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International Trade Union Confederation - Asia Pacific
One Marina Boulevard, 9th Floor NTUC Centre, Singapore 018989 Tel: (65) 6327 3590 Fax: (65) 6327 3576 E-mail: email@example.com
President: Dr. G. Sanjeeva Reddy
General Secretary: Noriyuki Suzuki
ITUC - ASIA PACIFIC
15 November 2012
To: All Affiliated Organisations
Dear Friends: ITUC-AP Resolutions and Declaration Enclosed please find the following resolutions and statement which were adopted at the recently concluded 8th Meeting of the ITUC-AP Regional General Council held in Amman, Jordan, 2 - 3 November 2012: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Resolution No. 1 - Karachi Inferno Resolution No. 2 - Pakistan: Federal Industrial Relations Act 2012 Resolution No. 3 - Trade Union Action Against Sexual Harassment Annexure to Resolution No. 3: Report of Regional Conference towards International Instruments on Sexual Harassment at Workplace Resolution No. 4 - Fighting HIV/AIDS Resolution No. 5 - Republic of Korea Resolution No. 6 - Denial of Workers Rights in Maruti Suzuki India ITUC-AP Amman Declaration on Advancing Maternity Protection for Gender Equality for Empowerment of Women and Free Choice of Lifestyle
We would appreciate it if you would take necessary actions on the adopted resolutions and send them to your government, employers’ organisations and international institutions such as country offices of the World Bank, the IMF and the ADB. Kindly keep us informed of your actions and feedback received from your government and the other organisations, if any. With very best wishes, Fraternally yours, Noriyuki Suzuki General Secretary Encl. Cc. Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC
ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE GENEREAL SECRETARY
Resolution No. 1 KARACHI INFERNO The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2 - 3 November 2012: IS SHOCKED at the deadly Karachi Inferno of “Ali Enterprise” which caused tragic death of 315 workers, the second largest industrial accident in the world; at the unnecessary loss of workers’ lives and conveys condolences to the bereaved families; the failure of Labour Inspection System and International monitoring system under Certification of SA 8000; the Government of Pakistan for proper implementation of safety standards laws in factories and the International organisation for the effective enforcement of their standards for the workers safety and welfare; and ratification of the ILO Convention No.115 and other international organisations of the world of work for long term programmes on safe and better work conditions and the capacity building of the workers organisations on OSH related aspects.
EXPRESSES PROFOUD GRIEF CONDEMNS URGES
Resolution No. 2 PAKISTAN: FEDERAL INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT 2012 The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2 - 3 November 2012: WELCOMES the Government of Pakistan initiative for the enactment of Federal Industrial Relations Act 2012 and the existence of the Regulating Authority the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC) intact; that certain provisions of the IRA 2012 are not in conformity with the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 ratified by Government of Pakistan; that these provisions be brought in line with the ILO Conventions; and that the capacity of NIRC be further strengthened for proper performance of its statutory role stipulated in the Industrial Relations Act.
NOTES URGES FURTHER URGES
Resolution No. 3 TRADE UNION ACTION AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2 - 3 November 2012: DEFINES that Sexual Harassment is unwelcome advance by sexually offensive gestures or comments, sex oriented jibes, verbal abuse or displays, unwelcome request for sexual favors, in many cases persistent ones. Sexual Harassment connotes both in horizontal and vertical employment relationships, covert or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats, in exchange for sexual favors, concerning present or future employment status, in other words, quid pro quo. Sexual Harassment makes a reasonable person feel unpleasant, offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. Sexual Harassment hurts and damages personal dignity and integrity, creates an intimidating, offending, hostile or offensive working environment and has detrimental effect on employment, work ethic or the work effectiveness individually and collectively; that Sexual Harassment is an intolerable act of violence against humanity, affecting employment and detrimental to working environment; that victims are predominantly women and accordingly, Sexual Harassment is a typical act of violence against women; that UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 1993 Article 1 and 2 that “For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "Violence against Women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life (Article 1)” and that “Violence against Women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following: (a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation; (b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution; and (c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs (Article 2)”.
