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Ending violence and harassment against women in the world of work

news 10 Jun 2019

The fight to end violence against women transport workers reaches a critical point this week with the world’s governments, employer and worker representatives due to regulate on violence and harassment in the work of work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) will complete negotiations on a new law to prohibit, prevent and remedy violence and harassment; and it must align with and build on already agreed standards on human rights. A delegation of the ITF and our affiliates will be there to put the demands of women transport workers at the heart of the discussion.

A new international law will place clear responsibilities on employers and governments for tackling the scourge of violence and harassment in the world of work. Workers, too, will have responsibilities to refrain from acts of violence and harassment and to comply with any policies, procedures or other steps taken by their employers to prevent it.

More than 800 million women have experienced some form of violence and harassment, ranging from physical assault to verbal abuse, bullying and intimidation.  #MeToo and similar movements have helped expose the scale of the problem in the world of work, encouraging women to speak out and demand justice.

While women are overwhelmingly and disproportionately affected, men are not immune, and discrimination against certain groups exacerbates violence and harassment.

No sector, whether formal or informal, public, private or voluntary is untouched. However, transport has been identified as a sector where workers are particularly exposed.

Whilst there are differences to settle on the final content of the new law, there is broad support for its adoption amongst trade unions, governments and some employers. Ahead of the negotiations, some employers have expressed their support, demonstrating how measures can be taken not only to prevent and respond to workplace violence and harassment, but also to address the effects of domestic violence on the world of work.

Such measures include paid leave for victims of domestic violence, easy access to information, advice services or counselling, or varying working hours to minimise the risk of stalking by violent ex-partners. And companies are increasingly engaging in collective negotiations with trade unions at enterprise, sectoral and global levels to ensure that the people who work, or seek to work for them, are protected and free from fear.

Violence and harassment in the world of work is a global problem, requiring global solutions. Trade unions were campaigning for this new law long before the painful revelations of #MeToo. Our governments and employers must now play their part in making this a reality. No one should go to work in fear of experiencing violence and harassment.

International Labour Conference (ILC) 2019

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency responsible for setting global legal standards for working conditions. The International Labour Conference (ILC) is the annual conference of the ILO.

2019 marks the centenary of the ILO. As well as the standard setting discussion, the ILC will be discussing an outcome document, expected to be an ILO Declaration, to address major challenges for workers in the future of work, including climate and new technologies. In addition, the Committee on Application of Standards (CAS) will meet to address key cases of violations of international labour standards from around the world. On both issues, the ITF and our affiliates will be making sure the demands of transport workers are made loud and clear.

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