Kazakhstan: Union joins global ratification campaign of ILO Convention 190

Kazakhstan’s Building and Communal Services Workers Union joined the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) Global Action Week to promote the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 190 on violence and harassment. The initiative aims to launch a global ratification campaign of the international standard against violence and harassment at work.

The union organised a series of workplace workshops to talk with its members about the international instrument. Trade union leaders underscored the importance for Kazakhstan to ratify the Convention to address the impact of domestic violence on the world of work. They explained that with the advent of COVID-19, many workers were forced to stay at home. However, many homes are not safe places for women workers, citing a marked increase in the cases of domestic violence. 

Trade union members also recognised that the ratification of the Convention will attract more women to the construction industry, which they said is currently dominated my male workers. They said that while Kazakhstan’s labour force has an equal share of men and women workers, the construction industry has one of the lowest percentages of women workers. Coming after the transport sector, it accounts to around 24 percent of women in the industry. 

“At the global scale, a 24 percent employment of women at the construction industry is not the lowest figure. However, considering the high level of women employment in Kazakhstan, we ask: what hinders women from working in construction? Our observations from other countries tell us that one of the main reasons is high risk of violence and harassment against women at the construction sites. The ratification of the ILO C 190 in Kazakhstan would provide us additional protective measures to make workplaces free from violence and harassment,” BWI International Women Committee Chair Rita Schiavi said.