International Labour Organization


Flag of ILOThe International Labour Organization was created in 1919 by Part XIII of the Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I. It grew out of nineteenth-century labor and social movements which culminated in widespread demands for social justice and higher living standards for the world's working people. In 1946, after the demise of the League of Nations, the ILO became the first specialized agency associated with the United Nations. The original membership of forty-five countries in 1919 has grown to 183 in 2010.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues.


In promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, the organization continues to pursue its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent jobs and the kinds of economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress.


In structure, the ILO is unique among world organizations in that the representatives of the workers and of the employers have an equal voice with those of governments in formulating its policies. The annual International Labor Conference, the ILO's supreme deliberative body, is composed of four representatives from each member country: two government delegates, one worker and one employer delegate, each of whom may speak and vote independently. Between conferences, the work of the ILO is guided by the Governing Body, comprising twenty-four government, twelve worker and twelve employer members, plus twelve deputy members from each of these three groups. The International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Organization's secretariat, operational headquarters, research center, and publishing house. Its operations are staffed at headquarters and around the world by more than 1.900 people of some 110 nationalities. Activities are decentralized to regional, area, and branch offices in over forty countries.


ILO director-general David Morse receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Oslo, Norway, 10 December 1969In 1969 on the occasion of ILO's 50th anniversary, the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Prize was accepted by director-general David Morse.


Part of the ILO is the International Training Centre in Turin, Italy.





The official ILO website.

Flag of ILO in Flags of the World.

Documents and speeches from the 1969 Nobel Peace Prize presentation.

Article on ILO in Wikipedia.



Related subjects


ILO 50th anniversary

ILO 75th anniversary


ILO meeting, Berlin (1927)

ILO governing Body meeting, Brussels (1930)



Related persons


Baers, Maria

Brunfaut, Emilienne



Catalogue - general issues


Belgium                                                  17 April 1958



Catalogue - International Labour Office meeting, Berlin (1927)


Germany                                                 15 October 1927



Catalogue - 50th ILO Governing Body meeting, Brussels (1930)


Belgium                                                  6 October 1930



Catalogue - International Labour Exhibition, Turin (1961)


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics              24 may 1961









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last revised: 16 January 2011