Making workplaces free non-negotiable

BY: Daily Graphic
Making workplaces free non-negotiable
Making workplaces free non-negotiable

In 2019, the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, at its 108th (Centenary) Session on June 10, introduced an international convention titled: Violence and Harassment Convention 2019 (No 190).

The convention, which is known as ILO 190, seeks to protect workers from all forms of abuse and harassment while they work.

The convention came out of the recognition of other international instruments on human, social, civil, political and economic and cultural rights, other rights against the elimination of all forms of racial and gender discrimination and the protection of the rights of migrants.

ILO 190 also recognises the rights of everyone to a world of work that is free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

It classifies violence and harassment in the world of work as a human rights abuse or violation and a threat to equal opportunities, which is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.

The Daily Graphic is disappointed that Ghana has not yet ratified ILO 190 and domesticated it in its laws for the appropriate policy and legal measures to enable enforcement in institutions and workplaces.

It is little wonder, therefore, that last week, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, disclosed that a survey undertaken by his ministry showed that 14,540 people suffered abuse at the workplace in 2021.

The number represents 71.7 per cent of the 20,279 respondents across the country in the survey on violence and harassment at the workplace.

Thirty-four per cent of violent occurrences were in the formal sector, while the informal sector accounted for 66 per cent.

It is sad that our workplaces are the grounds of violence and harassment. That defeats other efforts at gender equality, the right to decent jobs and ensuring work spaces that are free, safe and convenient for innovation, leading to the development of the country as a whole.

We of the Daily Graphic wonder why Ghana has not yet ratified ILO 190; we believe there is the urgency to do so.

Ratifying the convention and adopting it into local laws and workplace policies and practices are the first moves to stem this tide of violence and harassment at the workplace.

It does not befit the status of Ghana, as a democratic, human rights championing country, for such a critical convention to be lost in the scheme of our protection of the rights of the citizenry, as well as honouring our international obligations.

The Daily Graphic is sure that ratifying the convention will provide the basis too for engagement and information dissemination on workplace violence and harassment.

Sometimes, ignorance and a dearth of information and sensitisation to issues account for abuses. People need to know that it is not alright to harass women at the workplace or the vulnerable, such as the young.

We need the culture of respecting the endeavours of all at the work spaces, and that can only come through education and sensitisation, and that too depends on the ratification of the convention and fully embracing its tenets in the country for practice.

The Daily Graphic urges the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice, as well as the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, to work in sync and get the convention ratified for the good of all Ghanaian workers.