Stop gender-based violence in the world of work – Ratify ILO Convention 190!
ITUC Campaign Newsletter 5 -  September 2019

Historic adoption of Violence and Harassment Convention at centenary International Labour Conference (ILC)

On 21 June 2019, trade unions and allies around the globe celebrated the historic adoption of an international law on violence and harassment in the world of work: ILO Convention No. 190 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 206. With a majority for the adoption of both C190 and R206, governments, workers and employers at the International Labour Organization (ILO) have clearly signaled that violence and harassment is NOT part of the job!

The new Convention affirms everyone’s right to a world of work free of violence and harassment. It takes an inclusive and integrated approach, extending protection to all workers whether in the formal or informal economy and irrespective of their contractual status and including jobseekers, trainees, interns, apprentices and volunteers. The Convention also makes it clear that violence and harassment involving third parties – whether they are clients, customers, patients, or members of the public – must be considered and addressed. For workers whose jobs involve dealing with the public and in public space, this recognition is extremely important.

Important links:

ILO video: What is Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at Work? A brief explainer of the ILO's new Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at Work. What does it say and how will it protect workers and employers from violence and harassment? 

Ratify C190 now!

The next important step is to ensure wide ratification of C190. A minimum of two countries must ratify before the Convention can come into force. The governments of Argentina, Belgium, France, Iceland, Ireland, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and Uruguay have already indicated that they aim to ratify C190 as soon as possible. But we need to make this happen – and to lobby many more governments to follow suit. Please check below for more “news and updates” and share with us your campaign, lobby and/or advocacy updates at [email protected].  The ITUC will be producing a series of materials to help assist unions in their ratification and implementation campaigns, so watch out for those!

News and updates

           Updates on ratification of ILO Convention C190 (until August 2019):            More union news: Please let us know of your own campaign: Contact and sign up to our email list: [email protected]   


ITUC ‘s Global Campaign:
Aims at the wide ratification of ILO Convention 190 and its effective implementation (including ILO Recommendation 206) to realise a world of work free from violence and harassment with a strong focus on the elimination of gender-based violence.  For more information, have a look at the ITUC campaign webpage  and  Facebook page  or contact [email protected].                            
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Media coverage around the globe of the adoption of ILO Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206

