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ICA Backs Zero Tolerance for Harassment & Discrimination

BUENOS AIRES – The cooperative movement has approved a formal commitment towards the promotion of a decent working environment and zero tolerance for any form of harassment. The fact that a global actor like the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) commits itself against harassment is a milestone for the international community. 
The members of the ICA unanimously approved the Declaration on Decent Work and Against Harassment presented at the last General Assembly held on October 21.
The text emphasizes that the cooperative movement endorses the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation (2002) and the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (2015) and recalls that the commitments included in the declaration align with the Cooperative Values and Principles as indicated in the Statement of the Cooperative Identity.
“We are one of the first international organizations saying formally and strongly that a decent working environment is fundamental in our society and that there is no room for any form of harassment in our organizations”, said the President of the ICA, Ariel Guarco.
In the declaration, the International Co-operative Alliance commits itself to “respect, promote and act diligently to support the fundamental tenets of decent work, namely: 1) freedom of association and full recognition of the right to collective bargaining; 2) the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; 3) an end to child labour, and 4) the elimination of discrimination in employment and every form of work”.
In addition, the ICA ensures zero tolerance towards any kind of sexual and moral harassment and violence in the workplace or misconduct, including intimidation, oppression and discrimination, as well as any abuse of power.
Valuing its partnerships with international institutions, such as the European Commission (through the ICA – EU Partnership Agreement “Cooperatives in Development - People Centered Businesses in Action”) and the ILO, the International Co-operative Alliance guarantees full compliance with the strict ethical and professional standards expected to preserve reliable collaborations and trust in the international development area. 
The Philippines has a law specifically against sexual harassment, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, which declares sexual harassment as unlawful in employment, education or training environment.  
The Act defines work, education or training-related sexual harassment as “committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor or any other person who,having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the object of said Act.”
In addition, the Act mandates employers and heads of office “to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment.”
Under said law, employers and heads of office are: “liable for damages arising from the acts of   sexual harassment committed in the employment, education or training environment if the employer or head of office, educational or training institution is informed of such acts by the offended party and no immediate action is taken.”
Violators will be fined imprisoned one (1) month to six (6) months, and/or fined Ten thousand pesos (P10,000) to Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000). 
View the ICA Declaration here: www.ica.coop/en/media/library/declaration/ica-declaration-decent-work-and-against-harassment

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