A ground-breaking Convention and Recommendation to eliminate violence and harassment at work has been adopted overwhelmingly at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, on the organisation’s 100th year anniversary.

The two-year negotiations included unions, ILO member governments, and employer organisations.

ACTU representatives worked alongside union representatives from around the world on the Convention that for the first time sets an international standard to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment at work.

The Convention places obligations on governments to develop national laws prohibiting workplace violence and on employers to take proactive steps to prevent violence and harassment.

The Australian Government voted for the Convention and Recommendation to eliminate violence and harassment at work.

The ACTU calls on the Morrison Government to ratify and fully implement the Convention. We urgently need stronger powers for the Fair Work Commission, as well as work health and safety regulators and human rights commissions to proactively address violence, inequality and discrimination at work. This must include establishing a gender equality panel in the FWC that would have the power to hear and determine sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“We welcome and celebrate this historic, ground-breaking Convention. Until now there has been no international standard addressing violence and harassment of working people at work.

“This sets a new global standard and will lead to real change in the lives of working people. Ending gender-based violence requires concerted, committed action at every level. Women and the LGBTI community are disproportionately impacted by violence and harassment at work.

“Everyone should go to work free from the fear of harassment and violence. Australian unions have been proud to campaign and work alongside the global union movement to achieve something incredibly important at the ILO.

“This convention is pivotal for not only working people in Australia but working people globally – it’s a key step in eliminating violence and harassment at work.

“We call on the Morrison Government to take immediate steps to ratify and implement this historic convention.”