ITUC Campaign Newsletter 9: December  2020
In this newsletter:
  • Join the collective call for the wide ratification of C190 and the 2020 Global 16 Days Campaign
  • Argentina completes national ratification process
  • C190 campaign updates from unions and allies across the world
  • Updates from the ILO
Watch the #RatifyC190 video clip available in English, Spanish and French
Unions around the world celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by calling on all governments to ratify ILO Convention 190 and ensure its effective implementation in line with ILO Recommendation 206. 
ITUC Online: 'Uruguay and Fiji have led by example, becoming the first two countries to ratify the Convention. Argentina is set to become the third. Now more governments must follow suit!'
Argentina will soon complete ratification. Thanks to an allied union campaign, the legislative plenary voted with a vast majority for the ratification of C190 on 11 November. As soon as the government deposits the instrument with the ILO, the ratification of C190 will be official and Argentina will become the third country to ratify C190! The ITUC regional organisation TUCA celebrated this achievement, stating that in Argentina there is jurisprudence that recognises violence and harassment at work as a breach of employer obligations and violation of human rights. However, C190 establishes a clear framework to effectively prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work.  

Chile is on track to ratify C190. After an extensive social media and advocacy campaign,  CUT Chile celebrated on 13 November the majority vote of the Chamber of Deputies for a resolution asking the Chilean President,  Sebastián Piñera,  to ratify ILO Convention 190. In Italy, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the bill for the  ratification of C190 on 23 September and is now moving forward to the next step in the ratification process: the Senate. More countries are in the process of ratifying C190, such as Mongolia, Ireland,  South Africa and Spain, and many unions around the world are determined to secure ratification of C190 as soon as possible. 

Join the ITUC, Global Unions and allies, including Human Rights Watch and the  2020 Global 16 Days Campaign, and call on your government to ratify C190. You can join us by:  
  • Sharing the ITUC #RatifyC190 video clip and #RatifyC190 Campaign Toolkit with your union, allies and on social media;
  • Circulating a sign-on letter, statement or petition, or send a letter to your government (download the sample letter here);
  • Launching a social media platform to share campaign updates and workers’ stories underpinning the critical importance of ratifying C190;  
  • Engaging a broad coalition or alliance for a call to action to ratify C190;   
  • Organising #RatifyC190 webinars and information sessions to raise awareness on C190 and R206 and build a deeper understanding on how the ratification of C190 paves the way for shaping a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.
The newly released ILO ACTRAV video clip “Violence and harassment during and after COVID-19 lockdown measures” discusses how unions can eradicate violence and harassment in the world of work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian

The ILO released a new report  ‘Safe and healthy working environments free from violence and harassment’
(in English, French and Spanish) and a blog ‘A better normal must mean tackling workplace violence and harassment’.

Campaign updates from around the world


Global Unions join the call to action for 25 November and the Global 16 Days Campaign.  IndustriALLfocuses on domestic violence within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; and IFJ calls for the following: to end impunity, to secure the safety of journalists, and to #Ratify C190’.

IFJ: Press release, in response to the murder of the female journalist Shaheena Shaheen, in Pakistan. IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The IFJ is saddened by the tragic killing of female journalist and gender equality advocate Shaheena Shaheen. Her murder, allegedly by her husband, highlights the complex, multi-layered challenges faced by women in media in Pakistan, where they are too often not safe on the street or in their place of work, but also at home. This is a tragedy for the struggle for gender equity and the all too evident greater struggle against gender-based violence. Our thoughts go to her grieving family at this time."  
IUF: As reported on the new IUF website, IUF has negotiated six agreements with global corporations covering workers in 54 countries as part of IUF’s fight to end the epidemic of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the world of work.  

Education International: Reports that “In light of the Tunisian government’s silence on carrying out the ratification procedures for Convention 190, the education trade unions affiliated to the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) are cooperating to push the Tunisian government to ratify the Convention.”  Trade union actions include awareness-raising campaigns, advocacy and mobilisation, monitoring violations and recording the cases of violence and harassment in the workplace, introducing a support centre for victims of violence and harassment, preparing and completing periodic reports for the Tunisian government and the International Labour Organization, and pushing to include the provisions of C190 as clauses in collective bargaining agreements (9 November, available in English, Spanish and French). 

PSI: Welcomed Argentina’s majority vote of the Chamber of Deputies for the ratification of C190 on 11 November.  

