- Labour, Workers Move Against Workplace Violence
Delegates made up of labour leaders, workers and other officials at the just-concluded centenary International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, by the International Labour Organisation, have adopted a new convention and recommendation to combat violence and harassment in the workplace.
The Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 , were said to have been adopted by delegates on the final day of the centenary International Labour Conference. For the convention, 439 votes were cast in favour, seven against, with 30 abstentions.
The recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 44 abstentions.
According to the report, the convention recognised that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse and it’s a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.”
It further defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.” It reminds member States that they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance.”
The report further read, “The new international labour standard aims to protect workers and employees, irrespective of their contractual status, and includes persons in training, interns and apprentices, workers whose employment have been terminated, volunteers, job seekers and job applicants. It recognises that ‘individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer’ can also be subjected to violence and harassment.
“The standard covers violence and harassment occurring in the workplace; places where a worker is paid, takes a rest or meal break, or uses sanitary, washing or changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel, training, events or social activities; work-related communications (including through information and communication technologies), in employer-provided accommodation; and when commuting to and from work. It also recognises that violence and harassment may involve third parties.”
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed the adoption, saying, “The new standards recognise the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment.”
He added that the next step would be to put these protections into practice, “so that we create a better, safer, decent, working environment for women and men.”