Arnon Bar-David, chairman of the Histadrut, has called on Minister for Social Affairs Itzik Shmuli to act in order to ratify the ILO’s convention 190, which deals with violence and harassment at the workplace. The convention calls all ILO members who have ratified it to commit to reducing incidents of violence or harassment of any kind in the workplace, including assault and gender based discrimination.

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Bar-David, who heads the largest trade union in Israel, added that the coronavirus has made it all the more important to act in order to protect workers. “We have witnessed an unacceptable rise in violence and harassment against essential workers, such as doctors, nurses, retail workers and public transport workers.”

He also stated that Israel has seen a rise in domestic violence in recent months as many workers have begun working from home due to coronavirus. Ratifying the convention would mean that the government would be expected to act in order to protect those working from home by enforcing flexible working hours and a protection from redundancy.

“The convention protects all workers, including volunteers and trainees, and clearly states the role of governments and social groups in preventing and addressing the issue of violence and harassment at the workplace,” added Bar-David.