On June 15, Uruguay became the first country to validate Convention 190 of the International Labour Organization, against violence and harassment in the world of work. The Convention, adopted at the last ILO conference on June 21, 2019, was immediately ratified by Uruguay, passed to Parliament and then enacted as Law No. 19849. It protects workers from all forms of violence and harassment with a broad definition, adapting to the reality of today’s world of work.
Guy Ryder, ILO Director General, stated this is a huge step made by Uruguay and that is more important than ever for other countries to ratify it, because during the COVID19 pandemic there’s has been an increase in workplace violence and harassment. He also declared that “is an important and timely step” and he urged other countries “to follow this example”.
In addition to the increase in domestic violence during the health crisis, attacks against front-line workers have also increased, particularly those in the care and cleaning sectors and supermarket employees, the majority of whom are women. The pandemic has exposed not only the vulnerability in which working women find themselves, but also the increase in tasks for those who have continued their work through teleworking.
Regarding this achievement, Verónica Fernandez Méndez, UNI Equal Opportunities World Head, added: “It has been a long time coming, but now we have a legally binding agreement and a first country, Uruguay, which has already ratified it. This is the first country, and it opens the way for others to follow so that this agreement is implemented worldwide. Convention 190 will help save the lives, pain and hardships of millions of women worldwide.”
UNI Global Union continues working to promote the ratification of Convention 190 and ILO Recommendation 206 in all countries, in addition to giving visibility through seminars and campaigns such as “Break the Circle!” and #seguimosalfrente (they are still there: at the frontline!), the urgent need to ratify this type of agreements.