World moves a step closer to ending violence and harassment at work

8 June 2018 – The global poverty-fighting organisation CARE International has welcomed the decision for a new International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on “Ending violence and harassment in the world of work” – following CARE’s #thisisnotworking campaign.

The agreement was made in Geneva at this year’s International Labour Conference between the ILO’s 187 member States.

During nearly two weeks of negotiations, governments, business and unions finally agreed on the need for a legally binding convention, meaning that in the future countries will have to adopt national legislation to tackle workplace violence and harassment. 

Glen Tarman, Global Head of Policy and Advocacy at CARE International, said:

CARE welcomes the agreement to establish the first-ever global treaty to end violence and harassment. It has the potential to change the lives of millions of women and girls who suffer disproportionate levels of abuse at work, often in the lowest paid and most hazardous jobs.

That there will be an ILO Convention is a testament to the voices being raised worldwide for everyone to be safe from violence and harassment at work – from Hollywood to the world’s most exploited people. CARE and partners are proud to have played a part in campaigning for this new treaty.

Lenny Quiroz, General Secretary of Domestic Workers Union of Ecuador, a partner of CARE said:

I learned so much being in Geneva for this year’s ILO negotiations on violence and harassment at work and know that my advocacy needs to continue with my government. They need to know and understand us. 

The ILO, the UN agency that sets standards for the world of work, will have further consultations in the year ahead before governments gather again next June to negotiate the final text.

Tarman continued:

Now we have a year to make sure that the strongest possible treaty and guidance is agreed – and to ensure that the largest number of countries agrees to ratify and make it a reality.

  • CARE is strongly encouraged by the agreed upon ILO Convention text which defines violence and harassment in the world of work progressively, with a strong gender dimension and underlines an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to ending violence and harassment related to work.
  • CARE strongly welcomes that the ILO Convention is about the world of work beyond the physical workplace such as the commute to work, ‘the home’ when that is a place of work, or the place where the worker takes meals.  
  • CARE welcomes the recognition by governments that there is a link between domestic violence and the world of work and the ILO Convention text sets out a commitment for measures that can contribute to ending domestic violence.
  • CARE believes it is very important that governments agreed the ILO Convention covers all workers everywhere – for example, in the formal and informal economy, and in urban and rural areas. Violence and harassment in the world of work in the ILO Convention is set out including public and private spaces where they are a place of work, which is critical for domestic workers and others. 

Tarman said: 

CARE is pleased to see business beginning to come out in support of the ILO Convention. CARE calls on progressive business voices worldwide to actively support a strong treaty and robust guidelines and to ensure employers play a positive role in the negotiations to June 2019 so they are on the right side of history in forging a landmark global agreement to end violence and harassment in the world of work. Workers in global supply chains are at risk of violence and harassment due to pressure for quick turnarounds and low overheads, be it for fast fashion or supermarkets. Companies need to understand how to tackle violence and harassment in their complex supply chains.

Background:

  • Pressure for agreement at the ILO has grown due to the #Metoo movement but this agreement is testament to all the campaigning around the world by trade unions, women’s organisations and NGOs. CARE’s global #ThisIsNotWorking campaign was one such effort to build pressure which saw over 125,000 people signing a CARE letter calling for international standards to end violence and harassment at work.
  • The ILO, the UN agency that sets standards for the world of work, will have further consultations in the year ahead before countries gather again at the annual International Labour Conference – the highest decision-making body of the ILO - in Geneva from 10 to 21 June 2019 to negotiate the final text of the agreement. 

This year an initial text of the legally-binding Convention was approved but negotiators ran out of time to review most of an associated Recommendation – the detailed voluntary guidelines for its implementation at the national level.    

  • A legally binding ILO Convention to end violence and harassment at work offers a golden opportunity to turn #MeToo and #Timesup into meaningful global change. Currently one third of countries have no legislation to tackle violence and harassment at work. 
  • Around the world, CARE works to educate and empower women to advocate for workplace rights. From domestic workers in Ecuador to factory workers in Cambodia, women are fighting for safety and respect. CARE is committed to supporting citizens to raise their voices for the most progressive global treaty and to act in solidarity with women everywhere to end workplace violence and harassment.
  • CARE continues to underline that it is critical that women play a major role in consultations around the ILO Convention and its guidelines, as well as in its long-term implementation in national law and regulations, and in engagement with implementation, enforcement and remediation authorities and employers. CARE calls for deliberate action by governments, employers, trade unions and civil society to ensure that women can play a strong, meaningful role and that their voices are heard and acted upon.

ABOUT CARE
CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org and www.care-international.org.

Spokespersons are available upon request.

Media contact:

Emily Wight, Senior Press Officer (Programmes and Policy), +442070916063, wight@careinternational.org 

Ruby Wright, Press and PR Manager: +442080916047, wright@careinternational.org 

Back to media releases