“Promoting a world of Work that is Free from Violence and Harassment”
The Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC), joins the rest of the world in commemorating the Sixteen (16) Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign that begins today under the global theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
SATUCC considers gender based violence (GBV) as one critical area of concern as outlined in the Gender Policy that was adopted by the SATUCC’s 10th Delegates Congress in October 2017 held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The SATUCC Gender Policy affirms the principles of women empowerment and gender equality and recognizes the prevention and reduction of GBV at workplaces and society at large.
Reports have confirmed that as countries in Southern Africa implemented lockdown measures amidst COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women especially at home, intensified. School closures and economic strains also rendered women and girls out of jobs and out of school and therefore more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and all sorts of violence and harassment.
SATUCC therefore joins other formations in amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence and harassment during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.
We further note, that both women and men experience violence and harassment in the world of work. Unequal status and power relations in society and at work, often result in women being far more exposed to violence and harassment. It is also established that while no workplace, group, sector or occupation is intrinsically vulnerable to violence and harassment, some sectors are at a higher risk than others.
For example, workers in frontline services such as public emergency services, social care, health, education, transport and hospitality sectors, have reported relatively higher incidences of violence and harassment.
Workers in informal, precarious and non-standard forms of employment and workers who cannot effectively exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, are also likely to be more at risk of violence and harassment.
Labour migrants in different sectors of the economy and domestic workers also have a higher risk of exposure to violence and harassment.
Violence and harassment is incompatible with the concept of decent work. It affects people’s ability to obtain work and to stay in work, as well as their physical and mental well-being. It affects workplace culture, dignity at work and productivity.
Based on the International Labour Conference’s adoption of Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 that sets a baseline for taking action on preventing, addressing and remedying gender-based violence at work, we call upon all organizations and their operations to be free of violence and harassment.
SATUCC therefore, urges member states in Southern Africa to take steps towards ratifying, domestication and implementation of Convention 190 together with Recommendation 206, and put in place the legal and regulatory frameworks to combat violence and harassment and ensure protection for the victims.
Mavis A. Koogotsitse
25th November 2020, Gaborone, Botswana