Since its inception, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has undertaken the issue of international labor standards with the objective of promoting opportunities of productive and decent work in conditions of dignity and security.
All the Member States of the ILO must observe the mandates included in:
- The ILO Constitution;
- The Declaration Concerning the Aims and Purposes of the International Labor Organization (Declaration of Philadelphia); and,
- The Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up (Declaration on Fundamental Principles).
The Declaration on Fundamental Principles highlights a set of four core principles, which the Member Countries of the ILO should respect, promote and realize, therefore creating minimum working conditions:
- Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
- Effective abolition of child labor; and,
- Elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.
In the current globalized economy, the ILO’s International Labor standards constitute an essential element, within the international framework, to ensure that global economic progress is of collective benefit. These standards can take the form of conventions (international treaties subject to ratification by Member States) or recommendations (non-biding instruments that provide guidance on a subject). Such documents include issues related to labor rights, work, employment, social security, social policy and related human rights.
The following eight conventions are considered fundamental for the rights of those working and all ILO Member States are obligated to respect, promote and realize the principles concerning those rights:
- Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (C87);
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (C98);
- Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (C29);
- Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, 1957 (C105);
- Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (C138);
- Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (C182);
- Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (C100); and,
- Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (C111).
Countries in the Americas have ratified a great variety of conventions about collective and individual rights at work, including those related to the fundamental principles.