ITUC Campaign Newsletter 11: November  2021
In this newsletter:
  • Greece, Ecuador , Mauritius and Italy ratified C190! Now at 9 ratifications of C190;
  • Join the collective call to action during the 16 Days of Action;  
  • New  C190 resources (Global Unions + ILO);
  • C190 campaign updates from around the world.       
Join the collective call to action during the 16 Days of Action (25 November – 10 December).
It is time for a collective call to action for the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment! From 25 November, International Day on the Elimination of Violence Against Women until 10 December: International Human Rights Day, dozens of events, including two ITUC webinars, are taking place during the Global 16 Days campaign.

Check for updates on events via the #RatifyC190 Campaign webpage  and Facebook page.

Please join the call to action to #RatifyC190 - by posting messages in social media about why C190 is important and why your government should #RatifyC190 now! Invite others to join the call to action: in your union, across allied civil society groups or supportive politicians and employers. We will post all contributions in a photo gallery (available on the #RatifyC190 webpage Wakelet and Facebook page from 25 November onwards).  

Are you organising an event? Please share in social media via the hashtag #RatifyC190 (or send an email to [email protected]).  Look out for the announcement of the ITUC webinars on 25 November on the #RatifyC190 Facebook page

Congratulations to
Ecuador, Mauritius, Greece  and Italy!  

With the ratifications in Uruguay, Fiji, Namibia, Argentina and Somalia, we are now at nine . Whilst depositingthe instrument at the ILO in July (2021), Mauritius’ Minister of Labour, Mr. Soodesh S. Callichurn welcomed the ratification of C190, particularly within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic: “ (….) Millions of workers have been laid-off and the working ecosystem is adjusting itself in the wake of mutations arising. This ratification exercise is, therefore, a huge leap forward in terms of guaranteeing a safe environment for workers who are our main resource and who contribute immensely to the social and economic development of our country”. Ecuador ratified the Convention in May, Greece in August and Italy in October 2021.   

Over 20 governments are in a process to #RatifyC190!, including France and the UK . At the UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum in France (June, 2021), the governments of Kenya, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, Canada and Germany publicly committed to RatifyC190,  and a Collective C190 Commitment,  aimed at accelerating its ratification and implementation, received the support of governments and other stakeholders. Other countries who are currently in a ratification process are Albania, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Ireland, Madagascar, Nigeria, Netherlands, Panama, Samoa and Sri Lanka.


At the Generation Equality Forum in France, Avaaz, ITUC, Human Rights Watch, Action Aid and Care presented a joint delivery of the Avaaz C190 petition – signed by 659,602 people from across the world, and still counting - during a side event hosted by the government of France.
Webinar 1: Thursday 25 November, 09:30 CET to 11:00 CET. Interpretation will be provided in English, French, Russian and Hindi. You can register here 

Webinar 2:Thursday 25 November: 16:00 CET to 17:30 CET. Interpretation will be provided in English, Spanish and Portuguese.  You can register here 

The event will be livestreamed on the ITUC Facebook page at:   
New C190 resources:
Global Unions ‘Train the trainer C190 toolkit’
On 25 June, ITUC and the Global Unions celebrated the entry into force of C190 during their  Global Unions webinar and presented the Global Unions ‘Train the trainer C190 toolkit’ . The toolkit is a comprehensive capacity building tool comprised of 1) an activity workbook and 2) facilitator guide. It is available in English, Spanish, French, and other languages will follow: Arabic, Russian and Hindi. Related: The  Global Unions Press release  and ITUC online

ILO C190/ R206 Guide 
The Guide provides insights on the provisions of C190 and R206 and examples of national laws and policies initiated by governments to advance on the prevention and elimination of work-related violence and harassment. The Guide forms part of the ILO’s #RatifyC190 campaign and includes a toolkit. Since the launch in June 2021, the ILO is sharing social media messages from trade unions, employers’ organisations and governments in support of the ratification of C190 – here a few examples: At the ILO’s East Africa 5th Forum of Ministers Responsible for Labour, a key proposal was discussed aimed at the ratification of C190.

PSI Report (June 2021):
"Violence and harassment in the world of work, from a gender perspective, within the framework of Covid" The report is comprised of testimonies of 1,828 public health care workers from Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador (available in Spanish). 78.8% of those surveyed reportedhaving experienced violence or harassment in the world of work and within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those affected most are women and young workers (under 39 years of age), workers with low levels of formal education and workers operating in the lower hierarchical structures of their organisations.
Campaign updates from around the world

On 25 June, the ETUC Women’s Committee issued a statement and called on the President of the EU Council, Charles Michel, to adopt the pending proposal for a Council Decision authorising Member States to ratify C190. Likewise, Esther Lynch, deputy General Secretary of the ETUC, made a video statement to underpin the importance for all Members States to #RatifyC190.   

