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Course Description



The Programme for Workers' Activities of the International Training Centre of the ILO (ACTRAV - Turin) is an integral part of the Bureau for Workers' Activities based at the ILO Geneva. It has the specific task of assisting trade unions in strengthening their training capacity through a series of training provided at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, in the field and through distance/online education. For more information on the ACTRAV Turin Programme please refer to section 13.




This training course, on labour administration and labour inspection, concentrates on the training needs of trade unions of East Africa Community. The course is intended to equip leaders of national trade union centres and the East African Trade Union Confederation who are responsible for issues of labour inspection and occupational safety and health with knowledge and skills that would enable them discharge their functions well. The course is scheduled for the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, Kenya from 4 to 8 April 2011.


Labour inspection has been one of the primary concerns for the ILO since the Organization was founded over 90 years ago. The ILO helps to establish efficient and effective labour inspection systems in member States to ensure compliance with labour protection laws. The ILO also helps to involve employers and workers in the efforts of labour inspection services, and to strengthen existing links between labour inspectorates and the competent bodies concerned with the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases. The aim is to combat illegal employment and prevent labour laws violations in areas such as industrial relations, general conditions of work, the fight against child labour and forced labour, occupational safety and health.


In 1919, at the very first International Labour Conference (ILC), an international labour standard on labour inspection was adopted in the form of a Recommendation. Subsequent ILCs continued to debate standards, culminating in the 1947 adoption of the fundamental instrument on this subject, Labour Inspection Convention (No. 81). This Convention has been widely ratified by African countries and constitutes the bedrock of their legislation concerning Labour Inspection.


However, most of the national labour laws are limited in scope as there are still many workers who are not afforded protection by law concerning wages, working time, safety and health. This especially affects those who work in the informal economy, migrant, casual and temporary workers in the agriculture and construction sectors, small and micro enterprises, domestic workers and home-based workers. Because they often fall outside the scope of the law, such enterprises and workers are also outside the mandate of the labour inspection services. Moreover, even where the law does provide a broad coverage, labour inspectorates very often lack the resources to visit such workplaces regularly – if at all, and workers rarely ever see an inspector.


With the emergence of new types and patterns of work, new technologies, methods for production, work organization and tough pressure for competition in the globalization process, a number of challenges, which directly affects working conditions, safety and health are becoming more and more visible and have made labour inspection extremely important.


Altogether, changes in the labour market such as shorter or longer working hours; increased in atypical or precarious work relationships; employees working for several employers at once; the down grading of jobs; new forms of subcontracting and their impact on traditional concepts of labour inspection; insecurity of employment, leading to increased stress and reduced solidarity among employees have increased the need to ensure safer working environment, and demand for stronger and collaborative intervention and control by States.


The existence of an efficient labour inspectorate is the surest guarantee that national and international labour standards are complied with not only in law but also in fact. The purpose of labour inspection is to see to it that the greatest possible number of problems relating to the protection of workers are solved at the workplace, as a first result, first and foremost, of dialogue and consultation between actors directly involved (employers and workers), and with the advice of the labour inspector, regarding compliance with legislation, minimum standards and the terms of any collective inspection systems. In the world of work, labour inspection is the most important instrument of State presence and intervention to design, stimulate, and contribute to the development of a culture of prevention covering all aspects potentially under its purview: industrial relations, wages, general conditions of work, occupational safety and health, and issues related to employment and social security.


Workers representatives that are concern with issues of labour inspection should have the technical competence to broadly analyse, understand and respond to the diverse forces driving economic, social, ecological and technological change and their impact on working conditions, workers’ safety and health and how to overturn them by using labour inspection as tool for intervention. This course, it hoped, will be a major step towards a realization of this vision.     




This course is aimed at building the capacity of trade unions to:


  • Enable participants to develop the technical competence to broadly analyse, understand and respond to the diverse forces driving economic, social, ecological and technological changes and their impact on working conditions, workers’ safety and health and how to overcome them through labour inspection.




  • Provide an overview of the principles, practices and challenges of labour inspection and labour.


  • Raise awareness about ILO Conventions and Recommendations concerning labour inspection and labour administration.


  • Discuss the labour laws and labour inspection system of East Africa Community.


  • Describe the main issues concerning key working conditions and discuss the situation and trends on employment relationship in countries represented on the course. 
  • Provide information on how to promote occupational safety and health and strategies and ensure compliance with the labour inspectorate regulation.


  • Think about various approaches in promoting the concerns of vulnerable groups of workers in the labour inspection.


  • Develop strategies for mainstreaming gender equality in labour administration and labour inspection.


