Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is time to take action!
The COVID-19 and the economic crisis made the risk of violence and harassment against women even higher - at home and at work. That is why we call on European and national authorities as well as companies to take responsibility to protect workers from all forms of harassment and violence.
Laws against workplace harassment must be reinforced in all sectors and companies. This is even more urgent in the construction and wood sectors, where an increase of female workers is expected. As the EFBWW underlines in its 26 demands for the economic recovery, the expected increase of female workers in our industries demands a mental transformation and a transformation of the specific organisation of the work on construction sites and in companies taking into account and accommodating specific needs of female workers to improve working conditions for all and realise equal treatment.
Yesterday in its Executive Committee meeting, the EFBWW launched the 3rd gender questionnaire, which includes a chapter on harassment and violence. The questionnaire is aimed at all female and male trade union’s members who deal with equal opportunities policies. Among other questions, we want to know if women experience any form of harassment and violence, what preventive measures exist and what kind of measures concerning harassment and violence in the workplace have been adopted in collective bargaining agreements.
On another level, much of the workplace harassment faced by women has moved online during confinement facilitated by intrusive monitoring tools being used by many companies.
To counter the new threat, the EFBWW joins its voice to ETUC and urge countries to ratify a new International Labour Organisation convention which would commit them to prevent and address cyber-bullying and harassment. The ILO says of the convention:
“Convention No. 190 protects against all forms of violence and harassment in the world of work. The Convention is based on a broad concept of the ‘world of work’ that takes account of the fact that nowadays work does not always take place at a physical workplace. For example, it covers violence and harassment occurring during work-related travel, when commuting to and from work, in employer-provided accommodation or through work-related communications, including those enabled by information and communications technologies.”
The convention, which will come into force next year, is the first international labour standard to address violence and harassment in the world of work. Governments and employers who are members of the ILO agreed the Convention and committed to improve laws, services and procedures for tackling violence and harassment.