Equality of opportunity and treatment

Thailand ratifies the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

News | 13 June 2017
On 13 June 2017, Thailand, member State of the ILO since 1919, ratified one of the eight fundamental ILO Conventions, namely the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) 1958, (No.111) which is among the most widely ratified ILO Conventions, with 175 ratifications as of today, out of 187 Member States.

Protection against discrimination is a fundamental human right as it is essential for workers to freely choose their employment, develop their full potential and reap the benefits of their labour according to their merit. Around the world, millions of men and women are denied access to work and training, receive low wages, or are restricted to certain occupations simply because of their gender, the colour of their skin, ethnicity or beliefs, without their abilities and qualifications being taken into account. Thus, on average, female workers receive - for work of equal value - a salary that can be 25 percent less than their male colleagues. Promoting equality in the workplace is also synonymous of significant economic benefits. Employers who practice equality have access to a larger and more diverse workforce. Workers who enjoy equality have greater access to training, often receive higher wages, and improve the overall quality of the workforce. Promoting in this way an egalitarian society contributes to strengthening social cohesion, a more equitable distribution of wealth and greater adherence of the population to social and economic policies in place. The ILO standards on equality provide tools to eliminate discrimination in all aspects of the workplace and across society. They also form the basis from which are applied strategies for integration issues of equality between men and women in the world of work.

In depositing the official instrument of ratification, His Excellency General Sirichai Distakul, Minister of Labour of Thailand, stated: “The ratification of the Convention No. 111 shows that Thailand is determined by committing itself to the international community, to promote and realize equal opportunity by eliminating all forms of discrimination in employment and occupation. To this end, I believe that it enables the achievement of Decent Work and the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development. For Thailand, the ratification of the Convention No. 111 is a crucial step towards ensuring that the Government truly prioritizes on the equal principle and the elimination of all forms of discrimination, as seen in its national policy and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand of 2017. Importantly, the enforcement of relevant laws and regulations and the implementation of national frameworks, have proven well the protection of the workers’ rights entitled under the Convention. This can realize the conviction that all working people live their lives with human dignity and equality in the world of work.”

In receiving the formal instrument of ratification, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Office said: "By ratifying Convention No. 111, your country reaffirms its commitment to implement the fundamental principles and rights at work, in particular the principles of equality of opportunity and treatment as well as non-discrimination. Thailand has now ratified 6 of the 8 fundamental Conventions. This ratification also brings us closer to the goal of universal ratification of Conventions on non-discrimination and equal treatment in employment and occupation that the International Labour Organization has set".

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No.111)

This fundamental Convention defines discrimination as "any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation ". It calls on states that have ratified it to commit to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and profession, to eliminate discrimination in this field. Its provisions cover matters such as discrimination in access to vocational training, to employment and to particular occupations, and conditions of employment.