The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is part of the United Nations Framework. It is the only tripartite U.N. agency- this means that since 1919, the ILO has brought together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 Member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.
The ILO has 8 Fundamental Conventions, of which Convention No. 111 deals with discrimination in the workplace and associated places of education.
The Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) and Recommendation (No. 111) was adopted to ensure protection of all workers against discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, and other criteria (to be determined by the states that ratify it after consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organisations.)
In the Fundamental Convention No. 111 discrimination is defined 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 and treatment in employment or occupation (including access to vocational training, access to employment and to particular occupations, and terms and conditions of employment).
ARTICLE 1 Paragraphs 1 and 3
In order to comply and implement the provisions of the Convention no. 111, ratifying states design and adopt in consultation and cooperation with employers’ and workers’ associations and other relevant stakeholders specific national policies that enhance equality of opportunity and treatment and aim at eliminating any discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
ARTICLE 3 of the Convention No. 111 is a pivotal point of the document, emphasising the toolkit available to comply and implement the provisions, namely:
Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice:
- To seek the co-operation of employers’ and workers’ organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy;
- To enact such legislation and to promote such educational programmes as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of the policy;
- To repeal any statutory provisions and modify any administrative instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy;
- To pursue the policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority;
- To ensure observance of the policy in the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority;
- To indicate in its annual reports on the application of the Convention the action taken in pursuance of the policy and the results secured by such action.
As of 2015, the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention no. 111 had been ratified by 172 members of the International Labour Organisation.
Further information available at:
The ILO website, where the text of the Convention No.111 is available