Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams attends historic International Labour Organisation Conference in Geneva, Switzerland
Hon. Vaden Williams, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services attended the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations Headquarters from June 10th to 21st, 2019, under the theme “Building a future with decent work”.
The conference, the highest decision-making body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, was attended by more than 36 world leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May; Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev; South African President, Cyril Ramaophosa; Norweigan Prime Minister, Erna Solberg; Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley; Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and around 6,000 delegates representing governments, employers and workers from around the world.
Hon. Williams' delegation attended the conference from June 17th- 20th, including Labour Commissioner, Mr. Edwin Taylor, Deputy Labour Commissioner Mr. Alpheus Smith, and Head of Secretariat Mrs. Sakera Cook.
Commenting on the conference, Hon. Williams stated: "The sessions were extremely useful and beneficial to the Turks and Caicos Islands in terms of the knowledge and information gained and the connections that were made. We will put all that we've learned at the conference to good use and we will also maintain contact with the various officials we met so that we can benefit from their experience, guidance and advice as we continue to develop our country."
During the meeting, Hon. Williams and other ministers shared their experiences with new forms of employment and best Institutions of work that can adapt to it; adapting institutions for a brighter future of work, emerging of work (Telework, Platform work and Zero hours contract).
The historic conference concluded with the adoption of an unprecedented Convention and accompanying Recommendation to combat violence and harassment in the world of work, as well as a Declaration charting the way towards a human-centred future of work.
The Declaration, which looks to the future of work with a human-centred lens, has a strong focus on enabling people to benefit from changes in the world of work, by strengthening the institutions of work to ensure adequate protection of all workers, and by promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and full and productive employment.
Specific areas for action include:
- The effective realization of gender equality in opportunities and treatment
- Effective lifelong learning and quality education for all
- Universal access to comprehensive and sustainable social protection
- Respect for workers’ fundamental rights
- An adequate minimum wage
- Maximum limits on working time
- Safety and health at work
- Policies that promote decent work, and enhance productivity
- Policies and measures that ensure appropriate privacy and personal data protection, and respond to challenges and opportunities in the world of work relating to the digital transformation of work, including platform work.
The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse…is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.”
It defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.” It reminds member States that they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance”.
The new international labour standard aims to protect workers and employees, irrespective of their contractual status, and includes persons in training, interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, jobseekers and job applicants.
It recognizes that “individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer” can also be subjected to violence and harassment.
The standard covers violence and harassment occurring in the workplace; places where a worker is paid, takes a rest or meal break, or uses sanitary, washing or changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel, training, events or social activities; work-related communications (including through information and communication technologies); in employer-provided accommodation; and when commuting to and from work. It also recognizes that violence and harassment may involve third parties.