On June 21, the International Labour Organisation passed a new international convention focused on making workplaces free from violence and harassment.

Convention 190, concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, was adopted by the ILO conference at its 108th session in Geneva. The Convention applies to all sectors, and states

“This Convention protects workers and other persons in the world of work, including employees as defined by national law and practice, as well as persons working irrespective of their contractual status, persons in training, including interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, job seekers and job applicants, and individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer” (2019: s.2.1).

The passing of the ILO Convention comes mere months after New Zealand introduced its own Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act 2018,which builds in to law protections and support for victims of domestic and intimate partner violence.

The Convention also comes at a time when a recent Stuff article has revealed more than 10,000 incidents of physical, verbal, psychological, and sexual assault and abuse across District Health Boards over the past four years.

New Zealand union representatives, on behalf of working people,played a strong role in the development and passing of this new Convention and the TEU welcomes its passing as another important step in reducing violence and harassment in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) also commended the passing of Convention 190, with NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff noting, “The next step is getting our own Government to ratify this Convention and checking the adequacy of our own national laws and policies to ensure working people are able to work free from violence and harassment. The Convention is a great step forward in the process but there is now more work to do in New Zealand”.