CARE Australia has welcomed the Government’s commitment to support the development of new global standards that would protect workers from violence and harassment.
CARE Australia Chief Executive Sally Moyle said the government’s pledge of support for a convention at last week’s International Labour Conference in Geneva sent a clear message that violence and harassment at work was never acceptable.
“Workplace violence and harassment is a global issue and it demands a global response,” Ms Moyle said.
“A convention will help create an internationally agreed upon definition of what constitutes workplace violence and harassment. It’s a vital first step towards tackling this issue at a global level.”
The Government’s change of position follows CARE’s #ThisIsNotWorking campaign, which called for Australia to make a commitment to improve safety standards in countries that have inadequate laws against sexual harassment in the workplace.
An online petition linked to CARE’s campaign attracted close to 5,000 signatures in Australia, and more than 100,000 signatures worldwide.
“People around the world have stood up and said ‘this is not working’,” Ms Moyle said. “They put world leaders on notice and reminded them that all workplaces should be free from violence and sexual harassment.
“It’s fantastic to see the Australian Government has listened to all those people who feel so strongly about this issue important issue.”
Fifty per cent of the world’s working women are in vulnerable employment, often unprotected by labour legislation. In Asia that is as high as 80 per cent. Research conducted by CARE in Cambodia found that 1 in 3 garment workers faced violence and abuse in the last 12 months. CARE also found the productivity cost of sexual harassment in the garment industry is estimated at more than $117 million per year.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on gender equality to bring lasting change to their communities. To find out more about #ThisIsNotWorking, go to www.caretoact.org.au.
To arrange interviews, contact CARE Australia Senior Media Advisor.