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Global trade union movement launches toolkit in campaign to eradicate violence and harassment in the workplace

news 24 Jun 2021

As the International Labour Organization Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work comes into force on 25 June 2021, global unions are launching a toolkit to support the Convention 190 (C190) and its Recommendation 206 (R206). The manual will provide thousands of unions around the world with critical tools for the fight to eradicate violence and harassment in the world of work.

Affecting millions of workers globally, physical assault, bullying, sexual harassment, online abuse, economic violence, and abusive work practices are the most widespread forms of violence in the world of work.

COVID-19 outbreak reports show that all types of violence against women and girls have intensified in the past year, making women workers especially vulnerable. A lack of policies and employers' support to respond to and prevent this violence have led many women to develop anxiety and mental illness or resulted in decreased job performance and impacted women's revenue.

The toolkit aims to provide unions with tools to develop workplace solutions that tackle violence and harassment, with a special focus on gender-based violence and harassment, and ensure that violence is no longer considered as “part of the job”.

Domestic violence, while taking place outside the workplace, can also have significant physiological and physical implications on abused workers. Moreover, intersecting discrimination creates another layer of inequality that increases the risk of violence and harassment.

The toolkit supports trade union staff and representatives, as well as worker educators and facilitators, to develop training programmes and is a useful tool for trade unions mounting national campaigns for the ratification of C190 in their countries.

Thanks to intensive lobbying by trade unions and women groups across the world, Convention 190 and Recommendation 206, provide a foundation for trade unions and other stakeholders to address violence and harassment in the world of work.

The Convention and the Recommendation extend to all sectors – public and private – as well as the informal economy and are the first international instruments of this kind. With the adoption of these standards, everyone now has the right to live in a world free from violence and harassment.

“Covid-19 is further exposing the realities and inequalities of the male-dominated world we live in. Violence against women has increased during the pandemic. While we celebrate this historic convention entering into force, it is important to not lose sight of the workers who this affects. The transport sector must be safe for every worker, every passenger, and we see C190 as a critical tool for ending the pandemic of violence and harassment in the workplace.” – Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary

What’s in the toolkit?

The toolkit is comprised of a facilitators’ guide and an activities workbook. Its aim is to:

  • Encourage discussion about violence and harassment and gender-based violence in the world of work
  • Raise awareness about Convention 190, its accompanying Recommendation R206 and its significance for workers – particularly women workers;
  • Encourage unions across the world to campaign for the ratification of Convention 190 and its effective implementation in line with Recommendation 206;
  • Encourage unions to use these instruments to integrate Convention 190 into the union bargaining agenda;
  • Build stronger unions to enable workers to assert their rights to a world of work free from violence and harassment.

The Toolkit will be officially launched during a webinar on 25 June at 14:00 CEST. Please register here!

"Our main goal is to ratify the Convention. We are making every effort to do so. Today the Convention has proven to be an effective tool for us helping us strengthen our collective bargaining power. It is because of this convention that we feel confident to question our employers about working conditions and what is being done to ensure gender equality in the workplace." - Aruna Prashant Patil, Divisional Vice President, MSTKS

Download it now!

The Activity Workbook in FR-SP-ENG:

The Facilitator guide in FR-SP-ENG:

The global unions comprise the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Education International, IndustriALL Global Union, International Domestic Workers Federation, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tourism, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), Public Services International (PSI) and UNI Global Union.