On 12-13 September 2022, in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the Seimas palace, a high-level conference on ratifying the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention No. 190 was organized. The organizing organization was the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK) financially and consultatively assisted by the ILO. The conference was also supported by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania.
Its aim was to raise awareness and promote the ratification of the ILO Convention No. 190 on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. In the conference participated politicians, representatives of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, trade union activists, foreign guests and others.
The event was opened by Inga Ruginienė, president of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation. In her speech, she expressed hope that this event will facilitate a dialogue between workers’ organizations and decision-makers, and soon we will see the Convention No. 190 ratified in Lithuania.
In her address, Monika Navickienė, Minister of Social Security and Labour, stressed that any positive changes in this context are possible only in close cooperation with social partners and various relevant state institutions. In her opinion, these kinds of events are valuable in finding common ground on cooperation possibilities.
Sergejus Glovackas, ILO ACTRAV Desk Officer for Europe and Central Asia, reminded us that this conference, organized with the ILO, also has a historical aspect: the pandemic did not let Lithuania commemorate its membership century in the ILO (which was a year ago) properly, so in a way, it is done now.
One of the main speakers of the two-day event was Victor Hugo Ricco, ILO ACTRAV Senior Specialist on workers’ activities. His presentations on the regional context of fighting Violence and Harassment in the world of work and specifics of the ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206, also, a presentation on the two newly included fundamental ILO Conventions on health and safety at work, helped to pave a path to fruitful discussions and view exchanges.
The main panel of the first day was on the Lithuanian context: conditions and challenges for C190 ratification. In it participated Inga Ruginienė, President of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation, Vytautas Šilinskas, Vice-minister of Social Security and Labour, Birutė Sabatauskaitė, Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania, Mindaugas Lingė, Chair of the Seimas Committee on Social Affairs and Labour, Lina Kukuraitis, former Minister of Social Security and Labour, Deputy Chair of the Seimas Committee on Social Affairs and Labour.
After the high-level political discussion, Mariana Žukienė, Representative of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, presented a more detailed view on the national law compliance to principles and provisions of the Convention No. 190. According to her, with the fresh legal changes which will come into power this November, most of this process is already done. There are only a few areas to analyse and make adjustments (if needed) left.
M. Žukienė mentioned that there is still work to be done: on the harmonization of certain concepts; regarding guidelines and training topics; it is also necessary to analyze the Law on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women of the Republic of Lithuania and see if any changes are needed; the dispute resolution mechanism may still need to be improved.
The second day started with a recap of the first day and was followed by a discussion ‘Problem of Violence in Harassment at Work: Elephant in a Room?’. Its participants: Jolanta Bielskienė, Representative of the State Labour Inspectorate, Emilija Švobaitė, Lawyer, Representative of the ‘May 1st” Trade Union, Tomas Griškevičius, Lawyer of the Lithuanian Trade Union ‘Solidarumas’, Aušra Volodkaitė, Chairperson of the Lithuanian Organization of Nursing Specialists and S. Glovackas, ILO ACTRAV Desk Officer for Europe and Central Asia. The panel showed a more layered panorama of this problematics in Lithuania and the on-ground situation of trends, weaknesses of processes and possible solutions.
After the public event was wrapped up, a closed part oriented to trade union activists and practical actions started. Goda Neverauskaitė, ITUC-PERC Political Advisor, presented possible ways trade unions in other countries promoted the ratification process of the C190 and what Lithuania could learn from that experience. The last block of this part, led by S. Glovackas, took a more strategic view on what actions and priorities should trade unions focus on to encourage the ratification process.