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Protecting workers in the third world

Briefing/policy papers

This Briefing Paper reviews the problems raised in applying International Labour Organisation (ILO) labour standards to developing countries, the steps that ILO has taken to maintain the International Labour Code's relevance and effectiveness, and recent developments in proposals for a 'social clause'. The paper concludes that it is unlikely that ILO labour standards can have a noticeable impact in the foreseeable future on those workers in developing countries most in need of protection and improved welfare. The majority of the poor live and work outside formal, organised economic activity, and to all intents and purposes, outside the domain of national or international labour law.