The 332nd Session of the Governing Body which I attended March 12-22, 2018 just ended with a little bit of drama not often seen in the workings of the ILO. There were many important items discussed, namely, among others, the Standard Initiative, Agenda of the 2019 ILC, the cases in the CFA, the tobacco industry relationship with ILO and the UN System as it is relevant to the ILO. Let me share these items which are of interest to us in ACE:      

  1. The most controversial, and which put the ILO in a dilemma, was the implementation of a wage cut affecting the professional and certain level of ILO personnel in Geneva, pursuant to a decision issued by the International Civil Service Commission ( ICSC ), an agency under the UN System. The ICSC directive was based on a cost-of-living evaluation through a methodology that IL0 contested as being flawed, which resulted in the issue being thrown to the GB for debate and decision. After a contentious discussion, the Employers Group took the high ground and opposed the wage cut on legal and other grounds, which essentially argued there should be no diminution of benefits and that the 1946 agreement between ILO and the UN did not mean that every UN resolution is automatically applied to ILO, considering that ILO has a tripartite body with a tripartite decision making mechanism. It was a proud moment for the Employers Group because it was unanimously agreed it was the right thing to do. Since a decision was not made in the morning of March 22, 2018, the issue was finally resolved first thing that afternoon when many governments and the Workers Group supported the Director General’s recommendation to implement the wage cut. After that unfortunate decision, the ILO staff staged a strike and the GB Session adjourned.
  2. Since the GB adjourned because of the strike, important items could not anymore be taken up for decision, and would have to be calendared for the November, 2018 GB Session. Thus, (a) the Standard Initiative discussion was promising as the employers were making headway in introducing changes like obliging complainants under Article 24 to avail of conciliation services in the member state concerned;(b) there was a possibility of creating a Fund which can receive financial assistance from the tobacco industry, with emphasis on a mechanism of avoiding influence by the industry and (c ) introducing items in the 2019 ILC agenda that are important to employers, including a substantial work of reviewing ILO instruments with the objective of abrogating, denouncing, or consolidating them, to make the ILO in sync with the present and the beginning of its second centenary.

  ANCHETA K. TAN Deputy Member ILO Governing Body