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Friday, January 27, 2023

Centre nominated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh to International Labour Organisation meet unilaterally: APRM document 

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Taking cognisance of ten central trade unions (CTU) who complained to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director General Gilbert F. Houngbo that they were disallowed from attending the 17 th Asia Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the ILO, the APRM’s credentials committee asked the Centre to consult all stakeholders before taking a decision to send representatives to such tripartite forums. It was Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) who represented India’s workers at the APRM. The CTUs had alleged that the BMS was nominated by the government without any consultations.

The report of the credential committee said that ten CTUS further indicated that despite their repeated solicitations, the Centre facilitated the participation of only one union BMS— that was close to it. “In a written communication addressed to the Committee at its request, the Government explained that the BMS was the largest trade union in the country, with the highest-verified representation of all recognized trade unions. Therefore, in accordance with article 1(5) of the Rules of Regional Meetings, and in the spirit of giving voice to more workers, it nominated the Workers’ delegate and adviser from the BMS,” the report said.

Quoting the Centre’s explanation, the report said the government further stated that the invitation to the meeting had only specified one employers’ delegate and one worker’s delegate. “Had there been scope for more participants to be nominated, it would have been in a position to consider others as well,” it said citing the Centre’s reply.

The Committee observed that the government had unilaterally nominated the workers’ delegate and adviser from within the ranks of the BMS, which it considered to be the most representative workers’ organisation in the country, based on membership figures.

“The Committee notes that while considering the BMS as the most representative, the Government has not questioned the representativeness of the objecting organisations. In this regard, the Committee notes that article 1(5) of the Rules of Regional Meetings specifically foresees that several most representative organisations may exist in a given country. The Committee further recalls that according to the Advisory Opinion No. 1 of 1922 of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) and subsequent case law of the Credentials Committee of the International Labour Conference, where several most representative organizations exist in one country, the Government must, pursuant to the terms of article 3(5) of the ILO Constitution, which contains a similar obligation as regards nomination of non-Governmental delegates to the Conference, aim to effect an agreement among them,” the report said.

It said the employers’ and workers’ delegates represented all the employers and workers in a country, and not just their respective organisations. “Consequently, where several representative organisations exist, Governments must take them all into consideration and, ideally, proceed to the nomination of the non-Governmental delegates and advisers by common agreement,” the report said.

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