16 January, 2020Uruguay is the first country in the world to ratify the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 190, which recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation.
The new Convention and Recommendation were adopted at the International Labour Conference in June, 2019. The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment are a threat to equal opportunities and are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.
The government of Uruguay submitted the ratification bill to Parliament in September 2019, and the House of Representatives unanimously adopted the bill on 17 December 2019, making Uruguay the first ILO Member State to ratify C190.
"As it has now ratified the ILO Convention, Uruguay will have to adopt an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. This will apply to both the private and public sectors, to the formal and informal economy, and in both urban or rural areas,"
said an official statement released by the Office of the President of Uruguay.
The statement also said that legislation will require employers to take appropriate steps to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work.
The ratification process was facilitated by the fact that Uruguay already has laws in place to address some of the issues covered by C190, such as legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace and concerning student-teacher relationships, as well as on gender-based violence against women.
In November last year, IndustriALL Global Union launched a campaign to encourage affiliates to work together to ensure the ratification of the Convention and incorporation into domestic law.
Through the gender office of Uruguay's central union PIT-CNT, IndustriALL's affiliates in Uruguay were actively involved in the tripartite talks on the ratification process.
Gender office representative and UNTMRA member Fernanda Ceballos says on the recent ratification:
"We promoted the ratification of C190 in Uruguay from the gender equality and diversity office of PIT-CNT. We have worked on the issue of sexual harassment and zero tolerance of violence in the workplace for a long time, and we are very aware of the issue of raising awareness with the different unions through workshops on gender violence.
"In turn, we work on gender clauses, in conjunction with companies and the labour ministry. Once C190 was ratified, we held assemblies with UNTMRA to inform people of its scope. Many workers affiliated with UNTMRA have faced of sexual harassment at work, so we believe that ratification is very important to fight for a world of violence-free work.”
IndustriALL's regional secretary, Marino Vani, says:
"Convention 190 is an important tool for fighting discrimination and inequality in the workforce. We congratulate our affiliates in Uruguay for their tireless efforts to tackle gender-based violence, and the government for ratifying the new convention, which will help to create a world of work that is free of violence and harassment."