CONICET fellow will be the only Argentine in the centenary of the International Labor Organization

Luciana Zorzoli was selected to present her research work in the official celebrations that will take place in Paris.

Zorzoli Luciana Zorzoli in the national library of UK. Photo: Courtesy researcher.

Founded in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles –a document that determines the end of the First World War signed by more than 50 countries–, the International Labor Organization (ILO) celebrates its first centenary this year. Although there are going to be initiatives all year round in different parts of the world, the official commemoration will be “Social justice and decent work: the ILO in action in the last one hundred years” which will take place in Paris on June 26th, 27th and 28th.

Among the 40 speakers from all the world, there are only two Latin American, and one of them is Argentine: Luciana Zorzoli, CONICET fellow at the Institute of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences (IdIHCS, CONICET-UNLP). She was especially selected by the organizers of the event to present one part of her doctoral and postdoctoral study based on the actions of the Committee of Trade Union Freedom of the ILO against the military dictatorships in Argentina and Chile in 1976 and 1973 respectively.

“It is an organization created by the ILO in 1951. Its aim is to monitor legal complaints made by trade union or business organizations or states charged for violations to trade union freedom, which include attacks to properties or people, restrictions to the right to strike, manifestation or expression, arrest or unjustified imprisonment, enforced exiles and of course disappearances and deaths. I’m going to present a study on specific cases”, Zorzoli comments from England, where she is doing research work at the School of Law and Social Sciences of the University of London.

The scientist’s presentation will focus on the different relationships established from the actions of the committee which has made confidential reports with accurate information on the trade union reality under dictatorship or democracy. Her work also includes reports of the trips made by representatives of the ILO to the countries that were denounced in order to interview different political and civil actors of that moment, “something that concerned military governments,” she states.

“The detailed work of the ILO showed its historical value. The committee made lists of people with whereabouts unknown from 1973 in Chile and 1976 in Argentina. The following year, for the first time, the military government of Argentina had to provide detailed information on the people who were in prison and their causes; who were being investigated by what they called ‘relation with subversive organizations’ or by ‘intended actions with trade union founding’; who were condemned by justice or by ‘Special War Councils’” Zorzoli states but explains: “Of course in our country the dictatorship denied having detention centers for people denounced as disappeared.”

Considering the importance of the centenary relationship of the ILO and Latin America, Zorzoli comments two issues: First, the fact that Argentina is a founding member and has signed several established agreements imposes obligations and local regulations linked to international agreements. “To have this role enables research on the compliance of some principles and rights, as the cases I study. Secondly, this provides a different perspective on the relations of the work world, a more national-central point of view in which the historical processes are thought from national histories without the interactions and cooperation networks that comprise several Latin American nations from the foundation of the organization.”

Zorzoli’s participation in the symposium on the centenary of the ILO broadens her academic experience abroad, such as her research at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of the Columbia University, USA, in 2016 thanks to a scholarship of the Fulbright Commission. Her second scholarship granted then by the Ministry of Education was in 2018, in Chile, at the University of Valparaíso. In November, she is going to be one of the coordinators of the table on ILO and Latin America in the conference “Continuing the struggle: the centenary of the International Labor Organization and future of global worker rights”, organized by the Georgetown and Washington University, and the ILO office in the American capital.