After the approval of the ratification of C190 in the parliament, the Senate (see here) has approved on 28 October as well the ratification of C190. Thus, on 8 November a law authorising  the ratification of C190 was instated. CGT France urges the government to strengthen the current labour code to ensure the effective implementation of C190, including protections for victims of domestic violence from dismissal (in alignment with ILO recommendation 206).  Furthermore, on 25 November the CGT will call on employers in all workplaces to implement workplace policies on violence and harassment. A few months earlier, CFDT, CGT, FO and the CFE-CGC sent a collective call to the government for an “ambitious ratification” (see here) of Convention 190 and to consult the social partners about the necessary legislative or regulatory changes, as well as the impact study in relation to the ratification of C190. It formed part of vigorous campaign – in cooperation with Care France, Action Aid France, Human Rights watch and Avaaz as well as feminist movements. Impact study of CGT, Action Aid France and Care France + Op ed of Human Rights Watch + Call to action by CGT, Action Aid and Care France.

UGT’s Deputy Secretary General, Cristina Antoñanzas, demanded the ratification of ILO Convention 189, on domestic workers, and ILO Convention 190, on violence and harassment and their effective implementation, during a national conference and stated that it is a priority to act against gender-based violence and harassment in collective bargaining

ActionAid Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Men’s Development Network have joined forces to push for the prompt passage of new laws protecting workers – most particularly women – from harassment and abuse. They urged the Irish Government’s ratification of C190 without delay. Clare Moore, ICTU Equality Officer stated that the trade union movement has played an important role:  “Together with employers and governments, trade unions were instrumental in the negotiation of this ground breaking convention at the ILO in 2019. Since then, Congress has repeatedly urged the Government to act to protect workers against harassment, violence and abuse by ratifying the Convention.” - Action Aid’s petition calls on the government of Ireland to #ratifyC190!
Following an inquiry, a report was submitted  to the Labour Minister indicating that the current Swedish law is compatible with ILO Convention 190, while proposing several measures to further strengthen the  law.“ Nobody should be subjected to sexual harassment. Neither at work, nor at school nor in private. In Sweden, #metoo has hit almost all professional groups who have testified about discrimination and abuse in the workplace. Combating violence and harassment in the world of work is an important issue for the government. “ says Labour Minister Eva Nordmark.

TUC welcomed the next steps made in the ratification process with the  announcement by Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey that the UK government will lay the text of C190, in the form of a Command Paper in both Houses together with an Explanatory Memorandum stating the Government’s proposal that the UK should ratify it. If no objections are raised over the next weeks, the  Government will proceed with the ratification. The Government states that it has the legal framework in place to ratify C190,  including civil and criminal law provisions, as well as occupational health and safety law. However, it plans to further strengthen its law and policies with the requirement for employers to take steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment and introducing explicit protections for employees from harassment by third parties, for example customers or clients. - During the NASUWT’s Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference, the Union called on the UK Government to take action to end the scourge of sexism, misogyny and sexual violence and harassment and to ratify C190. Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:“The Covid pandemic has seen a significant increase in violence against women, including the murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard. (…) Schools and colleges are not immune, as we have seen shocking evidence of daily sexual assaults, including inappropriate touching, sexually explicit and derogatory comments, sexting and upskirting targeting girls and women teachers. (…) More than one in three women have experienced sexual violence, and Black women are disproportionately more likely to be subject to sexual violence and assault.”