ITF: Indian transport unions -  Report: Domestic violence is a workplace issue says ground-breaking Indian study (29 September 2020). "The report’s findings are clear: domestic violence is a workplace issue, and it’s time that governments, employers, unions and civil society organisations establish proactive practices, agreements and legislation to address the impact of domestic violence at work.” Sheela Naikwade, vice president of ITF affiliated union MSTKS, India.
“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can no longer be tolerated. This hate, this intolerance, this form of violence divides us and weakens us. LGBTI persons must have the equal protections and the same rights and protections as everyone else. Diversity and inclusion are big assets to unions and to workplaces. They provide us with the richness of different perspectives and approaches. They teach us about tolerance and respect. These are core trade union values which we hope will be supported in this joint project by global unions.”
Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, on the occasion of the launch of the Council of Global Unions (CGU) website for LGBTI workers.

Campaign updates by region


Spain: UGT and CCOO released a manifesto on 12 November urging the Spanish governement to ratify ILO Conventions 190 and 189 and asking all workers and the public to join the mobilisations on 25 November.  Both union organisations warn that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, women face increased risks of being exposed to gender-based violence while facing obstacles in accessing adequate support services. A UGT article on 11 September, referring to the outcomes of a 2019 government survey on violence against women, reveals that one out of two women have been impacted by violence (57.3%) and 40% of women by sexual harassment,  throughout their lives,  while 17.3% of sexual harassment assaults were workplace-related.

Ireland: ICTU has written to the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, urging early ratification of  C190 (7 September).  ICTU hosted a webinar on 2 October where Marie Clarke Walker (CLC Canada) shared her perspective on C190 and the importance of gaining widespread ratification and Fiona Ward, representing the Department of Enterprise and Employment during the ILO negotiations, spoke about Ireland's ratification plans. Testimony: Two years of harassment at UDC: “She was frightened of being alone on campus and unnerved almost to the point of abandoning her successful academic career. This was the reality of workplace harassment for one of Ireland’s best-known academic figures.” (5 September)
Italy: UIL, in cooperation with the ILO office for Italy and San Marino, organised a webinar on C190 and R206 on 27 October.
Ukraine:  FPU and KVPU gathered to discuss the next steps of the #RatifyC190 campaign in Ukraine and strategise, together with the Solidarity Centre and experts from the ILO office for Ukraine.
France: CGT, CARE, ActionAid and Attac formed an alliance calling for the ratification of C190. The alliance organised an online webinar on the social media platform ‘NousTout’  (1 October). CGT has published a comprehensive (116-page) guide: "Combat gender-based violence and sexual harassment” (Combatre les violences sexistes and sexuelles) and announced two mobilisations on 21 and 25 November on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


Regional: TUCA Women’s Committee declaration calls for a gender-responsive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the ratification of ILO Convention 190 stating that “women workers in the informal economy are at an increased risk to face violence and harassment in the world of work since they are not covered by labour law, earn poor wages, lack access to social protection and face unsafe working conditions”.  Available in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese

Chile: The progress made with the ratification process of C190 in Chile was preceded by  months of intense campaigning. In October, CUT’s #ratificarC190 social media campaign and platforms on Facebook and Twitter urged the government to ratify C190 while this was being covered in national media (see for example: Dario Financiero - 19 October). In August,  CUT’s president,  Bárbara Figueroa, spoke during the seminar ‘Towards the ratification of ILO Convention C190’,  underpinning the importance of pressuring the government to ratify C190, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated levels of domestic violence and violence and harassment at work. (28 August –  you can watch the recording of the seminar here).

Argentina: On 11 November, unions celebrated the government’s majority vote for the ratification of C190. The alliance La Red Nacional Intersindical contra la Violencia Laboral , which unites unions across the country, is organising an International conference “A world of work free from violence and harassment” from 5 to 26 November. CTA-A organised a webinar on C190 in cooperation with PIT-CNT Uruguay on 24 September and a public webinar on 14 November to raise awareness on the importance of C190.

Canada: The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) released a new report entitled ‘Domestic Violence and the Workplace: How Non-Canadian Jurisdictions Have Implemented Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence. Building on past work by NUPGE on domestic violence and the workplace in Canada, the report provides critical commentary on various protections that have been used elsewhere around the world, highlighting existing gaps and good practices that may provide lessons for the Canadian context. 

