The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and its social partners have called for the ratification of the International Labour Organisation ILO Convention 190 by the Nigerian government.
The call was made in Abuja at a stakeholders’ Round Table, organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress National Women Commission to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day globally marked on March 8.
ILO Convention 190 seeks to eliminate all forms of gender based violence and harassment in the world of work.
The year 2020 International Women’s Day was celebrated by different segments of Nigerian Women in grand style, using the opportunity to bring to the limelight issues affecting them.
For women in the organised labour like the Nigeria Labour Congress National Women Commission, this year’s International Women’s Day is about the campaign for the ratification of the International Labour Organisation ILO Convention 190.
The Convention was adopted by the Member countries of the ILO at its centenary conference in Geneva Switzerland, in 2019.
Addressing the participants at the meeting, General Secretary, NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja said ”the Convention 190 could not have come at a better time than now.”
He believes that Nigeria should take the center stage in ensuring that it becomes a legal document being one of the countries that voted for the adoption of the Convention by ILO Member countries.
“So, coming home we need to bring it back home. We need to push now for its ratification and domestication.
“There are moves to have the law reform take place, using the tripartite working relationship. So if we are at the verge of having fresh laws or having our laws reformed, it would be very wonderful if this is keyed in,” he said.
For the ILO, the Convention is a very rich document geared towards improving the lives of workers globally.
In a massage, Country Director ILO Dr Dennis Zulu said ”the Convention encompasses range of unacceptable behaviors or practices, that result in harming workers either physically, psychologically or in terms of sexual harassment.”
“This Convention most importantly is aimed to deal with sexual harassment, issues of gender-based violence is very important and is adequately covered in this Convention,” he said.
Chairperson NLC National Women Commission talked about the importance of Nigeria endorsing the Convention saying that the ratification and domestication “will improve productivity in the world of work, ensure decent work and equal work for equal pay.”
Country Programme Director West Africa, Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, Mr Sonny Ogbuehi, said that Convention 190 is targeted at prevention and elimination of gender based violence and harassment in the world of work and not punishment.
He said that both men and women were victims but women are most vulnerable.
“The Convention is not about sex but about unequal gender power dynamics in the office…One of the things we discovered from the work we’ve done around gender based violence and harassment , is that it is a global problem, so it is not something that is just restricted to Nigeria, it affects tens of millions of women workers across the world.
“Another thing we found out particularly, is that both men and women are victims but women are most frequently targeted,” Ogbuehi said.
He was represented by Mrs Nkechi Odinukwe, Senior Programme Officer, Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, Nigeria.
There were good will messages from the Action Aid, the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network ILAW and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association among others.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights.”