Summer in Geneva

Hello from Geneva!

I started my internship with the International Labour Organization (ILO) at the beginning of this month. At ILO, I am interning with the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) branch and specifically in the Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (FA&CB) and Forced Labour teams.

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*This is a view from my office.

My branch focuses on four themes: FA&CB, Forced Labour, Child Labour and Non-discrimination. These themes cover all eight fundamental conventions at the ILO. To promote the freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, the ILO has adopted Conventions No.87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention) and No. 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention). Although 153 countries and 168 countries have ratified the conventions until June 2014 respectively, some of the countries with a large worker population like the U.S., China, and India, have not ratified these conventions yet.

Speaking of my internship, in addition to figuring out the structure of ILO and studying all supporting documents, such as the FA&CB Global Report, I was also assigned to research collective bargaining rights in China in the first two weeks of my internship. Before starting the internship, FA&CB rights in China sounds very nebulous to me because what I learned about Chinese workers’ rights was quite basic through some notorious cases. The research here helps me find that the workers’ awareness to collective bargaining is enhancing and government is making some notable effort, although it is an extremely slow legislative effort. In the meantime, a group of labor NGOs have made significant achievement to assist the large number of workers, especially the migrant workers to negotiate with the city arbitration committee and employers. The labor NGOs have become my new area to explore.

In the third week, my tasks started to involve with some of the ILO projects on promoting FA&CB rights in certain countries. One global project covering more than ten developing countries will start in July. As the donors from the US required quarterly technical progress reports, by the end of July, we have to submit four countries’ reports which will involve a significant amount of writing due to the different writing styles and formats in each country. The busier season is coming!

Fortunately, I came to ILO at the best time of the year. The 103rd session of International Labour Conference was held from May 28 till June 12 this year. I had the opportunities to attend several sessions regarding eliminating child labour and ILO’s tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy (MNE Declaration). I also eye witness a historical moment of adopting a new protocol to tackle modern forms of forced labor. This, again, is an interesting experience.

That’s all I have to say right now. I will update again later. Have a great weekend!

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*The picture above is the session I attended about fighting against child labor.

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*After adopting the new protocol on forced labor issues

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*The UN Secretary-General made a speech on youth employment this Wednesday at ILO.

 

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