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The International Labour Organisation: 100 years 1919-2019

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was established in 1919 based on the premise that social justice is a condition for lasting peace. On February 2019 the ILO celebrated its 100th anniversary with an international symposium to consider the future of the ILO.

Yvonne Erkens and Paul van der Heijden
18 June 2019

Following the symposium Paul van der Heijden, Professor of International Labour Law and former chairman of the Freedom of Association of the ILO, and Yvonne Erkens, Associate Professor, both affiliated to  the Department of Labour Law at Leiden Law School, have edited a collection that is publishedin the Netherlands Employment Law Association series. It contains contributions on the theme of the centenary celebration: the future of work and the future of the ILO.

With an increasing number of flex workers at the lower end of the labour market, ongoing globalisation and the rise of new types of work such as platform work or self- employed workers without employees (referred to in Dutch as "zzp-ers"), there is a great deal of interest concerning the future of work. What can we expect - and more importantly, what should we expect? The ILO has proven its worth as an international organisation. Almost all countries in the world are members and a substantial number of its Conventions have been ratified. One of the challenges in the coming century will be the relationship between the ILO and multinational corporations who hold a dominant position in global supply chains. Another challenge, partly against this background, is the supervisory mechanism of the ILO. Is it time for a "global social label" or the establishment of an international labour inspectorate?

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