Home News Minister Teo cites "concerns about overreach" in abstaining from voting for ILO...

Minister Teo cites “concerns about overreach” in abstaining from voting for ILO treaty against workplace harassment

One of the requirements of the new convention includes adopting laws and regulations mandating a reasonable and practical workplace policy on violence and harassment. Singapore companies are currently not obligated to have such a policy

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

Singapore — Manpower Minister Josephine Teo cited “concerns about overreach” as the reason behind Singapore’s decision to abstain from voting in the United Nations global pact against workplace violence and harassment.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) proposed the Violence And Harassment Convention 2019 on June 21, a new international labour standard that would be legally binding for countries that voted to ratify it.

One of the requirements of the new convention includes adopting laws and regulations mandating a reasonable and practical workplace policy on violence and harassment. Singapore companies are currently not obligated to have such a policy.

Additionally, the convention proposed that ratifying countries will be expected to ensure the effective investigation of cases of workplace violence and harassment.

- Advertisement -

The Ministry of Manpower previously released a statement saying that the the tripartite partners involved in the decision making—the MOM, the National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers Federation—considered that “the scope of the convention was cast very broadly.”

Responding to a query in Parliament, Minister Teo said the Singapore National Employers Federation “had grave concerns” regarding the treaty against workplace harassment and thus voted against the convention. However, the National Trades Union Congress, representing workers, voted in favour.

The new convention proposed including domestic violence in risk assessments which thus expands beyond the coverage of the workplace.

Other governments that abstained from voting for the new ILO convention include Russia, El Salvador, Malaysia, Paraguay, and Kyrgyzstan.

She said that it is Singapore’s policy to “only consider adopting or ratifying conventions which are in Singapore’s interests, with which (its) laws and policies can fully comply.”

Minister Teo added that they will continue studying the terms and will improve policies and measures following the convention “if they also meet our objectives.”

Singapore companies are already observing practical measures regarding response to and investigations of workplace harassment complaints.

Minister Teo said that “a very small percentage” of the complaints collected by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) are workplace-related.

“This is not to trivialise the concerns of those who did file the complaints, but in general, we do not have a pervasive issue. It is quite specific to certain employers and certain types of work arrangements. Those we will follow up,” Minister Teo said as quoted in a report by Channel News Asia.

However, Minister Teo said that Singapore voted in favour of a non-legally binding ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention last June 12 that “aligned” with the country’s objectives to promote decent work, ensuring workplace health and safety, and mitigating workplace fatalities. -/TISG

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Ex-UOB vice-president charged with mishandling over S$5.4 million

Singapore—Sixty-five-year-old Ling Shek Lun, who used to be a  vice-president at UOB, has been charged with mishandling millions of dollars, reported straitstimes.com (ST) on Friday (Feb 19). Ling, a Singaporean who was charged in district court on Feb 10, faces two charges...

Journalist asks Lim Tean if he’ll denounce the racism on Abolish CECA Petition FB page

Singapore—Journalist Kirsten Han asked lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean on Thursday (Feb 18) on social media whether he will denounce the “blatant racism” on the Abolish CECA Petition Facebook page. Mr Lim, the People's Voice party founder and leader, is named...

Woman prevents passerby from calling ambulance after her husband hits motorcyclist and pillion rider

A video of a woman trying to stop a passer-by from calling an ambulance, after her husband was the one who hit a motorcyclist and his pillion, went viral. The video was circulated online on Wednesday (Feb 17) and published on Facebook...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

Theindependent