ILO Convention 190 enters into force, BWI calls for more country ratifications

On 25 June, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 190 on the harassment and violence in the world of work finally entered into force after acquiring the needed number of country ratifications for the policy to have international legal force and effect. 

The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) lauded the Convention’s entry into force even as it called on its trade union affiliates to push for more country ratifications. 

“This is an extremely important development for trade unions fighting for gender equality, especially women workers who work in male-dominated industries and suffer from workplace harassment and violence. We will continue to campaign for more country ratifications with the goal to achieve universal ratification rank for the Convention,” BWI International Women’s Committee Chair Rita Schiavi said. 

According to BWI, 6 ratifications (Uruguay, Fiji, Namibia, Argentina, Somalia and Ecuador) have been deposited at the ILO. Meanwhile, Italy has authorized its national parliament to start the ratification process of the Convention in the beginning of 2021. The Convention entered into full force after Fiji completed its ratification process in 2020. 

Two countries are needed to ratify a Convention for it to enter into force. If a country decides to ratify, the Convention acquires a binding force at the national level and must be applied by its legislature or other means.

ILO Convention No. 190 is the first international treaty to address violence and harassment in the world of work. Together with ILO Recommendation No. 206, it provides a common framework for action and a unique opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect, and underlines the right of everyone to a world free from violence and harassment. It includes the first international definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence. 

BWI affiliates worldwide actively campaigned for the adoption of the international instrument at ILO’s international Labour Conference in 2019, and has continued to work for more country ratifications.