A new convention and the accompanying recommendation have been adopted by International Labour Conference (ILC) that will address violence and harassment in the world of work. Held in Geneva, Switzerland, the conference is an annual parliament organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to set its broad policies, including conventions and recommendations.
Under the convention, the term “violence and harassment” in the world of work refers to a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.
It also recognizes violence and harassment as a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.
The Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work is the first new ILO Convention since 2011. It will enter into force 12 months after two member states have ratified it. The ILO has 187 member states. Meanwhile, the recommendation is not legally binding and only provides guidelines on how the convention could be applied.
The conference witnessed 439 votes were in favour, 7 against and 30 abstentions. The recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 44 abstentions.
The new ILO convention subsume large number of employees, irrespective of contractual status and avenues of violence and harassment. Employees or workers in training, interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, job seekers and job applicants are covered under the new 2019 conventions.
A step ahead, it not only recognises workplace as an avenue for violence and harassment, but also where a worker takes a rest, uses sanitary, washing or changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel; work-related communications and in employer-provided accommodation, among others.
Member states have been reminded that they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance”.
ILO director-general Guy Ryder welcomed the adoption and said, “The next step is to put these protections into practice, so that we create a better, safer, decent, working environment for women and men.”
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