Trade unions

  •  ITUC: “The landmark Convention against violence and harassment at work is the culmination of an exceptional campaign for this new global standard, and efforts will now turn to ensuring that it is ratified by governments and put into action.  -  ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
  • Canadian Labour Congress (CLC): A historic step towards greater protections for workers around the world - English French  “It is a historic day,” said CLC’s Secretary-Treasurer Marie Clarke Walker, who served as Worker Vice-Chair for the negotiations. “We set out to draft a standard that would stand the test of time, that would carry us forward into the next century of the ILO, and would meet the challenges of the future world of work.”  
  • Netherlands: FNV, CNV and the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF): ILO  takes historic step against violence in the workplace  - English “FWF will . . . 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.”   
  • Global: International Transport Federation (ITF):  ITF hails historic conventionEnglish   Spanish FrenchThe chair of the ITF women transport workers’ committee Diana Holland said: “This historic new global standard must mean action to end and prevent violence and harassment in the world of work. The new legal instrument must mean lasting change for working people and their families. The lives of ITF union members, and in particular women transport workers, will be improved as a direct result.”   
  • Global: Public Services Union (PSI): The Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work is a reality  - English, Spanish The success of this initiative in the fight to eliminate gender-based violence at work is due to several years of hard work by women trade unionists, starting at the ILO in 2015 and now rewarded by a new international instrument that deals with violence and harassment in a comprehensive way that includes everyone in the world of work.”   
  • Global: UNI Global Union: Historic victory in battle for gender equality: ILO Convention to End Violence and Harassment in the Workplace adopted - English Spanish French“UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman said: ‘Make no mistake this is a historic moment and a major victory for women and equality. Forty years ago, you would  never have imagined this convention as a global standard, but thanks to the tireless work of trade unions, women’s organisations and other enlightened groups we have finally delivered a legacy for our daughters.’ ”   
  • Global: Education International (EI)  2019 Centenary International Labour Conference adopts new Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work - English  French “Brand new Convention 190 is ground-breaking in its inclusiveness: all workers and actors in the world of work are covered, irrespective of whether they work on a contractual basis, are  individuals exercising the authority of an employer, or are jobseekers, trainees, interns, apprentices or volunteers. And it extends to all sectors – public and private – as well as the informal economy which comprises more than 60% of workers.”    
  • Global: IndustriALL: We did it! New Ilo Convention on violence and harassment at work  English French Spanish Russian “The adoption of the Convention and Recommendation is a huge victory for workers and the trade union movement, which has been fighting for years to get an international labour instrument to address gender-based violence (GBV) in the world of work. The new Convention No. 190 represents an extraordinary opportunity for the trade union to move their fight against GBV forward.”   
  • Global: International Federation of Journalist (IFJ): IFJ hails ILO adoption of a Convention on violence and harassment at workplace - English “The IFJ has made harassment in the newsrooms, including gender-based violence, a campaigning priority. Urgent action is needed: our statistics demonstrate that at least one in every two journalists has suffered sexual harassment, psychological abuse, online trolling and other forms of human rights abuses.”   
  •  Global: Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World Wide (IUF): It’s our victory – ILO adopts new global standards to combat violence and harassment in the world of work - English“A particularly hard fought battle was the successful push to ensure that the Convention recognised the impact of domestic violence in the world of work. It also calls for concrete measures in response, including through collective bargaining.”   
  •  Global: Building and Woodworkers International (BWI): Breakthrough ILO standards on Violence and Harassment Convention adopted English French Spanish“BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, who had called for the adoption of the Convention and Recommendation in his remarks to the International Labour Conference, stated: ‘This is a historic breakthrough not only because it covers violence and harassment at the workplace as a rights issue subject to international law, but also because it reflects remarkable progress in attitudes in recent years.’  ‘There was a time when damage to health and injuries on the job were considered by many as just being part of working. Similarly, violence and harassment at work has been, for a very long time, in the shadows and workers, especially women workers, put up with it because they did not see a way out. The centenary International Labour Conference has shined the light of day on these shameful and unacceptable, but all too common practices.’ ”   
  • Regional: European Trade Union Congress (ETUC): New ILO Convention gives right to work without violence and harassment - English French “Everyone should have the right to earn a living without fear of violence or harassment,” said Per Hilmersson, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), “and employers should have a clear duty to create transparent and clear procedures to prevent violence and harassment, to support the victim and deal with the perpetrator appropriately. Now the battle will be to make sure that each state ratifies and puts the Convention into clear and effective national law.”
  • New international labour standard to combat violence, harassment, at work agreed - English Spanish French Russian  “ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed the adoption. ‘The new standards recognise the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment,’ he said. ‘The next step is to put these protections into practice, so that we create a better, safer, decent, working environment for women and men. I am sure that, given the co-operation and solidarity we have seen on this issue, and the public demand for action, we will see speedy and widespread ratifications and action to implement.’ ” 
  • Human Right Watch: ILO: New Treaty to Protect Workers from Violence, Harassment,  Governments Should Ratify to Ensure Safer World of Work. – English “Many workers face violence not only in the four walls of an office or factory, but on their commutes to work, at social events, or while dealing with customers or other third parties,” Begum said.
  • Reuters: U.N. Labor Body Adopts #MeToo Pact Against Violence at Work – English "No-one should be expected to endure any form of gender-based violence and harassment when they come to work - whether it is persistent comments and jokes, leering, sexist remarks, groping or worse," said Marie Clarke, the workers' vice-chair. "Sadly, this is the reality for too many workers.”
  • Guardian - Move to end sexual harassment at work hailed as 'milestone for women's rights' -  English 
  • Euronews: U.N. labour body adopts #MeToo pact against violence at work  English