Ending violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work: answer the questionnaire and join the campaign

Working Conditions Gender Equality Sexual Harassment News

Violence and harassment in the workplace has an impact not only on workers and employers, but also on their families, communities, economies and society as a whole. It involves multiple forms of physical and psychological violence that affect people in many different ways, depending on a number of factors such as gender, class, race and power relations. Women are particularly vulnerable to violence and harassment at work, which hinders their economic empowerment and independence. In order to ensure employers make this issue a priority and take adequate measures to prevent and address instances of violence and harassment, the issue will be specifically addressed at the ILO’s Conference in 2018.

At its 328th session, the members of the ILO Governing Body endorsed the work and views of the experts and recognized that current ILO standards have limitations for addressing violence and harassment in the world of work. As a result, they all concurred that a new instrument that embraces a zero-tolerance principle is needed. Although it has a wide support from all the ILO constituents, there are some discrepancies in relation to the scope of the new instrument; whereas the workers would like to see the adoption of a Convention (a binding treaty open for ratification), the employers would rather adopt a Recommendation (non-binding guidelines).

The first discussion on the new instrument will take place at the 107th session of the International Labour Conference, in June 2018. An important aspect of the new standard will be the recognition that freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are crucial for tackling violence and harassment in the world of work, especially gender-based violence, which is transversal and prevails in all the forms of violence and harassment.

The Programme for the preparatory stages of the 1st discussion at the International Labour Conference is as follows:

•         30 April 2017 – Dispatch of the preliminary report containing a synopsis of law and practice accompanied by a questionnaire;

•         22 September 2017 – Deadline for the receipt of replies to the questionnaire

•         March 2018 – Dispatch of the first report to governments

•         June 2018 – First discussion at the 107th Session of the Conference

National Trade Union Centres and governments have the unique opportunity to get involved by completing a questionnaire about workers’ experiences and by providing evidence of gender-based violence across multiple work sectors. The questionnaire must be submitted to the ILO by 22 September 2017 in order to be discussed at the 2018 ILO Conference.

Performers’ unions are well placed to represent the arts and entertainment sector and take a stand against this pervasive and discriminatory issue. We invite all the FIA members to act now in support of the Convention, accompanied by a Recommendation. Without a Recommendation in addition to the Convention, the instrument will not be binding and holding employers accountable will be much more difficult.

In order to promote the ILO’s creation of an international standard, ITUC, the International Trade Union Confederation, designed a campaign to stop gender-based violence at work. We invite you to download their dedicated toolkit and visit the campaign webpage.

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