EPSU staff join the ETUC's campaign for 2015's UN Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. Photo: ETUC
Trade unions campaign to eliminate violence against women
Today (25 November) is the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the #16DaysofActivism (to 10 December’s Human Rights Day) of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 3 women around the world have experienced some form of violence against them. This sadly occurs in the home and at work. As you read this scores of women around the globe are experiencing some form of violence at work and trade unions around the world continue to take an active role in campaigning against violence against women. Research conducted by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) shows that:
- The vast majority of trade unions in Europe are involved in tackling violence against women.
- Action taken includes collective agreements at national, sectoral and company level featuring clauses on dealing with violence against women.
- Agreements have included obliging employers to develop procedures for dealing with violence, training for managers and employees to identify signs of workplace violence and how to prevent it, and medical and psychological support for employees who are victims of domestic violence.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, the TUC is supporting the ETUC’s pledge to work against violence against women, whether at the workplace or at home, until it is eliminated. The TUC opposes all forms of violence against women and believes that gender based violence is a trade union priority and we work to eliminate it both in the UK and internationally.
Today, for example, we have made clear that we consider the impact that the Chancellor’s spending decisions in recent years have had on women’s services in the UK is devastating – in particular, services for women and girls experiencing violence.
We have produced an interactive guide to raise awareness among trade union reps around issues of domestic violence. The aim of the eNote is to help union reps understand the role they need to play in the process and encourage them to put together a suitable workplace policy to deal with such issues.
The TUC also takes part in international work on violence against women as a member of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and we support their statement issued today on eliminating violence against women across the globe.
It is no secret that many women around the world are working in precarious conditions; from the clothing factories in Bangladesh to Indonesia; the domestic workers in the Middle East; women in the informal economy in Africa to women workers on banana plantations throughout Latin America, and sadly gender based violence is all too common in these sectors. The TUC also supports the work of global union federations that seeks to empower women through strong union representations and negotiating clauses against violence in collective bargaining agreements.
As members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) we continue to support their Forced Labour Protocol in 50 countries campaign which calls for countries to take a stand to end modern slavery which all too often perpetuates violence against women and girls, and we were glad to play our part in the decision this month by the ILO Governing Body to make gender-based violence a key issue for the ILO over the next two years, culminating in making the issue one of the main topics for the 2017 ILO conference.
The TUC believes that education plays a big part in eliminating violence against women at work and through our charity TUC Aid, we continue to fund international development based projects with the purpose of empowering women trade unionists with the knowledge of their rights at work and promoting leadership skills within their unions and workplaces.