Organized: the best way to fight against the violence and harassment at the workplace

“One of our strength to fight against violence and harassment at the workplace is by organizing ourselves in the union. By joining the union, we can sit equally with and have more strength to push the company to agree on the regulation related to women protection in the CBA,” Izzah Inzamliyah in her opening remark. She was the trainer of Training for Trainers for women leaders and activists under the theme of “ILO Convention 190 on Elimination of Violence and Harassment at the Workplace” organized by The Public Services  International (PSI) held in 5G Resort Cijeruk, Bogor, 29-31 August 2022.

Izzah continued by saying that when the CBA contains women’s protection, it will minimize gender-based violence. In turn, it will change the mindset of workers and employers, that every person has the right of a world free of violence and harassment.

Talking about violence and harassment, women are the most vulnerable object of violence in under employement relation. Women are considered to be weak creature, abide to, and dependent upon superiors or men.

“Women’s fear and weakness are the cause of violence in the employment relation. Therefore it is just right for women workers to be active in the unions. By joining the union, workers have the strength to fight against the violence and harassment at the workplace,” Izzah asserted the importance of organized workers in front of 20 women workers , the participants of the ToT. The participants came from SP PLN, SP PPIP, SP PJB, SP EE, dan SPICON+.

Indah Budiarti, the PSI Communications and Project Coordinator, added that this training is also about introduction to use the ILO Convention 190 toolkit. The toolkit is translated into Bahasa Indonesia by IndustriAll Indonesi project office so that it would be easier for participants and unions to design their own activities.

“PSI together with trade unions globally promote the ratification of this convention,” asserted Indah.

She hoped that with this training will be beneficial and encourage the campaign on local and national level. She also hped that the action plan produced in the training wold stimulate the participants and their unions to take a step to push the campaign for Convention 190 ratification in Indonesia.

There are many people who do not understand the real definition of gender-based violence. Therefore, many tolerate the gender-basd violence. Gender-based violence is violence that is aimed at specific gender. It is happen due the social/cultural/religious belief that is embedded to certain gender that result in violence or disproportionate treatment.

There are at least four important features to understand gender-based violence. They are (a) threat; (b) physical, verbal, social, and economic acts that are harmful and detrimental or there is a possibility of harm; (c) beyond one’s will; and (d) based on the social construction on “women” and “men”.

“Silence is not consent. We have to see whether there is a power relation invloved between the perpetrator and the victim. If the perpetrator holds a power over the victim, the victim tends to be silent,” she added.

The problem of power relation is also the root of gender-based violence. The socio-cultural  patriarchal belief that presume that women are in the position of non-importance, where the power rests on men (power relation), women are not decision makers, only complementing. Women’s role are in the domestic realm and reproduction only. Whe women enter the public sphere/employment, their income is secondary, as a compliment for their husbands’.

The adoption of the ILO Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 on Violence and Harassment in the world of work brings a new hope for us. We can say that the adoption of both instruments is a victory for the trade union and labour movement. The adoption of these instruments is the culmination of years of campaigning and lobbying by trade unions, and in particular women trade unionists, built on the narratives and experiences of discrimination and violence from women workers global. The convention is an instrument to recognizes the right of everyone to have the a working life free from  violence and harassment. For the first time ever internationally agreed the definition of violence and harassment in the world of wok, including the gender-based violence that is understood as “unwanted behavior and practices that is directed to, or result in, or possible to result in physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm.” The definition covers everyone in this world, including person in training (interns and apprentices), and individuals exercising the authority, duties, or responsibilities of an employer, and includes public and private sector, informal and formal economies, and urban and rural areas.

As trade unions, we have an important role to play in ensuring this Convention and Recommendation do not just remain on paper but are transformed into action on local. Trade unions are leading local and global campaigns, calling for the ratification and effective implementation of C190 and R206, so that these standards are integrated into national legislation.

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