Standard-Setting Committee: Violence and harassment in the world of work - Background information

Meeting document | 03 April 2019
At its 325th Session (October–November 2015), the Governing Body placed an item on “Violence against women and men in the world of work” on the agenda of the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference for standard setting under the double discussion procedure. At its 328th Session (October–November 2016), the Governing Body decided to expand the reference to “violence” in the title of the item to “violence and harassment”.

Fighting against violence and harassment in the world of work is at the heart of the ILO’s efforts. As enshrined in the Declaration of Philadelphia, human beings have the right “to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”. Violence and harassment in the world of work is therefore the antithesis of decent work. It is a threat to the dignity, health and well-being of those who experience it and their families. It undermines working environments and labour relations, jeopardizes productivity and damages enterprise reputation. At present, no ILO standards define “violence and harassment”, delineate the scope of “the world of work”, or provide guidance on how to prevent and address it.

In June 2018, at its 107th session, the International Labour Conference had its first standard-setting discussion with a view to elaborating new instruments on ending violence and harassment in the world of work. Following that discussion, and in accordance with article 39(6) of the Standing Orders of the Conference, the International Labour Office prepared and communicated Report V(1) (ILC.108/V/1), which contained the texts of a proposed Convention supplemented by a Recommendation. These texts were based on the Conclusions adopted by the Conference in June 2018. After consulting the most representative organizations of employers and workers, Governments were invited to send their suggested amendments or comments to the Office. They were also asked whether they considered the suggested texts as a satisfactory basis for negotiations by the Conference at its second and last discussion at its 108th Session (June 2019), and to indicate which organizations they had consulted.

Based on the replies received to Report V(1), the Office prepared Report V(2) which was made available to member States in early March 2019. It is intended to serve as a basis for the second discussion by the Conference at it 108th Session. The report is published in two volumes: volume V(2A) contains the Office commentary and observations provided by the constituents, and Report V(2B) contains the proposed instruments, amended in the light of the observations made by governments and by employers’ and workers’ organizations and for the reasons set out in the Office commentary in Report V(2A).