that the CEDAW 1 General Recommendation No. 19 (1992) Article 11 declares that equality in employment can be seriously impaired when women are subjected to gender-specific violence, such as sexual harassment in the workplace and that such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem; it is discriminatory when the woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment, including recruitment or promotion, or when it creates a hostile working environment; that ILO Convention 155 Occupational Safety and Health Convention Article 3 defines that the term health, in relation to work, indicates not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; it also includes the physical and mental elements affecting health which are directly related to safety and hygiene at work; and that the ILO Convention 189 Article 5 stipulates that Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence.
that sexual harassment has become a major concern, as more and more women participate in the work force, across countries including in the Asia and Pacific, affecting individuals, workplaces, enterprises, families, communities and the society in general; the discussion on developments and trends in anti-sexual harassment legislation provided an overview on progress countries and governments, particularly in the region, have made in addressing sexual harassment; and that, at the national level, sexual harassment is addressed either through specific legislation or under broader statutes such as human rights, labour laws, contract laws, tort or personal injury or criminal laws; the conclusion of the ITUC-AP Conference towards International Instruments on Sexual Harassment Workplace held in Singapore on 18-19 September 2012 as attached herewith; that most countries have adopted some form of legislation at the national level that covers sexual harassment; growing number of countries have adopted specific legislation to address sexual harassment; increasing explicit recognition and protection against sexual harassment in legislation; affiliates to strengthen their action against Sexual Harassment in collective bargaining, bi-and tripartite structures and in national legislation; and the ILO to commence to create an international instrument concerning Sexual Harassment.
UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
Annexure to Resolution No. 3
Report of Regional Conference towards International Instruments on Sexual Harassment at Workplace 18 - 19 September 2012, Singapore Summary Sexual harassment has become a major concern, as more and more women participate in the labour market across countries including in the Asia and Pacific, affecting individuals, workplaces, enterprises, families, communities and the society in general. The discussion on developments and trends in anti-sexual harassment action provided an overview on progress in trade union action and legislation that affiliates and governments in the region, have made in addressing sexual harassment. On the basis of country reports, the conference analysed key contents of trade union action, particularly on definitions, penalty, scope, prevention, protection and reintegration that provided an opportunity for the ITUC-AP and affiliates to share important similarities and differences to dealing with sexual harassment. The discussions further provided important inputs, including the draft ITUC-AP definition of Sexual Harassment, into the development of trade union positions on the proposed international instrument on sexual harassment. The following report is the summary of discussion on the definition of Sexual Harassment and points to be included in legislation and trade union action. Report of the Conference I. ITUC-AP Definition of Sexual Harassment Sexual Harassment is unwelcome advance by sexually offensive gestures or comments, sex oriented jibes, verbal abuse or displays, unwelcome request for sexual favors, in many cases persistent ones. Sexual Harassment connotes both in horizontal and vertical employment relationships, covert or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats, in exchange for sexual favors, concerning present or future employment status, in other words, quid pro quo. Sexual Harassment makes a reasonable person feel unpleasant, offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. Sexual Harassment hurts and damages personal dignity and integrity, creates an intimidating, offending, hostile or offensive working environment and has detrimental effect on employment, work ethic or the work effectiveness individually and collectively. Examples: Physical Touching Making homophobic comments and sexually suggestive signals, winking Sending unwanted e-mail, text message, positing sexually-explicit jokes on an office internet Unnecessary physical contact and touching Physical assault
Verbal Making sexual comments or innuendos Telling sexual jokes, or asking about sexual fantasies Making insults based on a person’s sex or rating their sexuality Turning work discussions to sexual topics Requests for sexual favors Non-Verbal Leering or ogling Displaying pictures, calendar, PC desktop wall paper or other sexually explicit materials]Sending anonymous letters Whistling Pretentiously positive remarks on personality with sexual connotations II. 1. Points to be included in policies against Sexual Harassment Preamble/Principle • Sexual Harassment is an intolerable act of violence against humanity, affecting employment and detrimental to working environment. Victims are predominantly women. • Trade unions should act to eradicate ‘quid pro quo” harassment and “environmental harassment” through specific legislation and trade action against SH both in vertical and horizontal employment relationships. • Prevention should be given higher priority than cure. • TU should build support and protection mechanisms for victims in grievance procedures in keeping confidentiality at the workplace, and in conciliation / arbitration / court process. • Tripartite partners should ensure that appropriate standards for prevention and protection against sexual harassment are in place and are being implemented effectively. • International standards should be created to urge national legislation and strengthen trade union action. Item Complaint Process Trade Union Policy • A policy statement mandating zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual harassment. • Coverage and description of what constitutes sexual harassment. • Clearly described, easy to understand and complainantfriendly policies, procedures, practices and processes. • Creation of appropriate complaints’ committees (preferably chaired by a woman) with clear roles and responsibilities composed of properly trained and sensitised officials, with the support of external third-party experts, when appropriate. Legislation • Proper and clear definition of what constitutes Sexual Harassment, its scope of and who may file a complaint/case of sexual harassment. • Simple and clear procedures in the reporting, investigation, conciliation, and implementation of decisions. • Accessible, affordable, efficient and complainant-friendly avenues for filing and resolving complaints. • Creation of appropriate antisexual committees/structures. • Liabilities and appropriate penalties for damages and compensation.
