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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 3 - 9  > ILO’s anti-workplace harassment convention tool to protect human dignity: Zenroren vice chair
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2019 July 3 - 9 [LABOR]

ILO’s anti-workplace harassment convention tool to protect human dignity: Zenroren vice chair

July 4, 2019

The International Labor Organization in this year’s annual conference which commemorated its 100th founding anniversary adopted a new Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.

The new ILO convention in its preamble recognizes that harassment “constitutes a human rights violation and is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.” It defines “violence and harassment” in the world of work as a “range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats” which “result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.”

The convention provides protection to workers and other persons in the world of work, including interns, apprentices, and jobseekers. It requires state parties to implement comprehensive measures to prevent and eliminate workplace violence and harassment which include third-party harassment. Specifically, the convention obliges state parties to introduce anti-harassment legislation, take necessary measures to provide sanctions, and set up a system ensuring access to remedies and support for victims.

Akahata on July 4 carried an interview with National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Vice Chair Nagao Yuri about the significance of the ILO convention on workplace harassment and violence.

In the interview, Nagao described the ILO treaty as an international declaration protecting workers’ human dignity and pointed out that it is significant that the convention stipulates that everyone has the right to a “world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.”

As tasks that the Japanese labor movement faces, the Zenroren vice chair stressed the need to push the government to ratify the convention without delay and revise relevant domestic laws.

Regarding the latter issue, Nagao referred to the fact that with the enactment of legislation to prevent harassment at work in the latest ordinary Diet session, corporations will be obliged to take action to protect workers from power harassment. She pointed out that the revision, however, stopped short of introducing measures to ban acts of harassment and said, “The need is to press the government to swiftly begin a discussion on measures to regulate workplace harassment and provide remedies to victims in line with the ILO convention even before ratification.

Pointing out that the Japanese government delegates voted for the convention while representatives of Japanese employers abstained, Nagao said, “Maybe this was because the government could not ignore the worldwide spread of the #Me Too movement and the growing domestic voices calling for the elimination of harassment.

Past related article:
> Society desired by ILO corresponds with what JCP seeks to create [June 16, 2019]
> Abe turns his back on measures to eliminate workplace harassment [January 30, 2019]
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