International Labour Affairs

Social stability, social dialogue and improved sharing of the opportunities offered by globalisation

Open markets and societies are essential for ensuring prosperity and democracy. Globalisation brings change, creating situations where not all are able to benefit from greater prosperity. That is why social protection is needed to allow all sections of society to make the most of the opportunities offered by globalisation. Supporting the social dimension of globalisation at international level is the task of the International Labour Affairs Unit.

We represent Switzerland in the International Labour Organization (ILO), the only tripartite institution of the United Nations. The ILO is therefore entrusted with the task of promoting social justice and preserving human rights in the world of work. Its primary tasks are to promote labour rights, support the creation of dignity in work, further develop social protection and to encourage social dialogue in the search for solutions to deal with the problems of the world of work. We draw up the reports relating to the legal and practical implementation of the ILO treaties which have been ratified by Switzerland and organise the work of the tripartite federal commission on ILO affairs.

In terms of a coherent foreign policy, we promote compliance with the fundamental labour standards – on the one side within other international organisations (e.g. the UN, Bretton-Woods institutions, the WTO) and on the other side through the introduction of the new model provisions on “trade and sustainable development” formulated by the EFTA within the framework of bilateral and regional trade agreements. Through economic development cooperation programmes we have a global commitment to dignity in work. The aim of these programmes is to make a contribution towards respecting employee rights, promoting sustainable enterprises, growth in employment and reducing poverty by gradually developing a base for social protection.

We monitor the compliance with the criteria for socially acceptable manufacturing conditions; for example, under the corresponding act, fuels from renewable resources in particular are exempt from the duty on mineral oil. Last but not least, we are responsible for reporting on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Covenant I).

Last modification 04.02.2016

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