• Other accessible points of contact for the initial complaint. • Other mechanisms which employees can use to discuss or report about sexual harassment on anonymous basis (e.g. internal/external hotlines). • Ensure quick, thorough and impartial investigation. • Adequate measures to ensure maximum confidentiality (including records of complaints) and protection of complainants including witnesses against retaliation. • Prompt and reasonable time frames in investigating and resolving complaint. • Intermediate measures to protect the complainant from further harassment in the course of reporting and investigation. • Protective and remedial measures (both to ensure that the harassment does not recur or to correct the effects of harassment). • In case an employee files a complaint using other avenues (e.g. court), an internal investigation should still be done. • Avenues for independent criminal and/or action for damages. 2 Penalty • Consultation with management in the development of appropriate disciplinary rules and penalties against the harasser. • Ensure that results of investigation or decisions (including penalties) are carried out without delay. • Avenues for independent action for damages and compensation.
• Avenues for filing sexual harassment complaints. • Possible waiving of fees for lowincome complainants. • Independent criminal or action for damages. • Provision of and access to free or low-cost legal services. • Reasonable periods in filing of and for resolution of complaints.
• Clarity of degree of penalties, compensation, disciplinary action and procedures. • Responsibilities and duties of employers. • Institute appropriate penalties and sanctions including actions for damages and compensation. • Complainants’ right to appeal against unfavourable decisions. • Naming the harasser and shaming the involved company.
• Clarity on duties and responsibilities of employers to prevent sexual harassment.
• Strong legislations, policies, funded programs, services and other national mechanisms on sexual harassment prevention.
• Inclusion of sexual harassment provisions in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). • Extensive trade union education and training programs on sexual harassment. • Inclusion of sexual harassment in orientation sessions for newlyhired workers. • Effective social campaign and including development, compilation of cases and dissemination (e.g. posting in conspicuous places, inclusion in employees’ handbook) of easyto-understand materials. • Ensuring that third-party such as suppliers, customers, clients, and guests are aware of the antisexual harassment policy. • Removal of elements, factors and practices which perpetuate sexual harassment (e.g., pornographic materials, common rest rooms, frisking of women workers by male guards). • Jointly with employers, training of supervisors and managers on the prevention, detection, response and monitoring of sexual harassment. • Representation in the development, dissemination and enforcement of complainantfriendly policies and (formal and informal) procedures to prevent, investigate and eliminate sexual harassment, including the conduct of periodic reviews of the policy. • Making public the names of existence of a complaint committee. • Creation of women’s committees, anti-sexual harassment desks and victim support network. • Regularly maintaining records (both formal and informal) of harassment complaints. • Collaborate with local government units, organisations,
• Clarity of duties and responsibilities of employers or head of office or institutions. • Clear mandates and responsibilities of concerned agencies and institutions. • National tripartite policy and funded programs on sexual harassment prevention. • Inclusion of sexual harassment prevention in school curriculum (starting at the secondary level). • Promulgation of anti-sexual harassment policy, procedures and appropriate committees both in public and private institutions.
