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ILO push for global labour standard, zeroing in on violence and harassment

The International Labour Organisation marked its centenary by establishing a new global standard to combat violence and harassment in the workplace.

In a virtually unanimous decision, the ILO handed down a framework for international governments to use and adapt in the fight against violence and harassment in the workplace. Outlining new laws governments can introduce to protect workers as well as hefty penalties for those who infringe on these rights.

The convention is a great win particularly for female workers, a great emphasis being placed on identifying key areas that affect the female workforce the most such as physical, psychological, sexual and economic harm.

“Without respect, there is no dignity at work, and, without dignity, there is no social justice,” said Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO’s Work quality Department. “We now have an agreed definition of violence and harassment; we know what needs to be done to prevent and address it, and by whom. We hope these new standards will lead us into the future of work we want to see.”

Once signed by two or more member states the convention will then become ratified and all members who sign will have to introduce legislation supporting the recommendations within the following 12 months.

"The next step is to put these protections into practice so that we create a better, safer, decent, working environment for women and men. I am sure that, given the co-operation and solidarity we have seen on this issue, and the public demand for action, we will see speedy and widespread ratifications and action to implement,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

We shall wait and see what the Australian government decides to do, given the decisions received near-universal support throughout the voting process, federal legislation should be in Australia's not too distant future.

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