Unions and employers urged to act on violence against women

By agency reporter
November 28, 2016

Trade unions across Europe have called on employers to work with them to halt domestic violence, at a conference to mark the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The call is part of Safe at Home, Safe at Work, a new report by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), which highlights union action on the issue across eleven countries, including the UK.

Over one in five working women in the UK take time off because of domestic abuse, and one in fifty lose their jobs, according to Home Office figures. One in five victims took more than a month off work in a year because of abuse.

A YouGov/TUC poll in August 2016 found that nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of young women and over half (52 per cent) of all women had experienced sexual harassment at work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Domestic violence doesn’t stop at the front door. Many women find that the abuse follows women into work. Tragically, there have even been cases of women being murdered by abusive partners at work.

“Unions are leading the way in showing that sexual harassment and violence against women are workplace issues. Employers, unions and government must all ensure that women are supported at work and can get on with their jobs free from harassment and fear.”

Actions taken by unions highlighted in the report include:

  • securing paid leave for victims of domestic violence;
  • specialist training on sexual harassment and domestic violence;
  • workplace campaigns against sexual harassment and violence.

The ETUC report makes recommendations including:

  • joint policies between union and employers on dealing with domestic violence;
  • making sure there are women in senior positions in both unions and employers;
  • trained union reps to ensure support for victims at work;
  • an end to employment tribunal fees, to ensure that nobody is priced out of justice at work.

* Read a UK draft of ETUC’s report, Safe at Home, Safe at Work here

*TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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