The event in Bali last week was focused on tackling violence against women working in public transport. There were 75 participants from ITF affiliated unions covering road, rail, civil aviation, and urban transport plus members of the ITF women’s committee.
Assistant coordinator of the ITF women’s department Jodi Evans said: “This ILO convention is the closest we’ve ever come to having an international mechanism that officially recognises the impact of violence against women transport workers. Although it isn’t specific on gender it will offer potential for prevention and protection to women in their workplaces in a way that we haven’t seen before.
“Violence against women workers in endemic in the transport sector. That makes it difficult to attract women to this area of work and to retain them. In and of itself this convention won’t solve the problem, but having this kind of legislation in place sends a message that internationally this issue is being taken seriously. It shows that preventing violence against women at work by creating a climate where it isn’t tolerated, is a priority.”
Unions are being asked to take action as part of the collective push to secure the convention through national lobbying of governments, campaigning to raise awareness and support among the general public and providing evidence to show how serious an issue violence against women is in transport workplaces.
An initial meeting of experts will meet regarding the Convention – ‘Violence against women and men in the world of work’- in October this year and it could potentially be adopted in 2019.
There were also forum sessions on the potential expansion of a women’s advocacy programme as championed by Canadian affiliate Unifor and sharing campaigning experiences and education models.
For reports, interviews, comments and pictures from the forum please visit the dedicated blog: www.itfviolencefreeworkplaces4women.wordpress.com
It is hoped that in 2019 the Convention will be ‘adopted’. The Convention will only come into force following ratification by the requisite number of member states.