The groups, which included national and nongovernmental anti-tobacco and health groups, sent a letter to the ILO’s governing body saying it risked its reputation and the effectiveness of the work by retaining ties to tobacco.
The letter was sent ahead of a 31 October meeting at which the UN body is set to debate the issue. The ILO has continued to work with tobacco companies on labour issues despite controversy and accusations that its work with tobacco companies has harmed global efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking.
Anti-tobacco advocates hope the ILO will decide at the meeting to join other UN agencies by dropping tobacco, the news agency said.
The ILO has justified its continued engagement with the industry as an effort to improve working conditions for the 60-million people involved in tobacco cultivation and has received around USD 15 million from cigarette makers over the last ten years, according to the report.