France and the International Labour Organization


The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the only tripartite United Nations (UN) agency, bringing together representatives of governments, employers and workers from the 187 Member States.
The ILO was founded in 1919 on the basis that universal and lasting peace could not be achieved without decent treatment of workers. To this end, it draws up international standards, designs policies and creates programmes to promote decent work for men and women around the world. Today, major progress continues to be made in fields as fundamental as the definitive eradication of child labour and the fight against modern slavery.

France is an active ILO member with a titular seat on its Governing Body, in which capacity it took part in the adoption of the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.
As a future-oriented organization, the ILO accompanies change in the world of work, as shown by the new standards introduced to fight violence and harassment in the workplace.

History and functioning of the International Labour Organization

France is a founding member of the ILO, actively supporting and committed to its work. Through its Ministry of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion, France:
• promotes French positions, in liaison with its Government Delegate to the ILO Governing Body;
• Contributes to and monitors the work of the ILO;
• Sits on the ILO Governing Body which meets three times a year;
• Takes part in the annual International Labour Conference that brings together the delegates of governments, workers and employers of ILO Member States;
• Supports key cooperation programmes.

Since the ILO’s creation, France has been committed to advancing fundamental labour principles and rights worldwide. In the time of the ILO’s first Director-General, the French trade unionist Albert Thomas (1919-1932), France contributed significantly to the Organization by promoting the adoption of new international standards. As of October 2021, France has ratified 128 conventions, including all the Fundamental and Governance Conventions, and ranks second among countries for ratifications.

The ILO’s main focuses in worker protection are:
• Working time;
• Unemployment;
• Maternity protection
• Child labour;
• Women’s night work;
• Minimum age.

France is deeply committed to the law and has always supported the ILO’s work to establish standards. It has signed all eight Fundamental Conventions produced by the Organization since its creation:
• Prohibition of all forms of forced or compulsory labour (Convention 29, 1930)
• Freedom of association and the right to organize (Convention 87, 1948)
• Right to organise and collective bargaining (Convention 98, 1949)
• Equal remuneration (Convention 100, 1951)
• Abolition of forced labour (Convention 105, 1957)
• Fight against discrimination (Convention 111,1958)
• Compliance with a minimum age for admission to employment or work of 15 years, or 13 for light work, with a minimum age for dangerous work of 18 years, or 16 under certain strict conditions (Convention 138, 1973).
• Elimination of the worst forms of child labour (Convention 182, 1999).

A list of the Conventions ratified by France is available on the ILO website.

Strong initiatives for the ILO’s centenary

In 2019, the 108th session of the International Labour Conference marked the ILO’s centenary. During the Conference and other events, France launched several strong initiatives to promote workers’ rights.

Policy coherence: the 2019 Social G7 during the French G7 Presidency

During the G7 Labour Ministers meeting of 6 and 7 June 2019, under the French G7 Presidency, the G7 members committed to joint action to reduce social inequalities in globalization. They called for greater multilateral cooperation to:
• Reduce social inequalities;
• Support universal access to social protection adapted to a changing world of work;
• Prepare individuals for digital transformations;
• Ensure occupational equality between men and women.

For the first time in G7 or G20 history, a tripartite declaration was also adopted between the G7 members and international labour and employers’ organizations to support the ILO’s work to reduce social inequalities.

The ILO Centenary Declaration: a human-centred approach

The ILO’s ambitious 2019 Centenary Declaration sets out the Organization’s future priorities in a changing world of work. The Declaration calls on all Member States to take action for a human-centred world of work.

Three priorities were identified:
• Investing in human potential;
• Investing in work institutions;
• Investing in decent work.

The Centenary Declaration also underlines the ILO’s means of action: the crucial role of social dialogue and of international labour standards in fostering social justice.

The fight against violence and harassment at work: Convention 190

ILO Convention 190 was adopted at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference (centenary session) in June 2019. It is the first international standard aimed at eradicating violence and harassment at work. It entered into force on 25 June 2021 and its ratification is a political priority for France, which made gender equality a great cause of the presidential term 2017-2022.

Eradicating child labour and forced labour: Alliance 8.7

Alliance 8.7 is named after the UN Sustainable Development Goal, for which ILO provides the secretariat. As an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country, France has chaired the initiative since 2019.

Alliance 8.7 has several aims: :

• Eradicating child labour by 2025;
• Ending forced labour;
• Eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking.

To find out more :
All ILO publications are available on its website, including the annual World Employment and Social Outlook report and the ILO’s overall report .
ILO website

October 2021