DCI – ILO Convention 138 – Minimum age for admission to employment

Defence for Children International

ILO convention 138 – Concerning the minimum age for

admission to employment

The denunciation of child labour for the past several

years has recovered its place in current events due to its link with the

globalisation of trade and its apparent negative impact on employment and

working conditions in industrialised countries. Child labour in newly

industrialised countries or in developing countries is cited as one of the

elements that is distorting competition with industrialised countries, which

gives rise to unemployment and exclusion in the latter.

If the problem is considered as one of competition

between countries that have a high rate of child labour and those who have

better control over the phenomenon in most economic sectors, which is something

that is yet to be established, then it goes further back to an older debate

according to which the reasons for the fight against child labour lie in the

competition between children and adult workers, because of the downward pressure

on salaries brought on by this type of work. This reasoning ignores one of the

features of child labour in developing countries. It is mainly present in the

informal sector, and quite rarely in activities that are open to international

competition, except in certain sectors, and even then it is limited in numbers.

Introduction by Loic Piccard

Child labour and development
Which Children for what type of work
Standard setting activity of the ILO


Convention 138 concerning the minimum age for admission to employment – Text

ILO Recommendation 146 on the minimum age

for admission to employment



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