institutions and other stakeholders in coming up with local anti-sexual harassment ordinances. 4 Protection • Clear policy of a zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual harassment. • Training of union officials and members of a complaint committee on proper handling of sexual harassment grievances and complainants. • Designation of specially-trained union officials to serve as adviser or counselor. • Unions may lodge a complaint on behalf of the complainantmember/worker. • Establishment of adequate measures to ensure maximum confidentiality (including records of complaints and investigation). • Protection of complainants including witnesses against retaliation. • Protective measures to ensure that the harassment does not recur (e.g., changing work schedules of the victim and harasser; training or counseling of harasser; provision of special leaves with pay for victims while the case is being investigated. 5 Rehabilitation • Financial support to victims. • Moral support, privacy at workplace. • Counseling and medical leave. • Support network for victims. • Training of members. • Remedial measures (e.g., payment for lost time). • Monitoring victims. • Follow up on improved behavior of harasser. • Centralised reporting and analyses of statistics and data on sexual harassment. • Responsibility for financial support to victims by Harasser, Employer and Government. • Practical assistance – legal, counseling, medical. • Financial compensation for injuries, damages. • Rehabilitation and Counseling for victims and family members. • Support for victims -shelter/accommodation, separation from harasser including moving cost. • Extra-financial support other than compensation, if they are unable to return to work for some time.
• Adopt measures and policies to protect the rights and needs of victims. • Ensure protection of complainants from discrimination as a result of filing a complaint. • Ensure protection of victims and witnesses against retaliation including assistance and support in all stages of the process. • Ensure confidentiality of the complainant and due process in the investigation of the case/complaint. • Access to complainants-friendly processing and other protective facilities (e.g., support centers, residential assistance, and counseling).
• Job protection. • Rehabilitation and counseling for harasser. • Employment protection for victims, time-off with pay, etc. 6 Others • Advocacy for ILO instruments on sexual harassment and appropriate national law and regulations. • Include sexual harassment in government’s workplace inspection report. • Procedures for monitoring and evaluating effective implementation of the law and regulations. • Agencies to maintain and regularly make summary reports on complaints and action. • Transparent processes and procedures arrived at by tripartite discussion and decision. III. Conclusion The Conference recognised that many of these initiatives are positive actions taken by affiliates; however, expressed strong conviction that specific international standards or instruments on sexual harassment would adequately address the specific issues, concerns and needs of sexual harassment victims, including prevention, protection, and reintegration in standardising trade union action and national legislation in a comprehensive way. A gist of conference conclusions, which would constitute a framework of a proposed ILO instrument, is as follows: 1. Need of specific legislation concerning Sexual Harassment which should include definitions, complaint/grievance procedures, penalties, prevention, protection and rehabilitation. 2. Trade union should establish policies on Sexual Harassment focusing on • Basic principles against Sexual Harassment • Protection of victims • Special grievance procedures and institutional support for victims • Special support committees for victims, jointly with third-party network, when appropriate • Inclusion of Sexual Harassment in trade union education to members and Trade Union staff 3. Joint action with employers • Inclusion of Sexual Harassment in CBA • Creation of company rules and regulations concerning SH and their enforcement • Extensive training and education • Joint declaration at company / industry / national level industrial relations conferences 4. Public and internal campaign against Sexual Harassment in coordination with ITUC/ITUC-AP/GUFs
Resolution No. 4 FIGHTING HIV/AIDS The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2-3 November 2012: EXPRESSES its deep concern at the massive human suffering caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It commits the ITUC to work for strong and effective action to prevent, control and ultimately eradicate HIV and AIDS. that today, almost 34 million people live with HIV worldwide and more than 7,000 new infections occur every day. About 64% of people eligible for ARV treatment (meaning that they are already in a severe stage of AIDS) in low– and middle-income countries continue to have no access to life saving treatment. Young people (aged 15-24) account for 42% of the new HIV infections among adults. In most parts of the world human rights violations that increase the risk of HIV infection, and those that follow after HIV infection, are getting worse. Since the infection rate is highest among people in the prime of their working life the economic and social impact of the epidemic is disastrous. Yet the devastation from AIDS is not spread equally around the world. 90% of people with HIV are living under circumstances of economic and social disadvantage and the same proportion of new HIV infections occur in low income countries. The countries heavily affected by infectious disease are often those least able to fight back. that the consequences of HIV/AIDS have profound implications for the exercise of human rights and are symptomatic of the deeper crisis, poverty, inequality and social injustice faced by poor people around the world. General Council recognises that the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic reflects and reinforces other sources of disadvantage and inequality in society, including that experienced by women, youth, migrants, the unemployed, refugees, gays and lesbians. The particular vulnerability of women makes it essential to strengthen gender perspectives in the fight against HIV/AIDS. the importance of the International Labour Organisation’s role in addressing workplace aspects of HIV/AIDS and welcomes the adoption of the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work no. 200 (2010). In that regard, General Council emphasises: • the absolute need to protect those infected with HIV/AIDS from all forms of discrimination at work and to extend to them the protections offered by ILO Convention 111; • the guarantees of privacy and confidentiality that are essential for any successful workplace HIV/AIDS programme. It reiterates that any workplace surveillance, including monitoring and managing of HIV/AIDS must take place without compromising personal data privacy and confidentiality rights;
