FEDUSA Urges Government to Ratify Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 In Celebrating International Women’s Day

08 March 2020

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on Government to mark this year’s International Women’s Day on the 08th of March by ratifying and domesticating the ILO (International Labour Organization)’s Convention 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work which is supplemented by Recommendation 206.

The Convention which was adopted by the International Labour Council in Geneva in June 2019 to mark 100 years of the ILO introduces three inter-linked strategies which begin by collapsing violence and harassment into one concept which is seen as a range of negative behaviours that include gender-based violence. Second, it defines its scope of application as that of protecting the right of everyone including employees, interns, volunteers and job seekers in both the public and private sectors, urban and rural areas, and formal and informal sectors; to a world of work free from violence and harassment. Third, Convention 190 provides a progressive definition of a workplace which clarifies that the world of work goes beyond the conventional sense of a workplace to includes incidents in the course of, linked with or arising out of work – including places where the worker uses sanitary facilities, and when commuting to and from work.

FEDUSA believes that the Government can no longer delay ratifying and domestication of Convention 190 because violence and harassment in the world of work remains pervasive, affecting all occupations, men and women and work arrangements. The scourge manifests itself in different forms and contexts and deprives workers of their dignity and is incompatible with Decent Work and Decent Life for all and Social Justice Agenda.
In anticipated changes in work organization driven by disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, the potential to exacerbate violence and harassment including gender- based violence and harassment in the world of work, poses a real threat if concerted efforts to domesticate the Convention is not given the necessary attention.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence such as domestic abuse, rape, sexual trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence in their lifetimes which denies them the opportunity to living happy, healthy, productive and fulfilling lives and successful careers. Throughout history, the central role of women in society has ensured the stability, progress and long-term development of nations. To this end, FEDUSA calls on President Ramaphosa to intensify efforts that will lead to greater protection and hopefully the eventual elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work in this rainbow nation.

(436 Words)

For interviews please contact:
Ms Dorothy Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President : Social Justice and Gender
076 424 8747

Ms Martlé Keyter
FEDUSA Deputy President
082 856 2496

Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625

Issued by:
Frank Nxumalo
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096