International Labour Standards

Workers’ organizations are essential to promote and put into practice ILO standards on Violence and Harassment

Social dialogue including collective bargaining remains a vital instrument for workers’organizations to advocate for the ratification and implementation of these new ILO standards on violence and harassment in the world of work.

Press release | ILO Geneva | 03 July 2020
GENEVA (ACTRAV INFO)-Workers’ organizations have an important role to play in promoting awareness about the process for the ratification and application of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and the application of Recommendation No. 206, according to a new policy brief prepared by the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities.

The policy brief calls for a change in the attitudes and behaviours that contribute to violence and harassment in the world of work. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how urgent it is to eradicate such phenomena. By facilitating social dialogue and collective bargaining, workers’ organizations are key actors and partners in the protection of workers in the most vulnerable situations in the world of work, particularly when they have poor access to labour rights and justice.

“The risk of violence and harassment is even higher during times of crisis: the COVID-19 outbreak has unfortunately confirmed this. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence, and particularly domestic violence, has increased in several countries as security, health, and financial fears create tensions and strains accentuated by the cramped and confined living conditions of lockdown. For many, the home is now their workplace, which comes with heightened risks of violence and harassment, and these ILS can certainly help to protect workers in their workplace. Convention No. 190 has now been ratified by two ILO member States, thus next year on 25th June, the Convention will enter into force. We need to work within the labour movement to make sure that many other ratifications will be registered by then as well,” said Maria Helena André, Director of ACTRAV.

“It is important that unions spread the word to union members and leaders, build solidarity and engage in lobbying governments to ratify the Convention. Through social dialogue and collective bargaining, workers’ organizations can promote the work around these newly adopted standards on violence and harassment. Through national and international campaigns, trade unions can raise awareness of the protection they bring, call for their ratification and implementation in law and practice, contributing to the promotion of social justice in a world of work free from violence and harassment,” added Ms. André.

Uruguay and Fiji have set the example through the ratification of ILO Convention No. 190. Putting into practice the ILO ILS on violence and harassment will be an important contribution towards implementing the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work with a human-centred approach, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

For more information, please contact:

  • Ursula Kulke, Senior Social Protection Specialist (
  • Victor Hugo Ricco, Senior Specialist in Workers'Activities (