• the need for workplace HIV/AIDS programmes to be designed and implemented in consultation with the workers and their representatives; and • the need for workplace health programmes to be linked to public health services. CALLS ON Governments to commit to full implementation of the ILO Recommendation No. 200, underlines that all countries, whatever their infection rate, can benefit from a legal framework that brings HIV-related workplace problems into the open, protects against discrimination, respects privacy and confidentiality rights, prevents workplace infection risks and ensures the participation of stakeholders in relevant mechanisms and institutions. General Council equally welcomes the adoption of the Political Declaration “Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly's High Level Meeting on AIDS in June 2011 in which all Member States committed themselves to: “mitigate the impact of the epidemic on workers, their families, their dependants, workplaces and economies, including by taking into account all relevant conventions of the International Labour Organisation, as well as the guidance provided by the relevant International Labour Organisation recommendations, including Recommendation No. 200” and called on “employers, trade and labour unions, employees and volunteers to eliminate stigma and discrimination, protect human rights and facilitate access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support” (Paragraph 85 of the 2011 UNGA Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS). General Council believes that this commitment could play a game-changing role for achieving universal access, finding new models of cooperation, reviewing the role of trade unions in the partnership landscape for HIV/AIDS and considering synergies for delivering on multiple development outcomes. its deep concern about the impact of the global crisis on the funding of the fight against HIV/AIDS and calls on all Governments to keep their promises to deliver resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals on HIV/AIDS to halt and begin to reverse the spread of the pandemic by 2015. The crisis has already put HIV prevention and treatment programs in jeopardy. General Council insists that the fight against HIV/AIDS must not become one more victim of the crisis. that equitable and full access to health care, and in particular medicines for HIV, is a human right and that promoting effective action against HIV/AIDS in all countries is a moral responsibility of the international community and must be a priority of international development assistance policy and programmes. General Council equally insists on the imperative need to build effective and universally accessible public systems of health care in all countries so that each state discharges its responsibility to realise the right to health of its citizens. affiliates to take necessary action to work out a “National policy on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work” in line with the ITUC-AP Guide Line, specifically focusing on: • Raising HIV/AIDS to greater prominence on the trade union agenda worldwide; • Supporting affiliates’ activities to educate, promote and develop understanding and commitment among workers on HIV/AIDS and workplace, rights-based approaches to HIV/AIDS;
• Promoting campaigns for appropriate legislation on HIV/AIDS in line with the terms of this resolution and providing speedy and effective remedies; • Promoting the fullest and most effective implementation of the new ILO instrument on HIV/AIDS and the world of work both at the national and international level; • Engaging employers’ organisations in joint efforts to combat HIV/AIDS discrimination in the workplace; • Strengthening partnerships with the ILO, UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and other concerned international organisations, including facilitating trade union access to Global Fund financing; • Promoting an effective global and regional trade union network on HIV/AIDS; and • Integrating the gender dimension of HIV/AIDS in all activities.
Resolution No. 5 REPUBLIC OF KOREA The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2-3 November 2012: EXPRESS its strong solidarity to the action of 2 precarious workers in Hyundai Motor, Choe, Beyeong-Seung and Chun, Ui-Bong, who have been sitting on an electric pylon with high voltage since 17 October 2012, protesting against the company's failure to recognise the permanent status of employees even after the Supreme Court decision which recognised the illegality of in-house subcontracting in the company and the permanent status of those workers who had worked for more than 2 years with precarious status in the company; that the court decision has been totally ignored by the auto giant under the acquiescence of the government and the prosecution. Instead of regulation of those precarious workers, the company announced a plan for a new recruitment, which is already criticised in the parliament. The company is taking an extremely hostile line including bring forward accusation against 26 union officials and made a lawsuit for compensation of damage after the union's strike asking the company to accept the court decision. On 24 October, plain clothes police enter the plant and violently arrested the chairman of union Local, who is now released and investigated without detention. On the contrary, the illegality and manipulation of law by the employer has been connived; that the struggle of precarious workers in Hyundai motor is significant not only for the workers in Korea but also for the workers in the region and the world, where precarious workers is being spread more and more and threatening fundamental labour rights of all workers. In this regard, we will continue our support and solidarity until the demand of Korean workers are realised; and the Hyundai Motor to regularise all in-house subcontracting workers following up on the Supreme Court decision and stop any action to deprive the workers of fundamental labour rights. The Ministry of Labour, the prosecution and the police should take appreciate legal action against all illegality by the company.
