rational. The ILO processed with the scheduled aspiration and
desideratum of global enduring peace and harmony. This research clearly
scrutinized miscellaneous recommendations and conventions in detail and thereby
highlighting the efficacy and vigor of the ILO as an instrument of social progress. Beyond the policy statements, different serious questions have
emanated: are ILO member States transcribing their assurances and obligations to
the ILO and its standards into indubitable actions? Is the ILO adequately
compassionate to its Members’ needs and is it helping them in taking the
measures that are commensurate with the on-going remonstrances? From the outlook
of defenseless workers, the contradictory facets of work in the informal economy
far override its positive facets. Workers in the informal economy are not
identified and acknowledged certified or safeguarded under labor legislation and
are ostracized from social protection. Hence they don’t have the ability to
relish, exercise or contend their fundamental rights at work. Since they are
typically not systematized, they have scant or no composite representation
vis-à-vis employers or public authorities. It can be clinched that the largest
part of the labor legislation in India is seen to be pre-constitutional, and ILO
has played a colossal role in contriving a base for the labor legislation in
India. In considering the problem of the clout of the International Labor
Standards, one should be able to bear in mind that the normative activity and
the operation of ILO rest on the deliberate compliance and agreement of the
International labor standards, which in turn builds up the irrevocable
obligation on states.
The ILO was constituted in the year 1919 with a view to provide aid and also to
promote the conditions of labor all around the world. The Conventions are
nothing but the International treaties and are instruments that play a crucial
role in creating legally irrevocable obligations on the country concerned.
Various conventions relating to wages are found out to be Equal Remuneration
Convention, 1951(No.100), Discrimination (Employment and Occupation)
Convention, 1958 (No.111), Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention,
1928(No.26), Minimum Wage-Fixing Convention, 1970 (No.131), Protection of Wages
Conventions, 1949 (No.95), Protection of Worker’s Claims (Employer’s Insolvency)
Convention, 1992 (No.173), Labor Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, 1949
(No.94), Right To Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No.98).
It is seen that therefore India has been very vigilant in affirming conventions.
India has always made it a routine to authorize conventions if and if only if it
is contended that its laws and practices are in conformity with the relevant ILO
convention. Out of 47 conventions and 1 protocol ratified, only 39 are in force.
The eight core conventions are called fundamental or human rights convention.
While acquiring a genuine picture
of the capacity and dynamics of
the informal economy has proven to be a frightening burden since, concepts and
measurement might vary relying upon in part on whether accuracy or
country-correspondence is sought, a late ILO/WTO joint study has predicted that
informal employment encompassed about 78 percent of non-agricultural employment
in advancing Asia and 52 percent in Latin America. One would be able to
estimate that the prevailing objections do not provide a justification to
disdain or cripple internationally acknowledged labor standards.
1) Application of policies and their exercise must be persistent with ILO
fundamental principles and rights at work in order to persuade that the
worldwide growth is predominantly profitable.
2) Informality which is substantially a governance issue has to be recalledas
it is analyzed that the progress of the informal economy can sometimes be etched
to improper, feeble, misplaced or inadequately designed or exercised social
3) The prevailing delusion based on an assumption that workers in the informal
economy are outside the outlook of application and implementation of
international labor standards has to be scrapped as in fact, most international
labor standards are admissible to those in the informal economy.
1) The International Labour Organization and labor standards
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2) Origins and history, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang--en/index.htm.
3) Ritasha Gupta, Wage policy, SCRIBD,https://www.scribd.com/document/69435996/Wage-Policy.
4) International Labour Standards On Wages, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION,https://www.ilo.org/global/standards/subjects-covered-by-international-labour-standards/wages/lang--en/index.htm
5) Karan Bhutani, Wages Structure in India Under the Minimum Wages Act,
6) Work and Wages, PAYCHECK.IN,https://paycheck.in/labour-law-india/work-and-wages.
7) Reynaud Emmanuel, The International Labour Organization and the living
wage a historical perspective, IDEAS(2017),https://ideas.repec.org/p/ilo/ilowps/994958793502676.html.
8) Carlos carrion-Crespo, Promotion of the ILO’S Labour relation in the
Public Service Convention, 1978(NO.151), RESEARCH GATE, https://www.researchgate.net/project/Promotion-of-the-ILOs-Labour-Relation-in-the-Public-Service-Convention-1978-No-151.
About the Author:
Kanimozhi Thaninayagam pursuing her "IV" year B.A. LLB (HONS) at School
Excellence In Law, Chennai.