Women from the National Union of Miners in South Africa protest against sexual harassment and discrimination at a march in Johannesburg on 26 August 2017.

Proposed ILO convention on gender based violence - take action now!

06.09.2017

IndustriALL Global Union is calling on its affiliates to take action to support an ILO Convention on gender-based violence at work. 

Following a long-running campaign by the international trade union movement, the ILO Governing Body has placed an item on violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work on the agenda of the International Labour Conference in June 2018, with a view to the setting of an international labour standard.

Getting a binding rule would be a great victory, but it will not be easy and IndustriALL and its affiliates will have to work together to achieve it. It is very likely that employers’ associations and several governments will want to opt instead for a weak and non-binding guideline.  

Which is why we need you to take action now!

The ILO has recently sent member states a questionnaire to seek their views on the form (binding Convention or Recommendation) and content of the proposed ILO instruments, after consultation with the most representative organizations of workers and employers.

IndustriALL is calling on affiliates to:

  • Encourage and support their trade union national centres to respond to the questionnaire and send it back to the ILO and ITUC before 22 September;
  • Lobby their government to respond to the ILO questionnaire and support a binding Convention with a focus on preventing, addressing and remedying gender-based violence in the world of work.

There is still no law at the international level that sets a baseline for taking action to eradicate violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment, in the world of work. Existing standards do not define what is understood by violence or harassment, nor do they provide guidance on how to address its various forms. Only a few countries provide wide protection against violence and harassment in the world of work.

The eventual standard adopted by the ILO could be a binding instrument, known as a Convention; non-binding guidance, known as a Recommendation; or a Convention accompanied by a Recommendation.

IndustriALL Global Union together with the trade union movement is advocating for the adoption of a comprehensive ILO Convention supplemented by a Recommendation, with a strong focus on preventing, addressing and remedying gender-based violence in the world of work.

Although both men and women may experience violence and harassment in the workplace, unequal power relations in society and at work often make women more vulnerable to abuse. Gender-based violence is violence directed against any person based on their gender identity. Women, as well those who do not conform to dominant gender stereotypes or those who do not conform to socially accepted gender roles, are the main victims of gender-based violence.