EI attended the proceedings of the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards, at the 95th International Labour Conference of the ILO.
Three country cases were concluded with a special paragraph, which is a highly significant way of expressing the Committee’s serious concern: they were Burma concerning ILO Convention 29 on forced labour, Bangladesh on Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association, and Belarus, on the same conventions. Regarding Belarus, the Committee decided that the Governing Body would have to examine what further measures could be used under the ILO Constitution if the Government persisted in its determination to refuse implementing the recommendations of the ILO Commission of Inquiry.
Colombia has not been discussed at this year's Committee because a tripartite agreement had been reached on 2 June between Colombia’s government and the social partners (including the trade union centres CTC, CGT, CUT) on implementation of the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Other cases of special concern The Workers’ Group at the ILO also highlighted several more cases of extreme concern: Djibouti, in which the government dismantled the minimum wage while the national union’s leadership was being harassed and Zimbabwe, which not only rejected all the Workers' Group's comments concerning its deplorable record on Convention 87 but added insult to injury by verbally and physically intimidating workers delegates and an ILO official, an unacceptable occurrence which has now happened for the third year in a row.
The case of Iran(C111) also deserved special attention, in view of the near total lack of progress on essential issues of discrimination against women and religious minorities. Good conclusions were obtained in the case of Costa Rica, which was preceded by intense negotiations involving the country’s Government (including President Oscar Arias Sanchez, a guest of honour at the ILC), Employers and Workers.
A heated debate was organised about the Australian Government failure to comply with ILO Conventions 87 and 98 when reforming its labour legislation. Sharan Burrow, President of ACTU and former EI Vice-President, said Australia was a 'serial offender against ILO core standards'. The Committee requested the Government to engage in full and frank consultations with the representatives of employers and workers' organisations with respect to all the matters raised in the debate and to report back to the Committee of Experts.
The Workers' Group also called the attention of the Committee to the fact that the following countries could be discussed next year: Argentina(87 and 98); Japan(29); India(111); Paraguay(79-90 - footnote in CEACR report 2006); Luxemburg(68); Turkey(87-98) and Ethiopia (87).