ILO takes historic step against violence in the workplace

date: 20/06/2019

Today, the ILO (International Labour Organization) adopted a new Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work. It’s a major step towards giving workers across the world the right to a workplace free of violence and intimidation.

FWF partners FNV and CNV and Fair Wear Foundation have been lobbying and campaigning for years for an internationally binding treaty. Violence and harassment in the workplace is a persistent problem for many workers worldwide. Women in particular often have to deal with forms of violence and harassment in the workplace. This convention is a victory for the international trade union movement.

‘This worldwide convention is of great importance for this sector where violence and intimidation are common. It means that ultimately all clothing brands must take action against violence in factories, in addition to the small group of precursors who are already doing that.’ – FWF director Alexander Kohnstamm

The end of a long road
In 2017, the ILO presented the first contours of a treaty. Last year was the first round of negotiations during the ILO Conference. There was resistance along the way, but the lobby of FNV, CNV and Fair Wear Foundation strongly contributed  to this  historic treaty.

The ILO treaty
The ILO is a United Nations agency that brings together governments, employer and worker organisations to set labor standards and promote decent work for all. Once an ILO Convention is passed, all ILO member states must submit the Convention to their national authority to consider ratification.. States who ratify the Convention will need to ensure that their national legislation is in conformity with the Convention’s minimum standards.

In the Convention, new international agreements have been made to protect workers against violence and harassment in the world of work. Member states that ratify the treaty must prohibit violence and harassment in their national law. In many countries, this is not yet the case. In the adopted Convention, it has been established that domestic violence has an impact on the workplace and that employers should recognize the effects and mitigate its impact in the world of work . The treaty also gives workers in the informal sector, such as domestic workers, the right to protection.

Strong support
FWF will -together with its partners – continue to work on preventing and ending violence and harassment in garment factories. Last week, FWF together with trade unions FNV and CNV Internationaal presented their joint manifesto to members of the Dutch parliament, encouraging the Dutch ILO delegation to strongly support the new ILO Convention. Read more about FWF activities on this portal.

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