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111th International Labour Conference

International Labour Conference adopts new apprenticeship standard, among other key decisions

The International Labour Conference closed with the adoption of a new recommendation on quality apprenticeships. Delegates also passed resolutions on a just transition and labour protection, as well as adopting the standards report and the programme and budget, and a resolution on Belarus.

Press release | 16 June 2023

GENEVA (ILO News) – Delegates attending the 111th International Labour Conference (ILC) have adopted a new Recommendation on Quality Apprenticeships.

The new labour standard aims to support “opportunities for people of all ages to skill, reskill and upskill continuously” in rapidly changing labour markets. It provides a clear definition of apprenticeships, specifies aspirational standards for quality apprenticeships, including rights and protection for apprentices.

The conclusions of the General Discussion Committee on a Just Transition were adopted. They stressed the imperative need to advance a just transition to achieve social justice, eradicate poverty and support decent work. Delegates endorsed the ILO Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies as a basis for action and the central reference for policymaking.

Delegates adopted the conclusions of the Recurrent Discussion Committee on Labour Protection. The adopted resolution charts a way forward towards more inclusive, adequate and effective labour protection for all workers, and creates a basis for developing a plan of action.

The Conference adopted a resolution on Belarus, under Article 33 of the ILO Constitution. The resolution aims to secure compliance by the Government of Belarus with the recommendations of an ILO Commission of Inquiry, which examined the observance by the Government of Belarus of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).

The plenary sitting approved the report of the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAN), which is a core supervisory body of the ILO’s standards system. The CAS examined 24 individual country cases related to the observance of ILO Conventions.

It considered the Committee of Experts’ General Survey on Achieving gender equality at work. In their Outcome of the discussion, the tripartite members of the Committee highlighted the urgent need to eliminate all forms of discrimination in employment and occupation, guarantee full and effective maternity protection and ensure the right of workers with family responsibilities to engage in employment.

During the Conference, 13 ratifications of International Labour Conventions were registered, mainly in respect of the recently adopted convention against violence and harassment in the world of work (C190) and conventions concerning occupational and safety and health.

The Conference adopted the ILO Programme and Budget for 2024/25. The document and resolution reaffirmed the commitment expressed by all the ILO’s tripartite constituents to “combat all forms of discrimination and exclusion on any ground for the benefit of all”, while recognizing the “different positions expressed on some issues”.

Sixteen Heads of State and Government, as well as representatives of other UN and multilateral bodies and workers and employers organizations, attended a high-level World of Work Summit, held between 14 and 15 June under the theme of “Social Justice for All”. Participants discussed a range of social justice issues including the proposal for a Global Coalition for Social Justice. High level panels looked at inequalities and informality, creating equal opportunities, lifelong learning and skills development, social protection, and the ways to advance trade, sustainable development, and human and labour rights.

On 12 June the conference marked World Day Against Child Labour. At a time when child labour rates are increasing, ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, called on the international community to support greater social justice and step up the fight against child labour.

Speaking at the ILC closing ceremony, Director-General Houngbo, told delegates, “You should be proud of what you have accomplished. Your commitment to the mandate of the ILO, your skilled negotiations, your careful diplomacy, resulted in the adoption of several significant documents at this Conference.”

“As we continue the ILO’s long journey to fulfil its mandate, we heard resounding and unequivocal support for a Global Coalition for Social Justice. Heads of State, Ministers of Labour and leaders of employers’ and workers’ organizations recognized the Global Coalition as an initiative that is timely and essential. We must now build on this momentum,” he said.

The 111th International Labour Conference, was attended by around 5,000 delegates representing governments, workers and employers from the ILO’s 187 Member States. The Conference was held from 5 – 16 June 2023, at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva.