Governance and Tripartism Department

Report on the Rapid Assessment Survey: The Response of Labour Dispute Resolution Mechanisms to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ILO developed and conducted a Survey to assess how labour dispute resolution mechanisms have responded to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Survey was answered online from June 2021 to August 2021 by 113 institutions from 84 countries, focusing on possible changes in the volume of labour disputes and different types of restrictions to their functioning by the pandemic.

The results of the Survey showed that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on labour dispute resolution institutions was perceived unevenly in different regions or even within the same region. Although most of the institutions remained open, either partially or fully, the continuation of services was somehow disrupted, which may have had a negative impact on access to labour justice.

The results also showed that other measures adopted by the institutions to deal with the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic include changes in the number of facilities and personnel available, enhancement of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and changes in their procedural rules, especially in respect to the enforcement of decisions and awards.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that increased efforts are required to improve the inclusiveness of legal institutional frameworks for labour relations and emphasized that crisis responses need to ensure a strategic approach that includes developing the capacity of governments and work institutions. The overall results of the Survey showed that challenges imposed by the pandemic on labour dispute resolution institutions must be addressed considering key principles of good governance in relation to broad accessibility, equity and inclusiveness, efficiency of institutions and effectiveness of their procedures, considering a more humancentred approach.