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Government urged to adopt Convention 190 to safeguard wellbeing, security of workers

By Rana Husseini - Dec 14,2020 - Last updated at Dec 14,2020

AMMAN — Experts and activists have called for unifying national efforts to ensure a violence-free working environment for female and male labourers in Jordan.

The calls were made during a webinar that was held on Sunday to discuss the draft of the gap analysis and the proposed national strategy on violence and harassment in the world of work.

The event was organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU).

The participants also called for adopting policies that “clearly incriminate violence and harassment at the workplace”. 

ILO Jordan Country Coordinator Frida Khan said this topic is one of great importance since it is the subject of several conventions, including Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment.

“The convention marks years of difficult negotiations to reach this consensus amongst employers, workers and the government on what violence and harassment are and how to address them,” Khan told the gathering. 

However, Khan added, it must be remembered that though Convention 190 is new, the issue is old.

“It is fundamental to many critical aspects related to decent work – the dignity of labour, the importance of occupational safety and health, ensuring equality and non-discrimination. Harassment simply was not gaining the attention it needed,” Khan noted. 

The first thing to understand about any sort of violence and harassment is that it is an issue of power mostly by supervisors against their employees, according to Khan. 

The only way to balance this dynamic is to empower individuals with less power, Khan stressed. 

“Give the worker a strong and fair complaints mechanism to report his supervisor. Give the woman confidence that she can take the harasser to court and that he will be penalised appropriately. Give the domestic worker rights in law that she is aware of so she can take action against her abusive employer,” she added.

ILO Gender Expert Reem Aslan said Convention 190 calls for the right of all workers to an environment free from violence and harassment. 

The convention also calls for protection not just of workers but also for interns, consultants and clients, Aslan said. 

It also expands the workplace to the world of work to include places such as conferences, commuting modes, and any other physical space related to work, Aslan told The Jordan Times.

Moving forward, Aslan said it is important that all ILO social partners and civil society organisations come together and join efforts to ensure zero tolerance for such acts.

Meanwhile, GFJTU President Mazen Maayatah said that “some of the working environments in Jordan continue to witness incidents of violence and harassment and that is why we adopted this cause”.

“We urge the government to adopt Convention 190 to safeguard the wellbeing and security of workers in Jordan,” Maaytah stressed.

Also addressing the gathering was JNCW Secretary General Salma Nims, who stressed that harassment and violence at work should be considered as major crimes.

“It is the responsibility of the state to ensure a work environment that is free of any form of violence so that both men and women could perform their work without any fear or pressure,” Nims stressed.

This initiative is part of a joint programme between ILO and UN Women designed with social partners with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


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