The Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work is a reality

With 439 votes in favour, 7 against and 30 abstentions, the International Labour Conference (ILC) has adopted Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

The Centenary International Labour Conference’s adoption of a Convention and Recommendation on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work is a milestone for the working class across the world and reaffirms the value of tripartism and our role as workers in developing international labour standards and rights.

Video

With 439 votes in favour, 7 against and 30 abstentions, the International Labour Conference (ILC) has adopted Convention 190 and Recommendation 208 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

Convention on violence and harassment

At a time when capital is gaining the ascendancy in the global correlation of forces, the ILO Workers’ Group has won an important victory that sets the stage for us to make gains.

The success of this initiative in the fight to eliminate gender-based violence at work is due to several years of hard work by women trade unionists, starting at the ILO in 2015 and now rewarded by a new international instrument that deals with violence and harassment in a comprehensive way that includes everyone in the world of work.

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With 439 votes in favour, 7 against and 30 abstentions, the International Labour Conference (ILC) has adopted Convention 190 and Recommendation 208 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

Interview with Angela Rifo (ILC2019)

The main points:

  • The emergence and recognition of a new right at the international level: the right to a workplace free of violence and harassment;
  • The scope of the instrument, which includes the world of work in its entirety rather than only the physical space of the workplace;
  • Endorsement of the role of freedom of association and collective bargaining in ensuring protection of this right;
  • Elimination of language referring to workers’ and employers’ representatives as victims and perpetrators of violence, which removes the potential for employers to attack the right to strike.

PSI delegation to the Standard Setting Committee on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

From left to right: Karely Gante, STUNAM, Mexico; Angela Rifo, ANEF, Chile; Viviana García, FESPROSA, Argentina; Verónica Montúfar, PSI; Julián Corrales, ADEA, Colombia.

Although there is universal recognition that international labour standards apply to all workers, PSI is celebrating the explicit inclusion of the public sector in the protection provided by this Convention and Recommendation and the inclusion of public sector workers and employers in the implementation mechanisms. We have fought to achieve this for a long time and the fact that this instrument, although not specifically about public sector workers, includes them represents a milestone in our struggle.

Other aspects of this instrument’s importance for winning fundamental rights:

  • The right to equality and non-discrimination in employment and occupation for women and members of other vulnerable groups that are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment, which, although initially omitted from an extensive list, were finally included after much discussion;
  • Recognition that “third parties” can be victims and perpetrators of violence;
  • Recognition that domestic violence has an impact on the world of work, making it necessary to take mitigating measures;
  • Recognition that organisation of the productive process and working conditions constitute risk factors for violence and need to be taken into account when formulating prevention measures.

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Interview with PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, following #ILC2019 that marked the adoption of C190, the Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.

Interview with Rosa Pavanelli - #ILC2019

Although the Employers’ Group successfully pressed for the introduction of several “qualifiers”, such as making the instrument subject to national legislation where applicable, these did not impinge on the language used in the instruments. Our task now is to apply our strength and unity to achieving the ratification and implementation of Convention 190 and Recommendation 206.


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