ILO Conventions ratified by the Nordic Countries in the period 1980–2016

In the beginning of the 1990´s, employers and conservative governments questioned more and more the standard-setting system of the ILO. This trend was also advancing through the Nordic countries. The general argument was that there was a decline in the number of ratifications of new ILO Conventions, which in itself showed that the ILOs system of standard-setting was more or less outdated. In order to be able to take part in this debate, it has been important to carry out a Nordic study from a trade union point of view. Therefore, the Nordic ILO group has observed the scope of ratifications of the ILO Conventions adopted in the Nordic countries during 1980-2016.  
 
This Nordic Report is based on reports from the Nordic trade unions reflecting the discussions in national ILO committees and the statistical material from the ILO. The review shows which conventions have been ratified by the Nordic countries. The comments show which conventions have caused ratification problems and analyses the reasons why the conventions have not been ratified. 
 
This present study is an update of earlier studies in 1998, 2001 and 2008. The aim of this report is to find out more information about the reasons and arguments used against ratifying certain ILO Conventions and encourage a national discussion within the Nordic countries to proceed with the non-ratified ILO Conventions. The process should hopefully lead to new ratifications in the future.

ILO Conventions and Recommendations

International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO's constituents (governments, employers and workers) and setting out basic principles and rights at work. They are either conventions, which are legally binding international treaties that may be ratified by member states, or recommendations, which serve as non-binding guidelines. In many cases, a convention lays down the basic principles to be implemented by ratifying countries, while a related recommendation supplements the convention by providing more detailed guidelines on how it could be applied. Recommendations can also be autonomous, i.e. not linked to any convention.

Find out more about ILO Conventions