Southern Africa: Unions dive deep into ILO Convention 190’s provisions

31 trade unionists, 25 of whom are women, attended an online workshop hosted by the Southern Africa Construction Network (SACONET) on 22-24 August. Representing 8 unions from 6 countries, the participants analysed in detail the salient provisions of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 190 and Recommendation 206. 

Recognising the information gap on the ILO convention and other related policy instruments and the increasing number of gender-based violence and harassment against women workers, BWI Africa and the Middle East found it important to help trade union affiliates capacitate themselves on the various legal and policy aspects of the measures. 


‘‘The increase in mental abuse, physical violence, and discrimination in our workplaces and communities calls for in-depth discussions and mastery of the existing instruments’’, said Crecentia Mofokeng, BWI Africa and Middle East Regional Representative in her opening remarks.

One the workshop’s highlights was when it introduced the participants to ‘BWI’s Top 10 List of Gender-based Violence (GBV) Negotiation Points for Collective Bargaining. 

The women participants also shared their unions’ respective 6 Month #StopGBV Roadmap/Plans as part of the continuing campaign for the ratification and/or the full implementation of ILO Convention No. 190 and Recommendation 206. 

Some of the plans that the SACONET affiliates intend to accomplish are: 

  • Incorporate the provisions of ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 to the curriculum of provincial and national training facilities and activities; 
  • Participate in demonstrations that call for the amendment of certain laws;
  • Broaden the union members’ understanding of the “specific language” used in the convention and recommendation; 
  • Whenever possible, provide support to GBV victims in workplaces;
  • Work towards the establishment of a Workers’ Wellness Centre and a mobile clinic to reach workers quickly; and 
  • Collaborate within the network to offer guidance and support.