Ecuador ratifies ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

On 17 January, the National Assembly of Ecuador unanimously voted to ratify ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. It is expected that in the coming days, the Government will formally submit the ratification to the ILO.

The prior ratification of this convention by Uruguay and Argentina demonstrates the strength and preponderance of the trade union and feminist movements in South America. In Ecuador, the approval comes in the context of a permanent struggle for workers' rights in the midst of the declaration of a pandemic by COVID-19, says Angélica Ordoñez of the Association of Officials and Employees of the Andean University.

Several factors combined for this important achievement for the world of work in Ecuador at a time of pandemic, where there have been harsh attacks on labour and trade union rights.

The electoral situation

The National Assembly of Ecuador has adjusted its last steps in a polarized electoral context where the legitimacy of the state institutions is strongly questioned, so in this final phase it has set itself several objectives, one of which is the ratification of the C190, thus taking a decisive step towards relegitimization.

Women's Coalition

The PSI National Women's Committee was a key factor in this coalition process. Women from other trade union sectors, non-governmental organizations and State and United Nations agencies joined the coalition to discuss, inform, communicate and lobby, both within the Executive Branch and in social organizations, and later within the National Assembly, in a step-by-step process, until the process was finally brought to a conclusion in the plenary session.

According to Vanessa Bósquez, who is responsible for PSI's coalition, "It is essential and significant to highlight the work we have done with the Inter-Institutional Roundtable in Support of the Rights of Women Workers in the Home, which is made up of The National Council for Gender Equality, the Ministry of Labor, the Simón Bolívar Andean University, the National Union of Household and Related Workers (UNTHA), the Single National Union of Women Domestic Workers of Ecuador (SINUTRE), the Ecuadorian Confederation of Free Trade Unions (CEOSL) and the international cooperation agency CARE-Ecuador and UN Women.

the ratification of the C190 is not the end, but a milestone that marks the beginning of a journey of perseverance

"The communication campaign launched via twitter, from the very adoption of the Convention in 2019, led us women to add political will. The most important moments were the global twitter wave organized by PSI for 25 November 2020 and then we were activated again the week before the discussion in the Assembly with significant support from our fellow trade unionists in the Americas," said Maria Augusta Carrillo of the National Confederation of Public Servants (CONASEP).

Rosa Aguilar, from the National Federation of Workers of the Provincial Councils and Governments of Ecuador-FENOGOPRE, highlights the prospects that are opening up in the country. "Throughout 2020, as the PSI Women's Committee, we have been fully involved in addressing violence and harassment, and this ratification comes just as we are preparing specific protocols for the workplace. Good riddance!"

Angélica Ordóñez adds that "the ratification of the C190 is not the end, but a milestone that marks the beginning of a journey of perseverance that we women must take care of and maintain. The actions of the governments of the signatory countries must defend a world of work without violence. Trade unions, men and women, will watch over the fulfilment of this new and indispensable labour right".

Viviana García of the Federación Sindical de Profesionales del Salud en Argentina-FESPROSA, who accompanied the Women's Committee of Ecuador in a training initiative on the C190, agrees, stating that "with the work that is underway it will be necessary to immediately take full advantage of the political-electoral situation in Ecuador. It is necessary to work at all possible levels to achieve implementation and one field will be to forge an alliance between feminisms and trade unions".

Now the implementation phase opens up important dimensions for strengthening tripartism and in it, specific social dialogue in the public sector, where PSI-Ecuador will continue to set the pace!