  • Understand the importance of cooperation and partnership and describe different modalities for promoting tripartism and collaboration with social partners at different levels.


  • Develop national Action Plans on union priorities and actions aimed at achieving occupational safety and health, better industrial relations, improved working conditions, the eradication of child labour and forced labour, etc.  




The course will comprise the following sessions:


Session 1: Getting to know one another and Course orientation


This ice-breaker session will afford participants an opportunity to introduce themselves, state their expectations from the workshop. Also, they will and adopt the course objectives and programme. 


Session 2: Introduction to labour administration and labour inspection


This session will provide a bird’s eye view of labour administration and labour inspection in terms of meaning, principle, purpose, scope, practice and challenges.


Session 3: Review of Country Situation


Each national delegation is expected to bring a country report. These reports will form the basis of discussion during this session. Cross-cutting issues and challenges identified from the reports will be discussed.


Session 4: The ILO Conventions and Recommendations of relevance to labour inspection.


Participants will study international labour standards of relevance to labour administration and labour inspection during this session. Special emphasis will be placed on Convention No. 81, which constitutes the bedrock of the rules being applied in many African countries in the area of labour inspection.


Session 5: Overview of the state of knowledge and trends on labour laws and systems of labour inspection in East Africa Community.


During this session, participants will through a panel debate take a critical look at the evolution of labour laws and labour inspection systems in East Africa. The proposed harmonized labour laws of East Africa Community will be diagnosed with a view to identifying its strengths and weaknesses in relation to labour inspection and its potential effectiveness as a instrument for realizing decent work The non-panelist participants will be given a chance to get involve in the debate by asking questions and/or making contributions where deemed necessary.


Session 6: Inspection of working conditions


The session will focus on what constitutes working conditions. The effects of globalization on working conditions and the role of labour legislation in ameliorating the situation will be discussed. Highlights of basic realities and facts about working conditions and the role of trade unions in labour inspection will be examined. This, it hoped will stimulate experience sharing among the participants concerning working conditions and employment relationships in their respective countries.


Session 7: Promoting occupational safety and health at work 


The session will among other things underscore the importance and safety and health in the workplace. The issue of accident in terms of meaning, types, causes and investigation procedure as well as approaches to effective safety management and responsibilities and rights of employers and workers will be discussed. 


Session 8: Gender mainstreaming in labour administration and labour inspection


The concept of gender mainstreaming will be defined and the factors contributing to inequality between men and women will be critically reviewed during the session. Also, the inequality gap between men and women in labour administration and labour inspection will be discussed and practical steps for remedying gender inequality in labour administration and labour inspection in East Africa will be proposed for the consideration of trade union leaders and for onward lobbying with employers’ organisations and governments of the member States of EAC.


Session 9: Some initiatives for promoting compliance


During this session, light will be shed on promotion, awareness raising and advocacy campaigns, participation, knowledge development, management and dissemination; contractual requirement, workplace audits, incentives and influencing the informal economy and other hard-to-reach groups as initiatives for promoting compliance.


Session 10: Dealing with vulnerable groups of workers


The plight of various categories of groups within the world of work who are exposed to vulnerability will be discussed during this session including indicators of vulnerability, the labour exploitation continuum, common features of vulnerable workers, vulnerability factors, who is most vulnerable, what can trade unions do, why should employers be concerned, location of risks for business, and strategies for curbing vulnerability in the world of work.


Session 11: Social dialogue and tripartism: modalities for effective labour inspection


The session will focus on the meaning of social dialogue, tripartism and bipartism; the aims and purpose of social dialogue; the link between social dialogue and labour inspection; preconditions for social dialogue; levels of cooperation on labour inspection with social partners; modalities for effective social dialogue and labour inspection and the precondition for achieving them.


Session 12: Developing national Action Plans


Based on all the input generated during the course, each national delegation will develop an Action Plan, specifying what they intend to achieve upon their return home. These Action Plans will also be used for evaluation and impact assessment purposes of the course at a future date, as well as for better planning of any related future follow-up activities.


Session 13: Conclusions and recommendations


Through group work, participants will draw-up the main conclusions and make key recommendations to guide the efforts and actions of their trade unions in the area of labour inspection as vehicle for achieving decent work for all.


Session 14: Evaluation


Course activities will be reviewed on a daily basis and with an end-of-course evaluation. The daily reviews will allow the re-negotiation of activities, permit re-focusing on areas of particular needs and interests of participants, and promote full involvement of participants in the development of the course. The end-of-course evaluation will examine the level of achievement of the immediate objectives and the level of satisfaction of participants. The evaluation will contribute significantly to the improvement of future ACTRAV/Turin training programmes.




