SA joins ILO convention against violence and harassment in the workplace

The convention provides a solid policy base to fight discrimination, says the labour minister.

South Africa has officially submitted documents for registration and ratification with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention dealing with violence and harassment in the workplace.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said the documents have been endorsed by the government and the instruments will now be submitted for ratification with the director-general of the ILO. He said the submission of ratification documents has been in the making for the past two years.

Nxesi said, “The C190 provides a solid policy base to fight discrimination and gender-based violence. The department, in partnership with social partners, has now developed a draft code of good practice for comment.”

He added that of significance to the ratification was the fact that this coincides with the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and that violence and harassment are a human rights violation and abuse, and this instrument (the convention) provides a clear guideline for a course of action to deal with it.

According to ILO, C190 is important because violence and harassment in the world of work cannot be tolerated.

The Convention 190 (C190) provides for protection of workers and other persons in the world of work, including employees as defined. Once a member signs the C190, they commit taking appropriate measures to:

Monitor and enforce national laws and regulations regarding violence and harassment in the world of work
Ensure easy access to appropriate and effective remedies and safe, fair and effective reporting and dispute resolution mechanisms and procedures in cases of violence and harassment in the world of work.

A country signing C190 has an obligation to ensure enforcement and appropriate remedies. The convention shall be binding only upon those members of the ILO whose ratifications have been registered with the director-general of the ILO

By submitting the instruments South Africa joins Argentina, Ecuador, Italy, Fiji, Mauritius, Namibia, Somalia, and Uruguay, which have ratified the convention.