Subjects covered by International Labour Standards

"Ensuring the freedom of association and collective bargaining can go a long way toward promoting labour market efficiency and better economic performance. And there are obvious economic and social reasons for banning slavery and all forms of forced labour."
World Bank, 2004 (Note 1)

International labour standards respond to a growing number of needs and challenges faced by workers and employers in the global economy. This section presents the subjects covered by international labour standards and introduces some relevant conventions and recommendations. It also explains what problems exist in a particular field today and how international labour standards are helping to provide solutions. Finally, some case examples are highlighted where the application of international labour standards or of the principles they embody has made a positive contribution in a particular situation.


This section summarizes a selection of relevant ILO conventions and recommendations. The summaries are intended for information purposes and do not replace consultation of the authoritative text. Numerous other conventions and recommendations have not been summarized, even though many are relevant and in force. The complete list of ILO standards by subject and status may be consulted at the NORMLEX database or on the ILSE CD-ROM. The case examples were selected for illustrative purposes and are not intended to single out a specific country or situation.

Note 1 - World Bank: World Development Report, op. cit., p. 141.