ILO Convention Crucial to Ending Gender-Based Violence at Work

05/24/2018
ILO Convention

Corporations, company leaders and workers’ and social movements are taking a stand to end violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, in the workplace. Today, B Team Leaders Bob Collymore, Mats Granryd, Arianna Huffington, Mo Ibrahim, François-Henri Pinault and Paul Polman, have joined them. They have sent a letter to the International Organisation of Employers urging support of an ILO Convention and Recommendation to end workplace violence and harassment. They join the many governments and workers’ groups rallying around this ILO Convention, signaling that it’s time for urgent action to end these harmful practices.

The business case to end violence and harassment at work is clear. These behaviours disproportionately affect women, as seen in the wave of female survivors and victims sharing their stories of workplace harassment and violence in recent months. Data shows that where sexual harassment is more prevalent, business profits are negatively impacted. While there is growing company action to tackle this issue, wider action by governments is needed. From May 28-June 8, governments will meet with employers and workers’ organisations to discuss an ILO standard addressing this important topic at the International Labour Conference.

Business leaders are invited to join B Team Leaders in expressing support for this ILO standard, which is critical to achieving decent work for all and gender equality. Please contact Michelle Lau-Burke at mlb@bteam.org to learn more. Read the full letter below. 

Photo by UN Women Cambodia/Charles Fox

May 25, 2018

Roberto Suárez Santos
Acting Secretary-General
International Organisation of Employers

Re: ILO Convention on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

Dear Roberto Suárez Santos,

As leaders of global businesses, we are writing to express our support for an International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on ending violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, in the world of work.  An international instrument would provide a baseline level of understanding of what constitutes violence and harassment at work and assist governments and employers in addressing its various forms.

There can be no decent work with violence and harassment in the workplace. Gender-based violence is one of the most pernicious and widespread obstacles to gender equality and decent work. Studies from different countries and industries estimate that anywhere between 40 and 80 percent of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual violence or harassment at work. Without strong laws and government standards, employers not only suffer losses through reduced productivity and absenteeism, they may individually bear the cost of developing programs to ensure worker safety and access to remedy.

We urge the International Organisation of Employers to support a new ILO Convention and Recommendation on ending violence and harassment in the world of work at the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference (28 May – 8 June 2018).

By supporting a new ILO Convention, we are signaling that violence and harassment at work is unacceptable and demands serious and urgent attention.  Supporting an ILO Convention also makes critical contributions to Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 8 on decent work of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sincerely,

Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom Limited
Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
Arianna Huffington, CEO, Thrive Global
Mo Ibrahim, Founder, Celtel
François-Henri Pinault, CEO, Kering
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

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