ILO Conventions

International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO's constituents (governments, employers and workers)

and set out basic principles for labour, daily wage earners and the rights to livelihood and work.

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)

This fundamental convention sets forth the right for workers and employers to establish and join organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization. Workers' and employers' organizations shall organize freely and not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority, and they shall have the right to establish and join federations and confederations, which may in turn affiliate with international organizations of workers and employers.

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

This fundamental convention provides that workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination. Workers' and employers' organizations shall enjoy adequate protection against any acts of interference by each other. The convention also enshrines the right to collective bargaining.

Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) (and its 2014 Protocol )

This fundamental convention prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labour. Exceptions are provided for work required by compulsory military service, normal civic obligations and as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law, in cases of emergency, and for minor communal services performed by the members of a community in the direct interest of the community. The convention also requires that the illegal extraction of forced or compulsory labour be punishable as a penal offence, and that ratifying states ensure that the relevant penalties imposed by law are adequate and strictly enforced.

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)

This fundamental convention prohibits forced or compulsory labour as a means of political coercion or education or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views or views ideologically opposed to the established political, social or economic system; as a method of mobilizing and using labour for purposes of economic development; as a means of labour discipline; as a punishment for having participated in strikes; and as a means of racial, social, national or religious discrimination.

Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)

This fundamental Convention sets the general minimum age for admission to employment or work at 15 years (13 for light work) and the minimum age for hazardous work at 18 (16 under certain strict conditions). It provides for the possibility of initially setting the general minimum age at 14 (12 for light work) where the economy and educational facilities are insufficiently developed.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)

This fundamental Convention defines as a “child” a person under 18 years of age. It requires ratifying states to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, including: all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; child prostitution and pornography; using children for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs; and work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. The Convention requires ratifying states to provide the necessary and appropriate direct assistance for the removal of children from the worst forms of child labour and for their rehabilitation and social integration. It also requires states to ensure access to free basic education and, wherever possible and appropriate, vocational training for children removed from the worst forms of child labour.

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)

This fundamental convention requires ratifying countries to ensure the application of the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value. The term ‘remuneration’ is broadly defined to include the ordinary, basic or minimum wage or salary and any additional emoluments payable directly or indirectly, whether in cash or in kind, by the employer to the worker and arising out of the worker’s employment.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

This fundamental convention defines discrimination as any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation. It requires ratifying states to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in these fields. The Convention covers discrimination in relation to access to education and vocational training, access to employment and to particular occupations, as well as terms and conditions of employment.