The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has assumed the position of the Vice President of the Government Group, having been elected at the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference held from May 28 to June 8, 2018 in Geneva, while Azerbaijan is the current President.
Nigeria is expected to take over the Presidency of the Government Group at the 108th session of the ILC in June 2019.
Ngige also addressed the 334th session of the Governing Body of the ILO on behalf of the region on the Report of the Director-General – Second Supplementary Report on the Composition of the Governing Body – Update on the status of ratification of the 1986 instrument for the amendment of the Constitution of the ILO.
It will be recalled that in 1986, the ILC adopted an instrument of amendment proposing changes that affected 11 of the 40 articles within the constitution of the ILO.
The amendment addressed three main areas, namely the composition and governance of the Governing Body of the Office, the procedure for appointment of the Director-General and the rules governing how the constitution may be amended.
The principal aim of the proposed amendment was to make the membership of the GB more representative by providing a means of appointment of its members taking into account the various geographic, economic and social interests of its constituents groups.
If the 1986 amendment enters into force, the number of members of the Governing Body under the constitution will increase from 56 to 112 – and the manner of their allocation will also be affected.
Of the 112 seats, 56 would be allocated to government representatives and 28 each to employers’ and workers’ representatives.
There will no longer be non-elective seats reserved for the 10 member states of chief industrial importance: Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States of America).
Of the 56 seats reserved for government, 54 would be distributed among the four geographic regions – Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe – with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 15 seats for each region.
The ILO had engaged in promotional campaign to encourage member states to ratify this instrument over the last three decades.
As at September 4, 2018, the number of ratification stood at 108, including two members of the chief industrial importance: India and Italy), while 17 ratification or acceptance, including at least three members of the chief industrial importance, are required to meet the threshold for coming into force of this amendment.
Ngige called on the Governing Body to supplement its promotional campaign effort with a renewed mandate to the Director-General if the amendment is expected to take effect.
He encouraged/urged member states who are yet to ratify the instrument to do so without further delay in the spirit of the forthcoming centenary celebration of the ILO in 2019.
He also requested that in addition to the above, the ILO should constructively engage at the highest political level with Heads of Government of the Members of Industrial Importance and Africa to explore alternate opportunities and options to achieve a speedier ratification.