UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Monday 25th November 2019

Sheffield TUC stands in support of all women today facing violence and harassment at work. Too many women, especially in low paid jobs, face bullying, sexual discrimination and harassment at work. In some cases, women are sexually assaulted by their boss or manager, and often feel powerless to complain or speak out against it for fear of victimisation or worse.

Trade Unions are calling on governments to act swiftly to ratify The Violence and Harassment Convention, ILO Convention 190 (C190), which:

  • defines for the first time what is violence and harassment
  • recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment
  • places special emphasis on addressing gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH)
  • requires action to mitigate the impact of domestic violence in the world of work, providing a lifeline to victims of domestic violence who might otherwise lose their job or be forced to choose between income and safety. 

The adoption of the C190 and R206 is the fruit of many years of struggle by the global trade union movement, and – especially – its women members. It is a trade union response to the resurgence of patriarchy and attendant rise in misogyny, racism, bigotry and intolerance, which also pervade our world of work. If applied, ratified and enforced, these instruments can change lives.

Martin Mayer Secretary of Sheffield TUC said “Violence and harassment of women at work is happening right now in Sheffield – and it must stop.” Research for our Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign interviewed scores of young women workers in low paid jobs in Sheffield – shockingly 85% said they had experienced sexual harassment or even assualt whilst at work – mostly from their boss or manager. “Trade Unions stand firm in our demand for real action to defend women against this abuse,” said Martin Mayer. “Ratification of ILO Convention 190 would be a start: we need to see a strengthened legal framework that protects women at work, supports them when they speak out against abuse, and delivers strong, enforceable sanctions against men who abuse women in the workplace”