Violence, harassment in workplace: Topic for discussion at 2019 ILC

BY: Salome Donkor
library photo
library photo

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has developed an agenda for the community of work, looking at job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, with gender equality as a crosscutting objective.

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives.

It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

The ILO Decent Work Agenda has been widely accepted as an important strategy to fight poverty and foster development. The Agenda has been incorporated in the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

This year’s ILC

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This year’s Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 10 to 21, 2019, will share knowledge on critical issues including child labour, labour migration, sexual harassment at the workplace and social protection, to enhance capacities of member-states to develop inclusive labour policies, formulate and execute projects and programmes in line with the Decent Work Agenda, an initiative of the ILO.

The 108th Session of the ILC this year, which marks the 100th year of the ILO, will be the high point of the ILO Centenary Celebration, bringing together over 5,000 delegates from around the globe to find solutions to the challenges of the “Future of Work”.

The ILC, also known as the International Parliament of Labour, is the highest decision-making body that passes resolutions and conventions that regulate the world of work of its 187 member states.

The ILO Conventions on Decent Work are; Work and Wages, Annual Leave and Working on Weekly and Public Holidays, Employment Security, Family Responsibilities, Maternity at Work, Health and Safety at Work and Work and Sickness

The rest are; Social Security, Fair Treatment at Work, Children at Work, Forced Labour and Trade Union Right.

During the UN General Assembly in September 2015, decent work and the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda – employment creation, social protection, rights at work, and social dialogue – became integral elements of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This year’s Session of the ILC to be addressed by dignitaries, including Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and a number of observers from other international actors, will consider a series of topics placed on its agenda by the Governing Body of the ILO.

In addition, the conference is expected to adopt new standards on the issue of violence and harassment in the world of work in line with the ILO’s current Decent Work Agenda.

Better work

The Better Work Agenda has shown that gender-based violence in the workplace, like sexual harassment, are not only damaging for workers, but also for business.

Delegates at the 2019 ILC will discuss violence and harassment in the workplace, with a view to adopting the first international convention to help prevent the problem and put in place measures to protect and support affected workers everywhere.

Goal Eight of the 2030 Agenda, calls for the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work.

This goal will be a key area of engagement for the ILO and its constituents.

Furthermore, key aspects of decent work are widely embedded in the targets of many of the other 16 goals of the UN’s new development vision.

Universal objective

Decent work has become a universal objective and has been included in major human rights declarations, UN Resolutions and outcome documents from major conferences.

These include Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), World Summit Outcome Document (2005), the high level segment of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (2006), the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), Conference on Sustainable Development (2011) and in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015).

At the end of the day, the Commission will present recommendations on shaping the future of work.

The Conference is also expected to adopt an important Centenary Declaration to provide guidance to member States and the ILO as the Organisation addresses the challenges of its second century.