In collaboration with ActionAid International, CARE and International Women’s Rights Action Watch - Asia Pacific have initiated a dedicated #RatifyC190 campaign website (link to the website) and 21 June, the second anniversary of the adoption of C190, they organised a webinar, released a social media package and launched a petition. See the weblink here.  
Felix Anthony, National Secretary of the FTUC and General Secretary of National Union of Workers (NUW) shares about the role of Fijian trade unions in ending violence and harassment in the world of work in thisILO coverage and video clip (25 June, 2021)
ACTU joined gender equality advocates to condemn the Morrison Government’s response to sexual harassment and made four demands concerning what the Federal Government should be doing to immediately make workplaces safer. These include  changes in health and safety laws, the Fair Work Act,  for the Sex Discrimination Act to provide real protections against sexual harassment and to ensure employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace (April). Press release  + Statement +  Press Conference.
At their symposium (July), JTUC-RENGO underscored the importance of creating a dignified international society free from violence and harassment. It renewed its commitment to create an enabling environment to expedite the ratification of the C190. Read more here and the related statement.
ILO Mongolia launched its social media campaign in support of the ratification of C190.  
The ILO C190 action group - comprised of focal points of the government, employers’ organisations and trade unions (launched in February 2021)- organises training sessions and meetings to enhance their understanding of (gender-based) violence and harassment in the world of work including through case studies and to develop recommendations for law, policy and institutional reforms. Related quotes from NTUC and ANTUF, more quotes from unions, governments and employers and coverage of a three-day training session can be found here.    
The Pakistan Workers Federation and the ITUC-Asia Pacific have launched a campaign in Pakistan for the ratification of ILO Convention C190 to end gender-based violence and harassment. Covered in the news (May)
The House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Employment approved a House resolution calling for the ratification of C190. The resolution was filed by a TUCP Party list Representative and other leaders. **** The Leaders Forum, composed of key employer groups and ITUC-AP affiliates, sent a joint letter to the Department of Labour and Employment, signifying their commitment to actively participate in the ratification process of C190. You can read the article here.
Jordania Ureña Lora, secretary of Social Policies of TUCA  “Harassment manifests itself in different ways and in different contexts, deprives people of their dignity and is incompatible with decent work and social justice. Persistent inequalities and demographic changes, as well as changes in work organisation and technological developments, can further exacerbate violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment ”.

In March 2021, CUT Chile – with the support of FES Chile - organised a series of three training sessions on the ILO Convention 190. The recordings of all the trainings have been made available on CUT’s website.

In September 2021, the Ministry of Labour organised an event on C190 and gender perspectives, with the participation of trade union representatives. The Ministry highlighted that violence and harassment in the world of work affect people's psychological, physical and sexual health, their dignity, and their family and social environment. 

At the C190 Forum in September, staggering facts were revealed on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work, underpinning the urgency to ratify C190: 54% of women workers encountered sexual harassment at work and 95,000 women workers resigned due to a lack of support and protection mechanisms.  Present at the C190 Forum were specialists, secretaries of state and ministers of the SCJN who urged the Mexican Senate to ratify C190 and stated that women are the vast majority of those affected by violence and harassment, while the perpetuators remain unpunished. *** Leader of domestic workers union, Marcelina Bautista, identified 17 forms of violence and harassment in the world of work, encountered by domestic workers.

Isabel Guzmán of Convergencia Sindical urged the government to proceed with the ratification of C190. The next step in the process is to pass on the instruments to the General Assembly, which has been pending since 2019.
In August 2021, the Minister of Labour discussed C190, as well labour rights, collective bargaining and health and safety at work,  with the representatives from the 4 national trade union confederations – CGTP, CTP, CATP and CUT.
ASI Venezuela celebrated the next steps in the ratification process of C190.
Members of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of TUC (GTPCWU of TUC – Ghana) have called on the government and other stakeholders to ensure the ratification of C190. Women and youth participants proposed that aspects of C190 be included in the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), which is currently being reviewed as the country awaits ratification of the Convention. Campaigners also recommended that collective bargaining agreements be aligned with the provisions of C190.

In response to continued delays of the government to ratify C190 while the current law does not provide any adequate legal protections and punitive measures for perpetrators, the head of ZCTU’s legal, education, and gender department, Fiona Magaya, urged the government to ratify C190 and stated that “As ZCTU, we are demanding the urgent amendment of Section 8 of the Labour Act to incorporate proper definition and types of sexual harassment, protection and right to compensation for victims and punitive measures for perpetrators.”   - The ILO, in cooperation with the UN, organised a session during which they called on employers to eliminate sexual harassment and gender-based violence at the workplace. The ILO director for Zimbabwe and Namibia, Holopane Phororo, stated that “There are many forms of harassment at work, ranging from sexual, verbal, physical, financial and emotional and some people fail to report these cases because of fear of losing their jobs.”

NLC urges the government to #RatifyC190: Workers in the country have been leading campaigns, drawing government attention to the rising cases of Gender Based Violence in workplaces. Recent research conducted by the NLC women commission, had identified market spaces in Nigeria as a hotbed for all sorts of gender based violence ranging from physical, sexual assault to bullying and sexual harassment. The Mile 12 market was identified as one of the informal economy worksites in Lagos where gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) is prevalent due to the precarious nature of work as well as patriarchal and sociocultural stereotypes existing within our society. Other NLC activities: NLC kicks against gender-based violence in work places
+ ILO C190 suffers delay despite NLAC nod for ratification  *** The TUC, on the World Day For Decente Work, urged the government to ratifyC190.
Voice for Women and Girls’ Rights-Kenya (VWGR) has welcomed the government’s plan for working towards eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in workplaces by 2026. This follows an announcement last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta giving a committing to ratify and implement the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and harassment in the workplace by 2026.

