COSATU welcomes Cabinet’s approval of ILO Convention 190

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes Cabinet’s approval of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.  

 Our federation has been at the forefront leading the campaign for South Africa to ratify this crucial ILO Convention. We have done so as part of our gender program of action, which includes taking a firm and unwavering stand against gender-based violence.

 Cabinet’s approval last week for the submission of ILO Convention No 190 to Parliament is an important firm step in the process towards South Africa’s full ratification of ILO Convention 190.

 It is symbolically significant that Cabinet approval comes now in December, during the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women & Children Campaign. December is the festive month but COSATU argues that there is nothing festive about the scourge of gender-based violence. Cabinet’s approval now is an important confirmation of our position.

 Convention 190 was adopted by the ILO in June 2019.While we are of the view that the ratification process could have been done quicker, we are pleased that there is now no turning back from converting this progressive tool in the fight against workplace harassment and violence to a central pillar of our employment law regime.

 Its inevitable ratification will be a critical boost in the fight against the pandemic of Gender-Based Violence that women in particular are subject to across countless workplaces.

 We now call on the African National Congress (ANC) led government to move with speed to table Convention 190 in Parliament by no later than 31 December 2020.  This is critical to ensure that Parliament has sufficient time to process and adopt it for final ratification early next year.

 There can be no further delays.The gender-based violence challenges facing South Africa require speed and diligence from the state, not endless shuffling of papers or sleeping on the job.

 Parallel to the parliamentary process towards ratification, the Department of Employment and Labour needs to immediately begin engaging Organised Labour at Nedlac on a review of our labour and criminal legislation to ensure that they are in compliance with the progressive provisions of Convention 190 and where amendments are needed, to fast track these.

 Once ILO Convention 190 is finally ratified by our country, we will rank amongst the few which have done so globally. Out of 195 countries in the world (193 of which are member states of the United Nations), only 3 have to date ratified ILO Convention 190: Uruguay, Argentina, and Fiji.

South Africa’s ratification will usher in one of the most significant improvements to our employment law architecture since the dawn of democracy.

For further information please contact: 

Matthew Parks

COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687