The International Labour Conference (ILC) brings together Ministers with responsibility for Labour and other officials, including Worker and Employer representatives from member States of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). For the first time, the ILC was held virtually, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Trinidad and Tobago delegation to the 109 ILC was led by Minister of Labour, the Honourable Stephen Mc Clashie and included representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Tobago House of Assembly Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour as well as the Employers Consultative Association (ECA) and the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC).
Some key highlights from the ILC are as follows:
- Recognising the significant impacts of the pandemic on employment, the ILC adopted a Resolution entitled A global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
- The ILO Programme and Budget for 2022-23, as well as the ILO Financial Statements for 2019 and 2021 were adopted.
- The Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) considered the application of international labour instruments (Conventions and Recommendations) by member States at the national level. In particular, individual cases for nineteen (19) countries were also discussed.
- A recurrent discussion on the strategic objective of Social Protection is underway at the level of the ILC. This issue was previously discussed at the ILC in 2011 and 2016. This year’s discussion proved to be timely as the pandemic has highlighted the importance of robust social protection measures.
- Twenty-nine international labour instruments which have deemed to be outdated were abrogated or withdrawn.
- In commemoration of World Day Against Child Labour, a High-level side event was held during the Conference Plenary on 10 June, 2021 on the issue of child labour. Importantly, newly released ILO-UNICEF global estimates and trends on child labour were presented.
- As part of the World of Work Summit (17-18 June, 2021) several global leaders addressed the Conference including His Holiness Pope Francis and President Biden. On the second day of the summit, a high-level panel discussion was held where several Labour Ministers, as well as Worker and Employer representatives representing various regions discussed matters related to the impact of the pandemic on the World of Work.
- Elections for Governing Body (GB) of the ILO were held during this year’s ILC. Government, Employer and Worker representatives were elected for the 2021-2024 term of the GB, which is the decision making body of the ILO. Barbados and Cuba were elected as the Government members for the Caribbean.
- The ILC adopted a Resolution calling for a return to democracy and respect for fundamental rights in Myanmar.
- The 109 ILC will be reconvened from 15 November to 11 December 2021 to consider two (2) Agenda Items on Skills/Lifelong Learning and Inequality.