Global trade union movement launches toolkit in campaign to eradicate violence and harassment in the world of work

published 25 June 2021 updated 25 June 2021

As the International Labour Organization Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work comes into force on 25 June 2021, global unions launch toolkit to support the Convention and its Recommendation 206. The manual provides thousands of unions around the world with critical tools in the fight to eradicate violence and harassment.

The first international instruments against violence and harassment in the world of work

Affecting millions of workers globally, physical assault, bullying, sexual harassment, online abuse, economic violence and abusive work practices are some of the most widespread forms of violence in the world of work.

Thanks to intensive lobbying by trade unions and women groups across the world, Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 provide a foundation for trade unions, employers and other stakeholders to address violence and harassment in the world of work. The Convention and the Recommendation extend to all sectors – public and private – as well as the informal economy, and are the first international instruments of this kind.

Making Convention 190 a reality for all workers

The new toolkit aims to support unions to develop training programmes and workplace solutions that tackle violence and harassment, with a special focus on gender-based violence and harassment and ensure that violence is no longer considered “part of the job”. It is also a useful tool for trade unions campaigning for the ratification of Convention 190 in their countries.

Welcoming the toolkit, Susan Hopgood, Education International President, stated:

“Many years ago, the trade union movement set out to end violence and harassment in the world of work. Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 are a great victory for us all and especially for the women who spearheaded this movement. It is a great step forward but it's just the first. We now need to ensure every country ratifies and implements the Convention. We also need to work in our unions so that every union member becomes an agent of change. We must press on until we make this convention a reality for workers everywhere.”

The launch of the toolkit comes at a critical moment. Evidence shows that all types of violence against women and girls have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, making women workers especially vulnerable. A lack of policies and employer support to respond to and prevent this violence have led many women to develop anxiety, mental illness or resulted in decreased job performance and impacted women's revenue. Domestic violence, while taking place outside the workplace, can also have significant physiological and physical implications on abused workers. Moreover, intersecting discrimination creates another layer of inequalities that increases the risk of violence and harassment.

The toolkit features a facilitators’ guide and an activities workbook aiming to:

  • Encourage discussion about violence and harassment and gender-based violence in the world of work;
  • Raise awareness about Convention 190, its accompanying Recommendation 206 and its significance for workers – particularly women workers;
  • Encourage unions across the world to campaign for the ratification of Convention 190 and its effective implementation in line with Recommendation 206;
  • Encourage unions to use these instruments to integrate Convention 190 into the union bargaining agenda;
  • Build stronger unions to enable workers to assert their rights to a world of work free from violence and harassment.

The Toolkit was launched during a webinar on 25 June, with unionists from across the world in attendance.

Download the toolkit below!