Unions Call on UN to Follow Australia’s Lead for Workplace Violence
3 October 2016 at 11:28 am
The peak union body is calling on the United Nations to follow Australia’s lead in preventing violence in the workplace and providing domestic violence leave.
The International Labor Organisation, which is meeting in Geneva this week, has sought Australia’s advice on the impact of violence on the workplace in a bid to shape an international convention on violence against women and men at work.
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, who is speaking on behalf of employees at the forum on Violence Against Women and Men in the World of Work, said it marked the first step in establishing international labour standards related to violence in the workplace.
“Whether this violence takes the form of physical bullying, physiological bullying, sexual harassment or assault, or domestic and family violence, we need to acknowledge that workplaces need to do more to prevent this, and work together internationally against it,” Kearney said.
“I’m going to Geneva as a representative of employees to discuss violence in the workplace and what we can do to prevent it.
“Violence in the workplace affects far too many people every year, and all countries, including Australia, need to do more to prevent it and help people who have been and are experiencing violence in their workplaces.”
Kearney said the ACTU was proud to represent workers in Australia and all around the world at this important event.
“The ACTU is proud to be a world leader on these issues, advocating for the rights of all working people,” she said.
“This forum represents a great opportunity to move toward international standards that will protect people from violence in the workplace and in their communities.”
It comes as the ACTU is running a test case in the Fair Work Commission for the introduction of a mandatory extra 10 days of paid leave for domestic violence victims.
This entitlement would be incorporated into enterprise agreements.
Kearney said the provision of a minimum 10 days leave on the provision of reasonable evidence was necessary to support victims of family and domestic violence and promote social inclusion and increased workforce participation.
“Domestic and family violence leave should be accessible by casual as well as ongoing employees,” she said.
“We should not discriminate against people who are already in less secure work.
“Family and domestic violence is a crime and a serious human rights violation, which is all too prevalent in Australia. We must work together to eliminate it and the ACTU is proud to be leading the way with our claim for 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave.”
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will also attend the conference in Geneva.