Ecuador: The Commission of Sovereignty, Integration, International Relations and Integral Security of the National Assembly initiated a debate on C190 where Rosa Aguilar, coordinator of the ISP National Women's Committee and other union representatives spoke about the importance of C190. 
Morocco: Touriya Lahrech of CDT called on the government in the upper house of parliament to respond to the rise of gender-based violence in the world of work (28 October 2020, video on Twitter).   
Tunisia: UGTT urged government and employers to respect the rights of the country’s 160,000 textile workers, including the right to organise for a world of work free from gender-based violence and harassment. The vast majority of the garment workers are young women, and many have lost their jobs and incomes during the COVID-19 pandemic (5 September, article Solidarity Center).
On the National Women’s Day (16 August), UGTT called upon the government to #RatifyC190.   
DRC Congo:  PSI affiliate SOLSICO called for a three-day strike after two nurses were brutally raped, called on the Public Health Minister to put in place mechanisms to ensure that such an incident never occurs again, and called for ratification of C190. Gender Based Violence in the DRC is at very high levels, and many women suffer from the lifelong consequences (21 September, article PSI).

Niger and Benin: On 12 September, CNT Niger and COSI Benin organised a discussion  on the fight against violence and harassment in the world of work within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  (12 September).

Tanzania: Government representatives, unions and other stakeholders met on November 12 and 13 in Arusha to discuss measures on the first ILO standards that address violence and harassment in the workplace

Senegal: On 10 November, CNTS and IUF launched a campaign for the ratification of C190 during which the director of social protection at the Ministry of Labor, Fatoumata Dramé Diakhaté, argued that violence and harassment have a negative impact on the organisation of work, workers, workers’ productivity, and the reputation of businesses. 
Rose Omamo, general secretary of the Kenyan Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers
Benin: On 2 October, COSI  met with journalists to discuss ways to raise public awareness on the existing national law on violence against women (2011 – 26)  and the contents of C190 and R206 and to raise awareness of the problem of gender-based violence.  

South Africa: In October, unions submitted comments on the draft code of good practice on the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace that was published by the department of Employment and Labour in August. // The union MISA published a guidance which assists survivors of gender-based violence: Gender based Violence, it’s everybody’s business!! (29 September). 

Mali: Women trade unionists from UNTM and CSTM are campaigning for the ratification of  C190 and organised a national forum with the participation of employers, the government and unions, and supported by CNV Netherlands. (29 October)

Australia: ACTU launched a petition, addressed to Attorney General Christian Porter and Minister for Women Marise Payne, calling on the Australian government to ratify ILO Violence and Harassment Convention now!
Mongolia: CMTU included the ratification of C190 in its proposal for the new tripartite national agreement due in November. This was preceded by CMTU’s month-long information campaign on C190 in June 2020, supported by the ILO and the European Union.
New Zealand: The Labour government, which won a landslide victory in the election in October, promised to deliver on ratification of C190 in their campaign manifesto.
Thailand: SERC is leading the campaign in Thailand for the ratification of C190. The government included the ratification of C190 at the recent review of the decent work country program, and a law and practice report is being developed with the support from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls. Earlier this year, representatives of trade unions, employers and the government met to discuss C190 and R206.

2020 Global 16 Days Campaign: The campaign is committed for a second year to push for the ratification of C190. This year has a special focus on the informal economy and includes the release of a social media kit, an advocacy guide and digital events map. In their blog post, they elaborate on a UN OHCHR report “Women’s human rights in a changing world of work’’, which draws attention to human rights concerns in relation to women workers, including in the informal economy, and the importance of ratifying C190 and C189.
Human Rights Watch:  The India HRW report ‘No #MeToo for Women Like Us’: Poor enforcement of India’s Sexual Harassment law’ states that the Indian government’s failure to properly enforce its sexual harassment law leaves millions of women in the workplace exposed to abuse without remedy. The government should urgently ensure compliance with its 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act or Posh Act.  The report’s recommendation includes the ratification of C190. Related article: Women at Risk of Sexual Abuse at Work, Poorly Enforced Laws Leave Informal Workers No Recourse. Bangladesh: HRW report “I Sleep in My Own Deathbed”: Violence against Women and Girls’, reveals how women and girls are facing increased domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights long-term systemic barriers to legal recourse, protection, and social services. Related article: Pivotal moment to stop violence against women. (29 October)
WIEGO: A new briefing note, ‘Violence and informal work’, highlights how C190 and R206 can be used by informal workers’ organisations to address the violence and harassment informal workers experience in trying to secure their livelihoods.  
              Shawna Bader-Blau, director of the Solidarity Center                            
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 campaign resources: 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.
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