Violence towards women at the workplace is a well-known phenomenon across EFFAT sectors. Sexual harassment in the hospitality industry occurs on a daily basis triggered by excessive alcohol consumption, irregular working hours and tipping. Being isolated and often invisible, also domestic and agricultural workers often fall victims of sexual harassment and discrimination.
25 November marks UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General said: ‘Violence and sexual harassment in the world of work are realities for thousands of women, yet still too often, raising this issue is a taboo. Victims are likely to work in sectors- like EFFAT’s - characterised by atypical forms of work with dramatic consequences both for employees and the economy as a whole: psychosocial stress, long-term sick leave, and even suicide; higher staff turnover, increased sickness absence, early retirement, reduced productivity, losses in competitiveness’. He added: ‘As EFFAT, we are committed to tackling the issue by 1- seizing every opportunity to raise awareness, 2 - collecting best practices examples and 3 - concluding agreements with the employers.
Today,EFFAT and the European and global trade union movement speak united with one voice, calling for an inclusive international labour standard on violence and harassment in the world of work.
As next year marks the centenary of the ILO, the ITUC is campaigning for the adoption of a Convention to stop gender-based violence to be introduced by EU and national laws, a legal framework that requires all workplaces to haveprocedures for dealing with violence and harassment and provide victims with clearly stated rights.
Violence and harassment against women are becoming increasingly common features of European workplaces dominated by abuse of power. This needs to come to an end. The response from organisations and governments is felt to be inadequate as is the reaction of too many who consider many aspects of gender based violence merely as petty offences.