The ILO is based on the principle of tripartism - dialogue and cooperation between governments, employers, and workers - in the formulation of standards and policies dealing with labour matters. International labour standards are created and supervised through a tripartite structure that makes the ILO unique in the United Nations system. The tripartite approach to adopting standards ensures that they have broad support from all ILO constituents.
Tripartism with regard to ILO standards is also important at the national level. Through regular tripartite consultations, governments can ensure that ILO standards are formulated, applied and supervised with the participation of employers and workers. ILO standards on tripartite consultation set forth the framework for effective national tripartite consultations. Such consultations can ensure greater cooperation among the social partners and stronger awareness and participation in matters relating to international labour standards, and can lead to better governance and a greater culture of social dialogue on wider social and economic issues.
Because of the importance of tripartism, the ILO has made the ratification and implementation of the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144) a priority. Furthermore, the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice For a Fair Globalization has stressed the key role of this instrument (together with the other three Governance (priority) Conventions – Nos 81, 122 and 129) from the viewpoint of governance.
Selected relevant ILO instruments
- Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144) - [ratifications]
This governance convention sets forth the meaning of "representative organizations" of employers and workers and requires ratifying states to operate procedures that ensure effective consultations between representatives of the government, of employers and of workers on matters regarding items on the agenda of the International Labour Conference, submissions to competent national authorities of newly adopted ILO standards, re-examination of unratified conventions and recommendations, reports on ratified conventions, and proposals for denunciations of ratified conventions. Employers and workers shall be represented on an equal footing on any bodies through which consultations are undertaken, and consultations shall take place at least once every year.
- Further relevant instruments
General Survey concerning the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144) and the Tripartite Consultation (Activities of the International Labour Organisation) Recommendation, 1976 (No. 152)
Tripartite consultation regarding international labour standards and other ILO activities - ILO Convention No. 144 and Recommendation No. 152