• Issue: April 1969
  • Designer: O. Adler
  • Plate no.: 242
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

In 1969, Israel, together with all the other nations of the world, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO was established in 1919, at the end of World War I, within the framework of the Peace Treaty signed at Versailles, its stipulations being part of that agreement and the Organization itself becoming affiliated to the League of Nations.

The idea of establishing an international body dealing with labor and social conditions, assisting in finding solutions for the serious problems stemming from the development of the industrial society, originated in the growing agitation and the economic crises affecting many peoples and lands on account of the industrial revolution and rapid urbanization. Slums were springing up in the industrial towns. The contrast between "capital" and "labor" was aggravating. The workers were badly exploited, receiving poor wages with unlimited working hours, toiling under primitive hygienic conditions, lacking safety precautions, medical attention, and social security. Exploitation, at that time, served as one of the means for gaining advantage on the world market in the competition among the industrial nations. Moreover, the authorities helped to suppress attempts by the workers to get organized and to secure for themselves professional protection and improvement of conditions. The class contrasts were intensifying, and the social agitation within the countries as well as the political and economic rivalry among the nations endangered their peaceful life and world peace.

It is this hard fact which brought about the realization that the improvement of labor and social conditions and the conclusion of an international agreement on conditions preventing the exploitation of the worker by means of an international labor legislation would help to pave the way for furthering social justice all over the world.

After World War II the International Labor Organization became a body representing 120 countries, many of them still going through the first phases of their social and economic development. It has been universally accepted that the existing gap between the rich and developed countries on the one hand, and the under-developed countries on the other, largely endangers world peace and social stability. The principle, that poverty at one place imperils prosperity everywhere else has also become a guiding factor in the activities of the Organization. The ILO is an inter-governmental body affiliated to the UNO, governments, and representatives of workers and employers sharing in its activities. Two government representatives and one representative each of the workers and the employers comprise the delegations to the conference of the Organization. This tripartite construction allows for the representation of all the responsible factors, and for the fundamental consultation on basic problems of society.

At the annual international conference - the highest institution of the Organization - labor and social problems are discussed and international standards with regard to labor and social legislation are fixed in the form of conventions and recommendations.

Considering that since its establishment the ILO has adopted hundreds of conventions and recommendations on labor issues, embracing a variety of subjects ranging from the right of organization to female and juvenile labor, severance pay and so forth, it becomes obvious how substantially the international organization has contributed to the social progress of human society, to the elimination of exploitation, and to the raising of the standard of living.

The extensive activity of the International Labor Office, helped by a chain of branch and field offices all over the world, in the sphere of research on labor issues, gives additional proof of its importance.

Israel feels a deep ideological attachment for the ILO, its aims and their implementation. The ILO was the first international organization joined by Israel upon its establishment. Unofficial ties had, however, been established between the Jewish community in Eretz Israel and the Organization many years before the establishment of the State of Israel, by representation of the Histadrut (the Israel Trade Unions). The Israel delegation to the ILO includes two government representatives, both officials of the Ministry of Labor, one representative of the Histadrut, namely its Secretary-General (who is also a member of the executive committee of the Organization), one representative of the Industrialists' Association for the employers, as well as associate members serving on various committees.

Israeli experts participate in the projects carried out in various countries on behalf of the ILO and experts from many countries attend courses and seminars in Israel on cooperation, technical subjects, and training, held in the Government Institute, established with the assistance of the ILO. The International Labor Organization extended technical assistance to Israel by sending experts in a variety of fields, such as planning, manpower, vocational training, safety, cooperation, and others, as well as by providing teaching aids and scholarships. The publications issued by the Organization are also of great help in furthering the know-how and the legislation on labor and social matters in Israel.

The stamp depicts the "Miner", a statue which stands in the park of the ILO in Geneva.

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50th Anniversary of I.L.O.