Women workers push for Senate concurrence on ratified treaty against gender-based violence in the workplace

Various labor groups led by the Federation of Free Workers Women’s Network (FWN) have urged the Senate to concur with the recent ratification by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of an international treaty that addresses gender-based violence at work.

Malacañang submitted for the Senate’s consideration and concurrence last October International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 190, or the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, adopted by the ILO Convention General Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2019.

Ma. Victoria Bellosillo, FWN president, said ILO Convention 190 ensures protection of all genders from all forms of violence and harassment in the world of work.

“This would include protection from trade union repression and from violence perpetrated in the workplace by persons of any position, be it rank and file, supervisor, manager, third party providers, and even peers and customers,” added Bellosillo, who is also the union president of the Central Philippines University Rank and File Labor Union (CPURAFLU-FFW).

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ILO C. 190 has been adopted by the ILO as early as 2019, but ratification has been hard to come by, with Fiji, as the lone country to ratify the International instrument in the Asia and the Pacific Region.

“If ratified and concurred by the Senate, ILO C. 190 will protect workers from gender-based violence regardless of employment status—probationary, trainee, agency-hired or even workers applying for a job, during interview,” said Arta Maines, vice president of FWN.

Maines, who is also the union president of semiconductor company United Cirtek Employees Association (UCEA-FFW), added that workers must be protected from gender-based violence regardless of the kind of work or the type of worker concerned.

“Once ratified, ILO C. 190 will make it a duty for employers to provide protection for victims of domestic violence and facilitate counseling for victims,” she said.

Women Workers United (WWU)—who led discussions nationwide on the Women Workers Agenda, together with global union federations and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, trooped to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Sen Imee Marcos, to express support for ILO C. 190.

“Though the Philippines has laws related to gender-based violence in the world of work, such as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act and the ‘Bawal Bastos Law’ much is wanting when it comes to their implementation and coverage,” said Aileen Panuelos, coordinator of WWU.

If ratified by the Senate, the Philippines will be the first ASEAN country to ratify ILO C. 190.

FWN and WWU are among the many groups that have been campaigning for the ratification of ILO C. 190.

“Ratifying ILO C. 190 will strengthen and fill in gaps of gender-based violence not addressed by existing laws such as on coverage, which should include online activities, whether directly related to work or not; and activities held within and outside the workplace, such as during team building, planning sessions and company outings; and, domestic violence,” said Panuelos.

Ratifying ILO C. 190 could provide additional protection for overseas Filipino workers, who work in countries and territories that ratify the International labor standard, too.



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