Twenty trade unionists whose responsibilities are in one way or another related to labour inspection selected from the member States of East Africa Community and the East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) Headquarters will take part in this course. Gender balance will be taken into account as well as an age limit of 45 years in the selection of participants. The nominating organisations are expected to provide full support to their participants in carrying out pre-course preparations and implementation of post-course activities, particularly in relation to the implementation of the national Action Plans that participants will have created during the training course. They should also ensure that the newly acquired skills and knowledge of their participants be fully utilised in the day-to-day programmes and activities of the union.




Country Reports

Each country delegation will be required to prepare beforehand and bring with them to the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, Kenya a national report. The report preferably typed on A4 sheets and no longer than five pages, should include:

  • Description of the labour inspection system in the country, with data on relevant issues covered in the latest labour inspection report on the country.
  • Description of trade union policy, strategy, programme and activities on labour inspection, with a particular focus on their involvement in and contribution to national tripartite forums on the subjects.
  • Description of the situation of vulnerable groups (forced labourers, working children, workers in the informal economy, domestic workers, migrant workers, and workers living with HIV/AIDS. Also, the problem of human trafficking and forced labour should be highlighted in the report.
  • The main features of the labour laws, labour administration and labour inspection systems of the country.
  • The role of social partners, the media and other stakeholders in labour inspection.


Supporting Documents /Resource Materials

The participants should collect and bring to the Tom Mboya Labour College documents and other sources of information concerning the following aspects:

  • Labour laws and regulations related to labour inspection and labour administration.
  • Proposed harmonized lanbour laws of East Africa Community.
  • Copy of national policy/strategy paper on labour inspection.
  • Training and campaign materials produced by the trade unions on labour inspection.
  • Any other materials that may be of interest to the course.


8.         METHODOLOGY


The learning methods to be used in the course will acknowledge the participants' level of competence and experience, taking into account that they already have practical experience in the field of labour inspection. An active learning methodology will be employed throughout the course, which will encourage the participants to fully involve themselves in all aspects of the training.




Training modules, handouts and booklets dealing with the subject will be distributed to participants. 


10.       LANGUAGE


The course will be conducted in English. An important criterion for the selection of course participants will be their language skills. Participants are expected to fully involve themselves in discussions and other activities and so they must be fluent in English. 




The course duration is one week and is scheduled to take place at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, Kenya from 4 to 8 April 2011.




The training will be conducted by staff of ACTRAV-Turin of the International Training Centre of the ILO, ACTRAV Field Specialists in Africa and other staff of the ILO.


The Tom Mboya Labour College’s resources include: classrooms, a learning resources centre and library and a computer training laboratory. The College’s campus provides a congenial environment in which to study and live.




Training is one of the major functions of trade unions. Training their members and officials is essential to strengthening the organization and improving their functions. Because of the involvement of trade unions in an increasing number of social and economic issues in recent years, it has become even more vital for unions to continue and expand their training activities for both their leaders and members.


The Bureau for Workers' Activities aims at strengthening representative, independent and democratic trade union in all countries. It does this to enable them to play their role effectively in protecting workers' rights and interests and in providing effective services to their members at national and international levels.

Through the delivery of advanced training courses, the production of training material for residential and online education, advisory services and specific projects, the Programme for Workers' Activities of the International Training Centre of the ILO is designed to respond to the changing training needs of workers' organizations. The structure and the content of the Programme are aimed at responding to the main challenges imposed by globalization on the international labour movement.


The Programme's activities are organised within five categories of training activities and services:


- The first consists of specialized residential training courses at the ILO Turin Centre which are conducted using active learning methods. Curricula are developed in line with the four ILO strategic objectives, equality and gender relations, training methodology for residential/on-line education and custom-made courses for the Global Union Federations (GUFs). The ILO's major strategic objectives are: 1) Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. 2) Employment 3) Social Protection and 4) Social Dialogue.

- A second category of activities includes follow-up seminars and training activities developed jointly with ACTRAV staff in the regions. In particular follow-up seminars are carried out in order to assess the contribution of the Programme for Workers' Activities in achieving its development objectives in the area of training and also provide advanced training.

- A third category involves the development of online education for workers' organizations.

- A fourth category is related to the training of ACTRAV staff.

- A fifth category concerns the delivery of services, mainly in the area of training assistance to labour organizations.


In the past few years the design and delivery of training courses by ACTRAV-Turin have been conducted with a systematic and multi-disciplinary approach to gender mainstreaming, which is strongly endorsed by the Programme.

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Programme for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) - International Training Centre of the ILO
Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10 - 10127 Turin, Italy