Strengthening Labour Inspection Services

This Norwegian funded programme will contribute to the long-term socio-economic development of participating countries by strengthening enforcement and implementation capacities in the field of labour, improving compliance with labour legislation, and thus, rendering labour inspection more responsive towards the objective to promote social justice and Decent Work, empowering it to address current challenges.

The Norwegian funded, ILO implemented, programme is aimed at the promotion of a sound labour enforcement machinery as part of a viable labour administration system has been widely recognised in recent years as a prerequisite for the promotion of the Decent Work Agenda. From an international labour standards viewpoint, the Labour Inspection Convention 1947 (No. 81), the Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention 1969 (No. 129), the Labour Administration, 1978 (No. 150) and their accompanying Recommendations, highlight and describe the role of labour inspection as an essential component of a labour administration system.

This project covers five countries – Angola, Brazil, China, India and South Africa – and is funded by the Government of Norway. The overall strategy of the Project is to assist the beneficiaries in their efforts to strengthen and modernise their labour enforcement machinery, building on earlier advice given and reforms already envisaged, to help them to enhance their overall effectiveness and impact. Perceiving labour inspection as an integrated concept and prerequisite for the implementation and evaluation of national labour policies, the ILO will continuously accompany the governments in their effort aiming at strengthening their enforcement bodies in monitoring and implementing labour legislation as a means of viable labour policies. Besides activities with the Government of India, Ministry of Labour & Employment, the other principal project partners currently identified are the State Labour Departments of Maharashtra and Bihar and the two organizations under the Central Ministry of Labour – The Directorate General of Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes, Mumbai and the Directorate General of Mines Safety, Dhanbad.

India has a complex labour administration system in which a variety of labour inspectorates ensure compliance of more than 150 laws at both the central and provincial (state) levels. The challenges of the system as well as potential ways to strengthen compliance were analysed during the Seminar on Comparative Systems of Labour Law enforcement organised by the ILO and the Ministry of Labour and Employment in October 2008, activity followed by a training programme for labour enforcement officers. Recognising that labour inspection can be a good instrument for social changes and economic development, participants identified a number of areas for further action, including good governance and the involvement of the social partners on labour law compliance.

These areas of work are reflected in the DWCP-India agreed by the tripartite constituents and by country priority outcome, which targets the strengthening of India’s labour administration system.