Peace Treaty of Versailles (Articles 387 - 399: Labour) (28 June 1919)
ORGANISATION OF LABOUR.
Whereas the League of Nations has for its object the establishment
of universal peace, and such a peace can be established only if it
is based upon social justice;
And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice,
hardship, and privation to large numbers of people as to produce
unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are
imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently
required: as, for example, by the regulation of the hours of work,
including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the
regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment,
the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the
worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his
employment, the protection of children, young persons and women,
provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of
workers when employed in countries other than their own recognition
of the principle of freedom of association, the organisation of
vocational and technical education and other measures;
Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions
of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire
to improve the conditions in their own countries;
The HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES, moved by sentiments of justice and
humanity as well as by the desire to secure the permanent peace of
the world, agree to the following:
A permanent organisation is hereby established for the promotion of
the objects set forth in the Preamble.
The original Members of the League of Nations shall be the original
Members of this organisation, and hereafter membership of the
League of Nations shall carry with it membership of the said
The permanent organisation shall consist of:
(1) a General Conference of Representatives of the Members and,
(2) an International Labour Office controlled by the Governing Body
described in Article 393.
The meetings of the General Conference of Representatives of the
Members shall be held from time to time as occasion may require,
and at least once in every year. It shall be composed of four
Representatives of each of the Members, of whom two shall be
Government Delegates and the two others shall be Delegates
representing respectively the employers and the workpeople of each
of the Members.
Each Delegate may be accompanied by advisers, who shall not exceed
two in number for each item on the agenda of the meeting. When
questions specially affecting women are to be considered by the
Conference, one at least of the advisers should be a woman.
The members undertake to nominate non-Government Delegates and
advisers chosen in agreement with the industrial organisations, if
such organisations exist, which are most representative of
employers or workpeople, as the case may be, in their respective
Advisers shall not speak except on a request made by the Delegate
whom they accompany and by the special authorisation of the
President of the Conference, and may not vote.
A Delegate may by notice in writing addressed to the President
appoint one of his advisers to act as his deputy, and the adviser,
while so acting, shall be allowed to speak and vote.
The names of the Delegates and their advisers will be communicated
to the International Labour Office by the Government of each of the
The credentials of Delegates and their advisers shall be subject to
scrutiny by the Conference, which may, by two-thirds of the votes
cast by the Delegates present, refuse to admit any Delegate or
adviser whom it deems not to have been nominated in accordance with
Every Delegate shall be entitled to vote individually on all
matters which are taken into consideration by the Conference.
If one of the Members fails to nominate one of the nonGovernment
Delegates whom it is entitled to nominate, the other non-Government
Delegate shall be allowed to sit and speak at the Conference, but
not to vote.
If in accordance with Article 389 the Conference refuses admission
to a Delegate of one of the Members, the provisions of the present
Article shall apply as if that Delegate had not been nominated.
The meetings of the Conference shall be held at the seat of the
League of Nations, or at such other place as may be decided by the
Conference at a previous meeting by two-thirds of the votes cast by
the Delegates present.
The International Labour Office shall be established at the seat of
the League of Nations as part of the organisation of the League.
The International Labour Office shall be under the control of a
Governing Body consisting of twenty-four persons, appointed in
accordance with the following provisions:
The Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall be
constituted as follows:
Twelve persons representing the Governments;
Six persons elected by the Delegates to the Conference representing
Six persons elected by the Delegates to the Conference representing
Of the twelve persons representing the Governments eight shall be
nominated by the Members which are of the chief industrial
importance, and four shall be nominated by the Members selected for
the purpose by the Government Delegates to the Conference,
excluding the Delegates of the eight Members mentioned above.
Any question as to which are the Members of the chief industrial
importance shall be decided by the Council of the League of
The period of office of the Members of the Governing Body will be
three years. The method of filling vacancies and other similar
questions may be determined by the Governing Body subject to the
approval of the Conference.
The Governing Body shall, from time to time, elect one of its
members to act as its Chairman, shall regulate its own procedure
and shall fix its own times of meeting. A special meeting shall be
held if a written request to that effect is made by at least ten
members of the Governing Body.
There shall be a Director of the International Labour Office, who
shall be appointed by the Governing Body, and, subject to the
instructions of the Governing Body, shall be responsible for the
efficient conduct of the International Labour Office and for such
other duties as may be assigned to him.
The Director or his deputy shall attend all meetings of the
The staff of the International Labour Office shall be appointed by
the Director who shall, so far as is possible with due regard to
the efficiency of the work of the Office, select persons of
different nationalities A certain number of these persons shall be
The functions of the International Labour Office shall include the
collection and distribution of information on all subjects relating
to the international adjustment of conditions of industrial life
and labour, and particularly the examination of subjects which it
is proposed to bring before the Conference with a view to the
conclusion of international conventions, and the conduct of such
special investigations as may be ordered by the Conference.
It will prepare the agenda for the meetings of the Conference.
It will carry out the duties required of it by the provisions of
this Part of the present Treaty in connection with international
It will edit and publish in French and English, and in such other
languages as the Governing Body may think desirable, a periodical
paper dealing with problems of industry and employment of
Generally, in addition to the functions set out in this Article, it
shall have such other powers and duties as may be assigned to it by
The Government Departments of any of the Members which deal with
questions of industry and employment may communicate directly with
the Director through the Representative of their Government on the
Governing Body of the International Labour Office, or failing any
such Representative, through such other qualified official as the
Government may nominate for the purpose.
The International Labour Office shall be entitled to the assistance
of the Secretary-General of the League of Nations in any matter in
which it can be given.
Each of the Members will pay the travelling and subsistence
expenses of its Delegates and their advisers and of its
Representatives attending the meetings of the Conference or
Governing Body, as the case may be.
All the other expenses of the International Labour Office and of
the meetings of the Conference or Governing Body shall be paid to
the Director by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations out
of the general funds of the League.
The Director shall be responsible to the Secretary-General of the
League for the proper expenditure of all moneys paid to him in
pursuance of this Article.