BWI contributed to the recently published ILO Report titled ‘Violence and Harassment against Women and Men in the World of Work: Trade Union Perspectives and Action’.
Ambet Yuson, Secretary General stated, “This Report comes at the right time when gender-based violence is a priority for BWI’s work and paves the way for trade unions to influence the international debate on this important topic. The BWI shared experiences of affiliates in India, Italy, Canada, Argentina and the Philippines who are actively putting strategies in place to address the issue.”
Fatimah Mohammad, Chair of BWI’s International Women’s Committee highlighted, “It is important that we all gather our actions to support the international campaign to achieve an international standard on gender-based violence.”
The Report documents what trade unions can do and their key roles in preventing and addressing violence and harassment at work. It shows how the issue features in national union policy and bargaining agendas, collective agreements and campaigns, as well as in International Framework Agreements (IFAs). The Report aims to share learning and best practices in a systematic approach, and to inform trade unions in building a strong position at the International Labour Conference in 2018 so that a standard-setting item on violence against women and men in the world of work can be developed.
By documenting various cases, including five cases from BWI affiliates, the Report gathers ample evidence that trade union negotiations, campaigns and advocacy are having a positive effect in eliminating violence and harassment at work. But also, they are redefining traditional conceptions of the ‘workplace’ as violence and harassment is connected to the world of work but also to travel to and from work, public spaces, the family and the community. Therefore, unions understand that to be effective, root causes are addressed at different levels: the workplace, the community, family life and lobbying nationally and internationally.
Another important finding of the report is that unions have a key role to play in representing and organizing workers in non-standards form of work, such as informal workers, and workers without access to decent work and pay. Bargaining is considerably strengthened when legislation not only lays down obligations to conduct collective negotiations and joint worker-employer initiatives, but also established a framework for rights and obligations to be further reinforced and extended through collective bargaining.
Appendix 1 presents all BWI cases in detail and the full report can be accessed here.