Five things to know about the Committee on violence and harassment in the world of work

Five things to know about the Committee on violence and harassment in the world of work


Here are 5 things
you should know about the 2018 International
Labour Conference Committee on violence and harassment in the world of work: First of all, the ILO has embarked on a process geared towards the adoption of a possible
new standard or standards on violence and harassment in the world of work. These are meant to protect all workers,
whatever their occupation, and whether they work in the formal
or informal economy or in urban or rural areas. Secondly, cases of sexual
harassment against women have been making the headlines
in the past months. They have shown that violence is endemic, that no single country, industry
or organization is spared. It has made us realize what many women
around the world have to endure to obtain or keep a job, to get their salary paid, to be promoted or when commuting to work. But recent media attention
on sexual harassment has also triggered questions such as “What can help make things better?” and “What does it take to build violence
and harassment-free workplaces?” The task of this year’s ILC Committee is
precisely to negotiate a guiding framework on how to prevent and address effectively
violence and harassment at work. Third of all… Why is it important to prevent and eliminate violence and
harassment in the world of work? Because it is associated
with huge costs for individuals, families, enterprises and economies. It is a threat to the dignity, security,
health and well being of everyone. It is incompatible with decent work. It generates productivity and
profitability losses for enterprises, and damages their reputation. It may discourage members of certain groups
to enter and remain in the labour force or to engage in non-traditional
occupations that may pay better. Fourth, representatives from
the Ministries of Labour and employers’ and workers’ organizations
this June will be called upon to also decide whether the new instrument
or instruments should take the form of a Convention,
which is binding, or a Recommendation, which is non-binding but provides more practical guidance, or both. This first discussion will be followed
by a second and last discussion by the International Labour Conference in 2019 – which would hopefully result in
a new instrument or instruments. Finally, one of the challenges of the Committee
will be to ensure that the new instrument or instruments
will meet the current needs of the world of work, but will also be flexible enough to respond to the new risks concerning
violence and harassment that may stem from the on-going, profound changes in the organization
of production and work. This is timely and ground-breaking. Never before has the ILO
or any other international organization adopted a norm on violence and harassment
in the world of work. International Labour Organization (ILO)
2018

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