In April, members of the ITUC affiliate - The Network of Women’s Committees of Togo (RECOFET) - participated in three days of comprehensive training on gender-based (sexual) violence and harassment in the world of work.  Supported by FES, the purpose of the workshops was to equip participants with the tools to raise awareness and advocate around issues concerning violence and harassment, to speak out when it is experienced or witnessed as well as to campaign and lobby for the ratification of C190. President of RECOFET Claudine Akakpo, described violence and harassment as a ‘scourge’ in Togolese society.
The Gabonese authorities have launched a helpline to facilitate the reporting of incidents of violence and harassment by survivors and witnesses. The new “1404” service is free, confidential, anonymous and operative 24/7. In addition to the hotline, there’s an accompanying web-based resource   to raise awareness around sexual, physical and moral violence and harassment and the importance of gender equality.

Since 2019, COFESYB-UITA and other union affiliates have launched a series of activities dedicated to combatting violence and harassment in the world of work. On 15-17 September 2021, a training workshop was organised to evaluate what has been done since the 2020 meeting and to develop strategies in the fight against violence and harassment in the world of work. According to UITA-Benin coordinator, Guillaume Tossa ‘We must act in the most determined way possible in businesses and administrations through education and targeted training that frees [workers] to speak; to break the silence. This will help put an end to impunity which emboldens perpetrators and potential perpetrators’. *** COSI Benin and CNV International organised earlier this year a capacity building session on C190.  

On 18 May 2021 the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) foundation, in collaboration with four major Burkinabé unions (CSB, CNTB, ONSL, USTB), held an opening ceremony for a workshop to strengthen the capacity of women leaders in popularising/raising awareness about Convention 190 and Recommendation 206.  Over the course of three days women trade union members would be trained in-depth on the ILO instruments.
Campaign updates from Allies
Global 16 Days Campaign will continue its programme activities to end gender-based violence (GBV) in the world of work by focusing on the link between domestic violence and the world of work, drawing on legal standards outlined in ILO Convention 190 (C190) and the actions put forward in Recommendation 206 (R206). To mark the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days Campaign, it will focus on the issue of “femicide or the gender-related killing of women.”
See as well: No recovery from COVID-19 Without informal women workers: perspectives on the relevance of C190 and C189.
Solidarity Centre: Trade unions and civil society organizations from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain who make up the Coalition for Women’s Rights and Dignity, launched earlier this the C190 petition – now signed by over 800 trade unions and civil society organisations. Add your voice to their call to #RatifyC190! You can sign here.
UN Women:   At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, the CEOs of Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter make commitments to tackle the abuse of women on their platforms. Prominent women around the world have signed this open letter recognising these historic promises and saying they must now lead to action. – 7 prominent women on why Tech companies need to fight online gender-based violence - and Frequently asked questions: The signs of relationship abuse and how to help
Webinars: 25 November: Women from 30 organisations across Asia and the Pacific including APWLD and the Asia Floor Wage are organising a RatifyC190 webinar. You can register here  - 1 December: Feminist Alliance for Rights FAR or a webinar ‘ Towards ratification of C190’.
By country:  Ghana: Action Aid launched the RatifyC190 campaign song and supported an event, organised by the Young Urban Women’s Movement during which traditional and religious leaders urged the government to ratify ILO C190. Check as well as their media coverage on the importance to ratifyC190 and here. Action Aid also provided training training to formal sector employers on C190  as well Domestic Workers Regulations with a special focus on violence and harassment. Bangladesh: Awaj Foundation is campaigning for the ratification of C190  - France: Op-ed of Human Rights Watch  - Uganda: Human Rights Watch on the government’s rejection of the sexual offences bill - Nepal: Streetnet published a case study on gender-based violence and home-based workers and a short video     
About the #RatifyC190 Campaign

ITUC and the Global Union Federations are leading the way with a pioneering campaign for the worldwide ratification of C190 and its effective implementation, including R206, to realise a world of work free from violence and harassment, in particular gender-based violence and harassment.  The campaign is supported by human and labour rights and feminist advocates including Human Rights Watch, ActionAid International, Oxfam, WECF, Solidarity Center and the Global 16 Days campaign.
ITUC #RatifyC190 campaign resources (available in English, Spanish and French): Global Union Federations - C190 campaign webpages 
UNI Global Union  * PSI * BWI  * EI  *  IFJ  * IndustriALL *  ITF  * IUF  * IDWF 
Share with us your lobbying and #RatifyC190 campaign updates at [email protected], including new developments in law and practice and collective bargaining agreements.  Share this newsletter ­­with your union, allies, networks and friends.