Resolution No. 6 DENIAL OF WORKERS RIGHTS IN MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA The 8th ITUC-AP Regional General Council Meeting held in Amman, Jordan, on 2-3 November 2012: CONCERNED at the continuing industrial struggle in the Maruti Suzuki, Manesar plant in India and no serious attempt by the management and authorities to resolve the issue; the denial of workers’ rights by the management including refusal to give recognition of the union of the workers and enter into collective bargaining in the Maneswar plant; that over 150 workers are still languishing in jail on serious criminal charges including those who were not even present in the factory premises when the violent incident occurred on 18 July 2012; the action of the management in foisting a management union on the workers; solidarity with workers fighting for their legitimate rights; and i) ii) immediate release of arrested workers from jail; restore recognition of the democratically established union in Manesar plant; iii) intervention of both state and central governments in the matter; iv) the management to initiate meaningful discussions with the union to settle the long-pending issues including reinstatement of 1,500 sacked employees; v) institute a judicial investigation into the dispute and incident at the at the factory; and vi) stop contractualisation.
SERIOUSLY CONCERNED CONDEMNS EXPRESSES DEMANDS
ITUC-AP Amman Declaration on Advancing Maternity Protection for Gender Equality for Empowerment of Women and Free Choice of Lifestyle Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, at a certain life stage of women, they are often faced with a dilemma between career or family. Women should be given both opportunities – career and family. Unless sufficient maternity protection is extended to women in certain period in compliance with the ILO Convention 183, women will remain being excluded from the labour market, being not given free choice of employment. The ILO Convention 183, otherwise known as Maternity Protection Convention, stipulates that women who give birth are enabled to retain or regain their health; income during maternity leave is assured and not lost for their welfare, their child and their family; and, ensured of employment while pregnant including a job to return to after maternity leave - so that they can pursue their careers, which is prohibition of discrimination against women in employment. These protections are the key factor for the empowerment of women. Indeed, if maternity protection is not advanced on the basis of women’s reproductive role and traditionally rooted and prevailing gender stereotypical role for family responsibilities, and male dominated work style, women will be continuously excluded from the labour market especially in view of casualisation and informalisation of the labour market. This will lead to discrimination against women. Maternity protection as a basic human right of women workers is a key factor to eliminate discrimination against women in employment, and, importantly, eradicate causes for persistent gander pay gap. Through assiduous action by the ITUC-AP affiliates, we welcome steady advancement of gender equality in terms of national legislation and collective bargaining agreement in the areas of health protection, maternity leave, benefits, employment protection and nondi9scrimination and breast feeding mothers. However, the gap between the ILO Convention 183 and the level and the coverage of maternity protection in legislations and collective bargaining are still evident mainly because of: • persistent traditional notion that maternity protection is a women’s issue, not a trade union issue; • accordingly, maternity protection is not given a high priority on the trade union agenda; • lack of awareness of women that the maternity protection is the right of women; • lack of coordinated action of national trade unions to advance maternity protection; • exemption of informal sector from legal and trade union protection; and • reluctance of employers due to cost element, such as paid maternity leave and breast feeding; space allocated at workplace or breastfeeding/day care and so forth. “Family Raising” shall not be risk to women. Maternity protection, through CBA, legislation and organising, is an important instrument to support women to participate in economy, and thus to advance empowerment for women. This will further contribute to create a firm base for social and political empowerment of women, and more women in the trade union leadership. In accordance with the ITUC-AP Regional Conference Resolution on Gender Equality, we hereby reaffirm our commitment to further advance maternity protection nationally and in the region. The ITUC - Asia Pacific Regional General Council Adopted by its 8th Meeting in Amman, Jordan, 2 - 3 November 2012