European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

Not on the Menu! EFFAT Executive Committee shows zero tolerance towards sexual harassment & violence at work


In the run up to the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), the EFFAT Executive Committee gathered in Brussel says no to sexual harassment and highlights that, through collective bargaining agreements, trade unions and employers can play a major role in combatting harassment and violence against women at work.

As sexual harassment is a widespread problem within the tourism sector, EFFAT has a crucial responsibility towards its workers in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector, where workers are often victims of improper behaviour. Joining its Nordic HRCT unions’ initiative against sexual harassment #notonthemenu, focussing on restaurant and hotel guests’ behaviour during Christmas season, which tend to be associated with excessive alcohol consumption and improper sexual behaviour. 

In the wake of the viral #metoo campaign that saw thousands of women exposing sexual harassment through social media, EFFAT and the Nordic Unions want to raise a new awareness about the poor working conditions in the tourism sector and stress that the solution to these problems largely lies in a joint effort of employers and employees for the creation of safe working environments.

Commenting on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Malin Ackholt, EFFAT President and President of the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Trade Union (HRF) , said: “Tipping, irregular working hours, alcohol consumption associated with our industry are unfortunately triggers for the high incidence of sexual harassment in the hospitality sector. Employers should implement, in cooperation with workers and trade unions, zero tolerance policies, establish codes of conduct and train managers. At the same time, trade unions need to work closely with employers, train trade union representatives and negotiate improved conditions in the workplace“.

Shared recognition lies at the core of successful best practices. This year for example, the IUF, EFFAT international umbrella organization, has signed an international agreement with the French-based catering company Sodexo on measures to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. 

Furthermore, a ground-breaking ETUC study ‘Safe at home, safe at work’ published this year, shows that trade unions are leading the fight against harassment and violence at the work place. There are now more than 160 collective agreements in place which have been negotiated by the trade unions in 10 EU countries addressing the multiple forms of harassment and violence that women may be subject to.

The ETUC also calls on policy-makers to strengthen the legal framework and believes that an ILO Convention on violence against women is long-overdue.

For more information:

NU HRCT campaign 'Not on the menu' |

IUF-Sodexo international agreement |

ETUC study ‘Safe at home, safe at work’ |

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.