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As people around the world mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, EFFAT reinforces its commitment – as set out at EFFAT Congress earlier this month – to zero tolerance for gender-based harassment and violence in its sectors with the publication of a series of detailed recommendations.

Workplace violence remains widespread across Europe, with large-scale surveys revealing a clear picture of harassment, violence and abuse particularly targeting and affecting women. Indeed, findings from a new EFFAT-led survey investigating sexual harassment and violence in its sectors gave some insight on the scale and diversity of the problem: for example, more than 85% of respondents from the tourism and domestic work sectors believe there to be an above average prevalence of sexual harassment and violence in their places of work.

While useful, international conventions intended to protect women from violence and harassment – not least the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and ILO Convention C190 concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work – lack sufficient teeth without practical translation into zero-tolerance workplace policy.

EFFAT believes wholeheartedly that no worker should have to go to work in fear of violence or harassment. For this reason, it has made the issue a particular focus of its social dialogue work, notably in the Horeca and Contract Catering sectors, as well the two European Sectoral Social Dialogues Committees. EFFAT has also been actively involved in campaigns such as #wetoo (urging an end to gender-based violence at work), and #Fairhousekeeping (calling for negotiated measures to tackle sexual harassment threatening housekeepers’ safety and wellbeing at work).

With this principle in mind, EFFAT is launching publicly its recommendations – based on successful initiatives of its member organisations and others – for combating sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.

Guiding these recommendations is the view that they protect the human rights of workers and pave the way to equality in the workplace – and in wider society – with knock-on benefits in terms of worker health, wellbeing and productivity.

Among its action points, EFFAT promotes awareness-raising strategies, both within and beyond the trade union movement, to emphasise the often-overlooked intersectional, structural inequalities that underly gender-based violence, as well as stressing the importance of intensified research and monitoring and tailored collective bargaining strategies. Links to the full list of recommendations in English, French and German are available at the bottom of this page.

Together with the ETUC and other ETUFs, EFFAT will continue to lobby at the European level for improved legislation tackling sexual harassment and violence against women; EFFAT is a co-signatory to a letter, along with over 50 fellow unions and workers’ rights organisations across Europe, to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, advocating measures to strengthen support, protection and rights for victims.

EFFAT will sustain its call for the proper implementation of the Istanbul Convention and full ratification of ILO Convention C190. And EFFAT will provide guidance and coordination in helpings its affiliates and others to mainstream broader discussion of gender equality with a view to implementing effective workplace gender violence policies throughout EFFAT’s sectors.

EFFAT is resolute in its view that only by confronting violence against women at work can we move toward a food system – and broader European economy – in which all workers can thrive and reach their potential.

Wherever and whenever there is violence against women, it must be stopped; the struggle is not just for today – every day should be Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. It is necessary and right – and EFFAT stands with all those fighting to put an end to violence against women.


Recommendations EN
Empfehlungen DE
Recommandations FR
ETUC Letter to Ursula von der Leyen EN