Labour Standards

  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

ILOThe four labour principles of the Global Compact are taken from the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The Declaration calls upon all ILO Member States to apply the principles in line with the original intent of the core Conventions on which it is based.

A universal consensus now exists that all countries, regardless of level of economic development, cultural values, or ratifications of the relevant ILO Conventions, have an obligation to respect, promote, and realize these fundamental principles and rights. The aim of the ILO is to harness the support of the business community for these principles through the Global Compact.

The labour principles deal with fundamental principles in the workplace and the challenge for business is to take these universally accepted values and apply them at the company level.

For further information and guidance on labour issues, please visit the following:

Global Compact Working Group

In May 2008, a Global Compact Labour Working Group was established under the auspices of the Global Compact Board. It is jointly chaired by Antonio Penalosa of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Philip Jennings of UNI Global Union.

ILO Help Desk

The ILO Helpdesk is a service from the International Labour Office that provides a one-stop-shop to help company managers and workers understand the application of international labour standards. Replies are prepared by a multi-disciplinary team, ensuring that users receive a comprehensive response. To submit a question to the Helpdesk, send an email

Webinar Series

The International Labour Office and the Global Compact Office have established a Webinar Series on specific labour topics. Each webinar is conducted by ILO experts and engages participants with practical guidance and relevant tools and resources for advancing the labour principles. Subscribe to the Monthly Bulletin to receive news on participating in upcoming webinars. Participants may also visit the ILO Helpdesk for Business for information and assistance on additional labour topics.

Global Framework Agreements

A global framework agreement can be an effective tool to advance the implementation of the Global Compact labour principles and improve industrial relations. Also referred to as an international framework agreement, it is “an instrument negotiated between a multinational enterprise and a Global Union Federation (GUF) in order to establish an ongoing relationship between the parties and ensure that the company respects the same standards in all the countries where it operates” (ILO Press Release, 2007).

These agreements benefit both companies and employees by providing a common platform for addressing the Global Compact labour principles at the company level and within the context of national and international law. In addition, many agreements incorporate principles from other international conventions. For a list of companies who have signed onto such agreements and further information, click here.

Guidance Materials

Guidance Materials on all the pertinent issues can be found here.


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