A Challenging Ménage À Trois? Tripartism in the International Labour Organization
'A Challenging Ménage à Trois? Tripartism in the International Labour Organization', International Organizations Law Review, vol. 12, 2015 pp. 204-236, Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2015 Last revised: 14 Nov 2015
Date Written: February 1, 2015
This article explores one of the foundational features of the International Labour Organization (‘ILO’) – tripartism, or in other words, the fact that it is an institution that brings together representatives of Governments, Employers and Workers – in the light of recent events that have threatened the Organization’s smooth functioning. Disagreement over the interpretation of a convention within the ILO supervisory bodies has revealed the changing balance of power between Employers and Workers, and potentially signals a need to rethink the basis of tripartism. At the same time, however, tripartism is a fundamental distinguishing feature of the ILO, one that arguably sets it apart from other international bodies, and is essential to both the organization’s mission and the generation of international labour law more generally. This article re-visits the notion of tripartism, examines the problems that its practice within the ILO raises including with regard to issues of representativity and more recent disagreements, as well as the true significance of the current crisis of tripartism and its possible impact for the ILO and international labour law.
Keywords: International Labour Organization (ILO), tripartism, representativity, civil society, international organizations, supervisory mechanism, right to strike
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