ILO Supervisory Mechanisms and 6 Cases from Fiji

By Ramapriya Gopalakirishnan (Chennai Advocate & Consultant)

ILO Supervisory Bodies

  • Supervisory bodies supervise the application of ILO standards.
  • Ensure that they are implemented in law as well as in practice.


Step One: Submission of Reports

  • Regular submission of reports on the applications of Conventions they have ratified.
  • For fundamental and priority/Governance Conventions, the Reports must be submitted every two years.
  • Governance Conventions – Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No.81), Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No.122), Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention, 1969 (No.129), Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No.144)
  • For other Conventions every five years.
  • Employers’ and workers’ organisations may send in observations on the application of ratified Conventions directly to the ILO.
  • They also have the right to give in their opinion on the government’s reports (Article 23(2)).

Step Two: Supervision by CEACR

  • CEACR – Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.
  • Established – 1926. Composition of the CEACR – 20 member expert body.
  • Impartial: Experts do not take part in deliberations relating to their country of origin.

Two types of Comments : Observations and Direct Requests

  • Observations : Difficulties in the application of a Convention / progress in implementing the Convention. Observations are published in the CEACR ‘s Annual Report.
  • Direct Requests : Directly addressed to the country concerned.
  • Purpose : To seek additional information / to draw attention to difficulties in applying the Convention.

Step Three : Supervision by the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards

  • CCAS consists of delegates to the ILC.
  • Examines the CEACR Report. Draws up a list of the most serious cases of violations of the Ratified Conventions.
  • Asks the concerned member state for its explanation.
  • Adopts conclusions on the observance of the Convention ratified and the measures to be taken.

General Surveys

  • Governing Body selects one or more subjects each year.
  • Report on the steps taken to give effect to a Convention and obstacles to it ratification.
  • Essential tool to understand and interpret the content of Conventions.


Committee on Freedom of Association

  • Established in 1951.
  • Tripartite Composition – Nine regular members and nine substitutes . Independent chairperson.
  • Meets thrice a year.
  • Examines complaints of violation of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Rights.

Other Unique Features

  • Can examine complaints irrespective of ratification of C 87 and C 98.
  • No requirement of exhaustion of national procedures.


  • Primarily based on the complaint and the reply of the concerned Government. If concerns an enterprise, will be forwaded to the enterprise for comments.
  • Oral testimony in certain circumstances.
  • Direct contact or on the spot visits to meet parties in certain cases.

Three Types of Reports

Final Report

  • Does not call for further examination/ appropriate measures to remedy the anomalies/ draw attention to important principles.

Interim Report

  • May ask for additional information/ take appropriate measures to remedy a particular situation.

Follow Up Report

  • Committee asks to be kept informed of developments on the case and measures to be taken.

CFA Reports are submitted to the Governing Body.

Legislative Aspects of the Case

  • If member state has ratified the Conventions and if the complaint involves legislative issues, it will notify the CEACR to examine the action taken on the concerned recommendations.



  • Case No. 892-1977-WFTU-President of FTUC arrested and imprisoned for participation in a strike.
  • Case No. 1379-1986-ICFTU-On behalf of its affiliate FTUC – imposition of a wage freeze based on the Counter Inflation (Renumeration) Act, unilateral fixation of the wage, withdrawal of the recognition of FTUC as the official representative of trade unions and organised labour.
  • Case No. 1425-1987-International Union of Food and Allied Workers. ICFTU-similar complaint – General Secretary of General Union of Factory and Commercial Workers of Fiji detained – preventive detention.
  • Case No. 2723-2009-Education International and Fijian Teachers Association, acts of anti-union discrimination, harassment and interference.
  • 2011 – new allegations-assault, harassment, intimidation and arrest of trade unionists, Public Emergency Regulations, Trade Disputes Decree 2009, Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree 2011 and other decrees.



  • May be made in respect of a Convention ratified by the country in question.
  • May be made by an industrial association of employers, whether local, national or international.
  • Examination of complaint and government’s reply by ad hoc tripartite committee appointed by the Governing Body. Can hear them if necessary.
  • Decides on whether or not the violations took place and the measures that could be taken to remedy violation.
  • Its conclusions and recommendations need to be approved by the Governing Body.
  • Failure by the country concerned to implement the recommendations of the Committee may lead to the appointment by the Governing Body of a Commission of Inquiry under Article 26 of the ILO Constitution.


  • May be lodged by a member state that has ratified the Convention.
  • By any delegate to the ILC.
  • By the Governing Body on its own initiative.


  • Commission of Inquiry appointed if complaint accepted by the Governing Body.
  • Independent members.
  • Procedure: examines written submissions, hears the parties and missions by the Commission to the country concerned.
  • Draws up Report determining whether there is a violation of a Convention and makes necessary recommendations.
  • Will specify the time frame within which the country concerned should take the necessary steps.
  • If the concerned country fails to act upon the recommendations within the time specified, as per Article 33 of the Constitution of the ILO, the Governing Body may recommend to the ILC such action as it considers necessary to secure compliance therewith.