Three ways organisations can join national-level action to make workplaces safer
Updated: Jun 17
Labour and feminist movements around the globe are encouraging countries to ratify ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work. The RatifyC190 campaign aims to harness this energy and inspire more countries to formally recognize this new global standard on protecting workers.
In late April 2021 our campaign partners — ActionAid, CARE, International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) and International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP) — brought together more than 100 people from 39 countries to share strategies for encouraging their country to ratify the Convention and build relationships with others working towards the same goal. So what opportunities are there for organisations to contribute within their countries? A number of key tactics emerged for how organisations of any size, focus or location can support this campaign.
Build cross-movement alliances
Violence and harassment in the world of work is not solely a labour rights or a women’s rights issue, which is why it is important movements do not exist in silos. All types of organisations need to work in solidarity to influence change—including trade unions, labour rights organisations, feminist movements and women-led organisations—working in collaboration with companies and policymakers.
Coordinated efforts at national level enable collaborators to share tools, pool resources and increase their influence. Harnessing the collective power of a diverse range of partners is already helping national movements speak with a unified voice in countries which are actively engaging with governments, employers and workers’ organisations.
Interested organisations can contact the RatifyC190 campaign for advice on how this has been done in other contexts and connections to others working in their area.
Build the evidence base for ending workplace violence
A comprehensive evidence base is crucial for policymakers to be able to understand the Convention and what it means for their country. There are many ways organisations can support this. At base level, this may simply be translating the Convention into local languages. Another useful contribution is to conduct analysis of how the Convention’s provisions align with national legislation.
Violence and harassment are incompatible with decent work, so organisations representing a wide range of sectors, professions and demographics can help build a rich picture of the situation faced by workers. Even if not actively involved in advocacy, many organisations conduct research which highlights the perspectives of specific groups—groups which would benefit from improved legal protections for workers. Member-based organisations and networks can also play an important role, amplifying the voices of members and collating case studies as evidence.
Organisations wishing to contribute to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of workplaces which are free from violence can share their research via the RatifyC190 campaign’s online hub.
Build greater awareness
To maintain momentum for ratification, particularly in the context of the many challenges and competing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to continually engage people at all levels. From workers themselves to government authorities, raising awareness of the Convention and what it could mean for workplaces is imperative for keeping attention focused on this issue.
There are many different roles organisations can play in this, from amplifying social media campaigns to actively lobbying government. ITUC have a range of resources to support this, from campaign media packs to sample letters for sending to policy-makers. For companies, Business Fights Poverty have a Toolkit providing a five step framework to help business tackle gender based violence in the world of work.
As we mark the second anniversary of the adoption of Convention 190, there are many opportunities for engagement with the campaign for ratification to ensure everyone, everywhere can work free from violence and harassment.
Graphic illustrations developed by TOFU Creatives. TOFU Creatives also created a graphic record highlighting what was discussed at the partnership’s online event held in late April 2021. View the timelapse video visualising what was discussed here.