A safe world of work

A safe world of work

Imagine a world where all of us, no matter where we work or what we do, are safe from violence and harassment.

Imagine a world where all of us, no matter where we work or what we do, are safe from violence and harassment.

Sadly, that’s not yet the reality.

Violence and harassment affect every part of our society, especially women, marginalised groups, and vulnerable working people.

Too often we hear of nurses assaulted after a late shift, women sexually harmed by their bosses or colleagues, supermarket workers abused, public servants threatened, lawyers sexually harassed, trainees exploited, and economic violence experienced by migrant and other workforces.

Fortunately, we know why it happens. It’s not a mystery.

At its core, violence in all its forms is about gender and other inequalities and unequal power relationships.


There is hope.

Knowing why we are afflicted by violence and harassment in the world of work means we know what needs to be fixed.

The PSA, with the union movement in Aotearoa New Zealand, is leading a campaign to eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work.

The Coalition for a Safe World of Work also includes strong allies like UN Women, the National Council of Women, the Pay Equity Coalition, and EEO Commissioner Karanina Sumeo.

And we’re lucky to have a powerful tool to achieve our aim.


The International Labour Organisation Violence and Harassment Convention (C190) was adopted in 2019.

It is the first international law to establish the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

Our coalition wants to convince the New Zealand government to ratify C190.

The Convention defines violence and harassment as “a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment”.

And it defines the “world of work” as broader than just the physical workplace. The world of work covers job seekers, people who have lost their jobs, travel to and from work, off site meetings and training events, and working from home during the pandemic – anywhere that’s related to work


The convention provides a framework for the legal, cultural and industrial changes needed to eliminate violence, in all its forms, from work.

The convention brings together different approaches: health and safety, human rights, and gender power relations.

An issue this big means we need integrated, preventative approaches where governments, employers, unions, NGOs and communities work together.

The Coalition for a Safe World of Work believes that with policy people working on legislation that needs to be changed, and our allies and political champions on board, we can use the power of our collective stories and research to convince decision-makers to ratify ILO Convention 190.

If you want to join the campaign email liz.robinson@psa.org.nz.

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