Essays on the International Labour Organization and Its Impact on the World During the Twentieth Century
Edited By Jasmien Van Daele, Magaly Rodriguez Garcia and Geert van Goethem
9 “Special Circumstances” in Geneva: The ILO and the World of Non-Metropolitan Labour in the Interwar Years 221
8=6EI:G “Special Circumstances” in Geneva: The >AD and the World of Non-Metropolitan Labour in the Interwar Years Susan Zimmermann* The foundation of the International Labour Organization (>AD) in was seen as a historic breakthrough by most of the groups and organiza- tions that had campaigned at the national and international level, often for decades, for the establishment of social-policy and labour-policy regula- tion. The political and institutional importance of the >AD seemed guar- anteed by its close connection with the newly formed League of Nations, the first international organization set up between states on a permanent basis and with a broad mandate, and by the tripartite organizational struc- ture that guaranteed the representation of the interests of workers, govern- ments, and employers. For many who saw themselves as representatives of working-class interests and champions of international social legisla- tion, the combination of these two factors, irrespective of the compromises that were involved from the start in the foundation of the >AD, definitively amounted to “the beginning of a new process”. The covenant of the League of Nations already contained the funda- mental obligation that the members “will endeavour to secure and main- tain fair and humane conditions of labour for men, women, and children, both in their own countries and in all countries to which their commercial * The staff of the Cluster–Bibliothek of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Labour in Vienna, who handled the library’s comprehensive >AD collection until , as well as the staff of the...
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