108th session of the International Labour Conference

The International Labour Organization (ILO) will hold its annual International Labour Conference  (ILC) in Geneva, starting on 10 June and concluding on 21 June 2019. The theme of the conference, which marks the ILO's 100th anniversary, is “Building a better future with decent work”. As part of the agenda, conference delegates will also consider a convention on harassment and violence in the workplace.

The full conference agenda can be found here

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19 June 2019

Unions globally protest in demand of an ILO declaration that establishes a New Social Contract

Author: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

"ILO Centenary Conference: moving together for a New Social Contract," 17 June 2019

Unions from around the world have taken to the streets of Geneva to demand an ILO fit for the 21st century.

Thousands of trade union representatives...showed their commitment to curbing abuse in the world of work and establishing a New Social Contract.

“We are in the midst of negotiations that could deliver historical progress. An ILO Declaration that sets a floor of rights for all workers, binding rules that effectively tackle violence and harassment at work, these are on the table. I am confident that together with governments and employers we can get these over the line,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

 ...“From South Africa to Sweden, from Costa Rica to New Zealand we are pushing in the same direction. Establishing rules for everyone is the only way to avoid a race to the bottom, in which we would all lose out. The ILO has played a crucial role in ensuring shared prosperity through setting global labour standards and holding governments to account for implementing them. We are bringing that ambition forward and finding solutions to the challenges of today and the future,” said Burrow...

The ILO...report...Work For a Brighter Future...called for a reinvigorated social contract based on a Universal Labour Guarantee.

That Universal Labour Guarantee would provide all working people...the core rights of the ILO fundamental principles...as well as the right to a living wage, health and safety at work, and control over working time.

“We need to harness the potential of digitalisation and automation as well as of the transition to environmentally sustainable modes of production, while dealing with the risks and challenges of digitalisation and new business models that companies use to avoid responsibility for their workforce. We need to adopt measures that meaningfully address gender-based violence, which is at the heart of persistent inequalities between men and women. We need to address the ever-increasing levels of wealth and income inequalities by ensuring people’s core freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, and ensure that workers’ rights to safe and healthy work are absolute. All these things are possible and from the streets to the negotiations of binding rules, we are moving together,” concluded Burrow.

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11 June 2019

Commentary: With inclusion of workers a global treaty can end gender-based violence at work

Author: Robin Runge, Solidarity Center

"OPINION: Can a global treaty end gender-based violence at work? With workers it will.", 10 June 2019

Between June 10–21, the International Labour Organization... is meeting in Geneva to finalize a convention covering violence and harassment at work. The process... is important... Working people and their unions have been at the table throughout the drafting process, championing a strong focus on gender-based violence (GBV) and harassment.

When working people have a voice, they can ensure the solutions developed to address gender-based violence and harassment at work are effective and sustainable...

Shame, fear of retaliation and job loss prevent the vast majority of women from reporting such abuse. While both men and women can be victims of gender-based violence at work, women are most frequently targeted.

Through the #MeToo movement, we have seen how gender-based violence and harassment can happen at any workplace. But #MeToo also has shown us how ... [t]he laws, by and large, were never designed by those likely to experience gender-based violence on the job—front-line workers.

... Unions provide a means by which working people most impacted by GBV can voice their needs and experiences. In doing so, unions have shown that when front-line workers have a say, solutions addressing deeply-rooted problems like GBV effectively address the concerns for those most affected...

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11 June 2019

Trade unions call for adoption of 'strong, ambitious & progressive' binding intl. instrument to fight violence & harassment at work, ahead of ILC discussions

Author: IndustriALL

"Historic opportunity for an ILO Convention on violence at work", 6 June 2019

...During the discussion in the Standard Setting Committee at the ILC, the government, employers’ and workers’ groups will negotiate over a period of nine days a proposed text for both a Convention and recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work. At the end of the ILC, the governments will vote on the adoption of these instruments...

Trade unions are calling for the adoption of a strong, ambitious and progressive binding international standard. For two years, IndustriALL and its affiliates - along with the trade union movement around the world - have campaigned for this Convention to be adopted by the ILO this year...

IndustriALL calls on its affiliates to continue to voice their support for this Convention. It is time for trade unions to mobilize and put pressure on governments and employers during the next two weeks of negotiation...

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10 June 2019

ILO to consider future of work, & convention on harassment & violence in the workplace at annual conference

Author: Simon Bradley, swissinfo.ch

"Geneva conference tackles workplace harassment and future jobs", 10 June 2019

What will tomorrow’s jobs look like? The Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) is seeking to understand that question as well as protect workers from violence and harassment at its annual conference that marks its 100th anniversary. 

On the table is a global treaty to protect employees from workplace abuse but differences persist over to what extent employers should be held responsible and whether to include specific reference to protecting LGBTi (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) people.

Despite those sticking points, Swiss ambassador to the ILO Jean-Jacques Elmiger says he is confident that the treaty will be adopted at the organisation’s annual meeting this month...

Much of delegates’ time in Geneva will be devoted to discussing that question through a recent report by the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work...

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