The Minister of Home Affairs the Hon. Walton Brown JP MP is part of a Bermuda delegation currently attending the 107th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The annual conference, taking place from May 28 to June 8 brings together the tripartite delegations from the organization’s 187 member states to consider a series of topics related to the world of work, placed on its agenda by the Governing Body of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Minister Brown is joined by President of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress Senator Jason Hayward JP, President of the Bermuda Employer's Council Keith Jensen and Manager of the Labour Relations Section for the Government of Bermuda Gabrielle Cann.
The Conference is composed of various committees.
The Bermuda attendees are members of the UK delegation and sit as advisors on the Standard Setting Committee, looking at the topic of violence and harassment in the world of work, which is a part of the ILC agenda. The ILO has embarked on a process geared towards the adoption of a possible new standard on violence and harassment in the world of work.
The task of this committee is to negotiate a guiding framework on how to effectively prevent and address violence and harassment at work. The committee is being called upon to decide whether the new instrument or instruments should take the form of a Convention, which is binding, or a Recommendation, which is non-binding but provides practical guidance, or both.
“Currently high on Bermuda’s agenda is the growing number of workplace sexual harassment incidents,” Minister Brown said. “As a result, I am seeking to amend the legislation to address these issues and provide for adequate sanctions, as the current labour legislation does not provide for the same.”
The public may recall that Minister Brown recently hosted international speaker Ms Minna Salami in Bermuda who conducted talks on sexual harassment within the workplace and sensitivity towards sexual orientation within the workplace.
The Minister is also seeking to consolidate and codify the labour legislation into one statutory instrument to simplify Bermuda’s labour laws and to avoid conflicting provisions that currently exist with the various Acts. As such, the Minister has created a tripartite committee, which includes two of the Bermuda delegation members, to review current legislation, consult with social partners and provide recommendations on necessary reform.