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Violence against workers is union business

news 21 Jun 2022

As we celebrate the second anniversary of International Labour Organization Convention 190 coming into force and significant global commitment to the convention through increased visibility on the issue of violence and harassment, awareness and 18 ratifications by governments to date, ITF is proud to launch a transport focused C190 Toolkit.   

Increased gender divide, unemployment and lack of job security has increased the risk of exposure to violence and harassment for women workers. gender equality has been pushed almost four decades back due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it is therefore absolutely critical that the recovery plans are not ‘one size fits all’ but recognize the disproportionate impacts. Focused measures need to be taken to address the needs of women workers. C190 can be an important tool for social and legal reforms regardless of ratification to ‘build back better’.   

Lack of safety in the world of work is a major contributing factor to making this sector unwelcoming for women workers and reinforcing the systemic exclusion of women in the transport and logistics industry. These factors contribute to, maintain and reaffirm the notion that ‘women don’t belong in this sector’.  According to the ILO (Transport Policy Brief 2013) – “Violence against transport workers is one of the most important factors limiting the attraction of transport jobs for women and breaking the retention of those who are employed in the transport sector.”  Almost 10 years later, this is still true for the sector.   

The ITF C190 transport toolkit is a supplement to the joint GUFs toolkit launched on 21 June 2021 and highlights the issues and C190 language that are key for transport workers.  

Since transport is identified in C190 as one of the sectors most exposed to violence and harassment, the toolkit helps in recognising different forms of violence and harassment; it addresses the myths, stigma and shame around these issues; and includes tools to encourage and support union action to build and strengthen C190 campaigns.  

This can be a useful tool for women activists and unions to build their actions for awareness, lobbying and negotiations on the issues - that are critical to ensure a safe and equal world of work for women transport workers. 


Toolkit structure

The toolkit includes a set of briefings on issues that affect transport workers most significantly and a separate briefing on identifying targets and allies to strengthen the campaign.   

Each briefing looks at understanding the issue and its importance for transport workers; what C190 can do to help; and includes activity to encourage to union action 


The toolkit aims to:

  • Demonstrate how violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment, impacts all transport workers, in particular women workers and other vulnerable groups.  

  • Raise awareness of C190 and R206 and their relevance for all transport workers and highlight the importance of ratification and implementation.  

  • Outline how C190 and R206 can be used as a tool for advocacy and encourage unions to plan and organise campaigns on violence and harassment.  

  • Encourage unions to use the language of C190 most relevant for transport workers to promote ratification and implementation, and to negotiate with employers and other key stakeholders.  

  • Emphasise the role of women transport workers in making C190 effective.