One in three women experience physical, mental or sexual violence during their lifetime. No group of workers, sectors or industry is totally free from violence. While they are most affected, only 40% of women who experience violence report it or seek help, according to data from UN Women. The scourge of violence and harassment has been exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It is time for action.
The ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 provide concrete measures that are known to address this problem. These international agreements were designed jointly by workers’ unions, employers organisations and governments. Now it is up to governments to apply these proven approaches by writing these provisions into law and ratifying this comprehensive framework to put an end to brutal cycles of violence and harassment that overwhelming target working women, particularly those who suffer intersectional factors of marginalisation.
UNI Europa is working together with employers to promote the ratification of these vital measures across Europe. In the context of this work, UNI Europe Equal Opportunities held a webinar on ratification of the ILO Convention C190 that gathered over 200 representatives of unions, employers and other organisations from 41 countries.
unions, employers and other organisations from 41 countries.
María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop joined our webinar on paths forward to end violence and harassment in the world of work. Here’s a snippet on how the pandemic highlighted the need for governments to ratify the ILO’s Convention 190 and Recommendation 206.
Posted by UNI Europa on Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Expert speakers included MEP Maria Eugenia Palop and Dr Jane Pillinger and Ms Valentina Beguini. ILO technical specialist on gender equality and non-discrimination, who shared their expertise on C190, the various EU instruments to fight violence and harassment as well as and gender-based violence. It was a great opportunity to exchange on best practices and knowledges for the cross-sectoral guidelines on preventing and combatting violence at work to be designed and developed in an optimal way throughout the joint project.
Retaliation against those who speak truth to power is a well documented reality.
Strong union involvement in solutions is shown to result in working women feeling they can speak up when experiencing or witnessing violence and harassment at work.#RatifyILOC190 pic.twitter.com/P2MHE8Pqr1
— UNI Europa (@UNI_Europa) December 15, 2021
Violence and harassment in the world of work takes on many forms from intimidating verbal, psychological to physical behavior that can have a detrimental effect on the individual, their health and morale, their work performance and indeed their colleagues.
While this violence mostly effects women, anyone of any gender can be impacted and there is a clear need to have work-place protections established to support the victim.
These include comprehensive policies that cover the issues of violence and harassment at work. These policies must be supplemented with effective communications as well as training specifically for those who will address the issue first-hand and by this, I mean middle management, line managers and of course trade union representatives.
Solutions to address violence & harassment at work exist.
ILO Convention 190 & Recommendation 206 were jointly designed by governments, workers’ unions & employers organisations.
— UNI Europa (@UNI_Europa) December 15, 2021
The Convention and Recommendation recognize the need to respect, promote and realize the fundamental principles and rights at work at the core of measures preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. On this basis the Convention states that: “each Member shall respect, promote and realize the fundamental principles and rights at work, namely freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, the effective abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, as well as promote decent work.” (Art. 5)
To uphold these polices we have several EU instruments at our disposal including Convention C190 that we must ensure is ratified in our own jurisdictions and is implemented at policy level in our organisations.
This webinar was held in the framework of the EU Cross-Sectoral Social Dialogue project entitled Eliminating violence and harassment at the workplace. This is joint project between UNI Europa and AMICE, UniCredit and ETNO. As part of this work, UNI Europa Equal Opportunities will be hosting a series of three webinars and activities (2021-2023) on preventing violence and harassment in the world of work. One of the objective of the project is to produce Cross-sectoral EU Guidelines for preventing and combating violence and harassment at work and build capacity between and within European sectoral social partner’s organisations.
Save the date: next webinar on Third-Party Violence on February 25
For further information, please contact Amel Selma Djemail.