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Introduction: the ILO

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the UN agency that sets internationally recognised labour standards to protect the rights of workers.

The ILO is made up of a social partnership of governments, employers and trade unions. ITF leads the work of the shipping and fisheries trade unions in this partnership.

What does the ILO do?

The ILO sets international labour standards through key international agreements:

                - Forced labour
                - Freedom of association and protection of the right to organise
                - Right to organise and collective bargaining
                - Equal remuneration
                - Abolition of forced labour
                - Discrimination (employment and occupation)
                - Minimum age
                - Elimination of the worst forms of child labour

Major achievements of the ILO over the past few years include the adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and the Work in Fishing Convention.

What is the Maritime Labour Convention?

Adopted in February 2006, the ILO's Maritime Labour Convention sets the minimum standards to ensure satisfactory conditions of employment for the world’s seafarers. It brings together and updates over 65 other ILO maritime labour instruments, while introducing a system of certification and inspection to enforce it.

Which areas does it cover?

The Maritime Labour Conventions covers:

Ships need to comply with the Convention through holding a Maritime Labour Certificate and Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance issued by the flag state, which must be available on board for any port state inspection.

What is the Work in Fishing Convention?

The ILO Work in Fishing Convention (No.188) was adopted in 2007 to set standards to protect workers in the fishing sector. It will come into effect when it is ratified by a minimum of 10 ILO member states (including eight coastal nations). The Convention aims to ensure that fishers:

There are also measures to ensure compliance and enforcement. Large fishing vessels on extended voyages may be inspected in foreign ports to ensure that fishers do not work under conditions that are hazardous to their safety and health.

Do the IMO and ILO work together?

Sometimes the IMO and ILO join forces to address issues of mutual concern. Two examples of this are the fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, for which there are now joint guidelines, and the issue of liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal injury and abandonment of seafarers.

Further information on these issues is contained in the links on the right of this page.

Related documents:
ILO Min Wage JAN 2016 - Consolidated Interpretation (40kb XLS)

Related pages:
Criminalisation of Seafarers | Abandoned Seafarers | Fair Treatment of Seafarers | Basic Rights Under ILO | Contact Us

Useful links:
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