Labour and Social Affairs

Internation Labour Organization Enlarge image Internation Labour Organization (© StV-AT)

The ILO is one of the few specialised UN system organisations older than the UN itself. Created in 1919 in the framework of the Treaty of Versailles, it took up its work in Geneva in 1920.

After the USA and Japan, Germany is one of ILO’s largest contributors to the compulsory contributions and also makes voluntary contributions to technical cooperation programmes and projects. The aim of the German commitment is to support the ILO’s efforts to strengthen the social dimension of globalisation and to create decent work for all. Germany supports the ILO in particular in implementing the development goals of the Agenda 2030, in promoting sustainable global supply chains and in the area of labour migration. Between June 2016 and June 2017, Germany held the chairmanship of the Governing Body.

A major challenge for the ILO in its second century of existence is to shape the future of work. Today, the focus is already on questions concerning the development of a humane, environmentally friendly and digitized working world.

In ILO’s history, much has been achieved: Fundamental employment rights (freedom of association, collective bargaining), reduction of working hours, maternity protection, laws against child labour and against compulsory labour.

As an international tripartite forum of governments, employers’ organisations and trade unions, the ILO is unique in the UN family. Its four strategic objectives are:

  • The promotion and implementation of fundamental principles and rights in the workplace
  • The creation of decent employment opportunities for men and woman
  • The extension and improved effectiveness of social security for all
  • The strengthening of the cooperation between employers, workers’ and government representatives in the context of social dialogue

Social dialogue has a rich tradition in Germany. The model of the social market economy contains freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining as essential elements. These are key prerequisites for a functioning social partnership. Against the backdrop of many years of experience and positive results of a fair social dialogue, Germany has a special interest in promoting the concept of tripartism in the world of work internationally and in conducting dialogue in Geneva.

The Social Affairs Department of the Permanent Mission maintains contact with the ILO as well as the international umbrella organisations of the social partners ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) and the IOE (International Organisation of Employers).