Violence against women must stop

Work environment Violence against women must stop, full stop. Trade Unions across Europe fully support the call on the European Union to do all it can to fight violence against women. This is the message from ETUC to Ms Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and to Commissioner Ms Helena Dalli.

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Dear Ursula von der Leyen,
Dear Helena Dalli,

Violence against women must stop, full stop. Trade Unions across Europe fully support your call on the European Union to do all it can to fight violence against women. You can rely on us; we are with you in this battle we have to win. 

Violence against women does not stop at the doorstep of a woman’s home. Physical or psychological violence against women also happens at the workplace, irrespective of the
sector they work in, their profession, or educational level. Some jobs are particularly vulnerable, for example nurses, teachers, carers, cleaners, transport, retail and domestic and hospitality workers. But the risk is real for all: 

- 63% of women workers in transport across Europe have experienced at least one recent act of violence; 

- 1 in every 4 female workers in The Netherlands have been exposed to violence from clients, customers, students or passengers; 

- 50% of health workers in Bulgaria have experienced violence at work.

Trade unions and employers play an important role in preventing violence against women at work, setting up proper procedures for reporting and recording violence and harassment at work, supporting the victims and dealing with the perpetrators. Increasingly violence and harassment are specifically addressed in collective agreements across Europe (and the ETUC has collected information on 80 such 

We back your demands and concrete proposals to stop violence on women. We join you in calling for: 

  • EU accession to the Istanbul Convention against violence against women;
  • Stronger support, protection and rights for victims of violence against women if the Convention remains blocked in the European Council;
  • Violence against women to be added to the list of EU crimes (supporting prevention, protection and redress, including cross border European arrest warrants can be issued for crimes of violence against women)

We also urge you to take urgent steps to encourage:

  • The ratification of the Istanbul Convention by those six EU member states who have not done so (Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and UK);
  • The ratification by all EU Member States of the ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at work. 

EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and the ratification by Member States of the ILO Convention would greatly boost the efforts of unions, employers and other organisations to tackle violence against women including in the world of work. It would support stronger implementation of the European social partner Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work.

So, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, and on every other day, we want the EU to support workers and their unions and to achieve our common goal to prevent violence against women at work, at home and everywhere it occurs in all European Union countries. 

Yours sincerely

Esther Lynch,
Deputy General Secretary ETUC

Other signatories

National Trade Unions:

Miranda Ulens, General Secretary FGTB, BELGIUM and ETUC Vice-President
Bente Sorgenfrey, First Vice-President FH DENMARK and ETUC Vice-President
Patricia King, General Secretary ICTU, IRELAND
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary TUC, UNITED KINGDOM
Marie-Hélène Ska, General Secretary CSC, BELGIUM
Elke Hannack, Vice-President DGB, GERMANY
Annamaria Furlan, General Secretary CISL, ITALY
Amaia Muñoa, Deputy General Secretary ELA, SPAIN
Kitty Jong, Vice-President FNV, THE NETHERLANDS
Gianna Fracassi, Deputy General Secretary CGIL, ITALY
Ioana Stoica, Vice-President Cartel ALFA, ROMANIA
Lidija Jerkič, President ZSSS, SLOVENIA
Dorota Gardias, Chairwoman FZZ, POLAND
Inga Ruginienė, President LPSK, LITHUANIA
Sabine Slegers, National Secretary CGSLB, BELGIUM
Nora Back, General Secretary OGBL, LUXEMBURG
Véronique Eischen, President of the SECEC (OGBL and LCGB), LUXEMBURG
Lucinda Dâmaso, President UGT-P, PORTUGAL
Cristina Antoñanzas, Deputy General Secretary, UGT-CEC, SPAIN
Irena Liepina, Vice-President LBAS, LATVIA
Korinna Schumann, Vice-President ÖGB, AUSTRIA
Ragnhild Lied, President UNIO, NORWAY
Millariikka Rytkönen, President They STTK, FINLAND
Marylise Léon, Deputy General Secretary CFDT, FRANCE
Božica Žilić, Vice-President UATUC, CROATIA
Viktória Szucs, Vice-President SZEF, HUNGARY
Monika Uhlerová, Vice-President KOZ- SR, SLOVAKIA
Therese Guovelin, Vice-President LO-S, SWEDEN
Heike Erkers, Vice-President SACO, SWEDEN
Lisa Wärn, Deputy General Secretary TCO, SWEDEN
Barbara Popielarz, Vice-President OPZZ, POLAND
Ewa Zydorek, Secretary of the National Commission of NSZZ “Solidarnosc”, POLAND
Florentina Enache, President of Women Committee CNSLR-FRATIA, ROMANIA
Elena Blasco Martín, Women and Equality Secretary CCOO, SPAIN
Cristina Faciaben Lacorte, International and Cooperation Secretary CCOO, SPAIN
Florence Dodin, Deputy General Secretary, UNSA, FRANCE
Ivana Veronese, Confederal Secretary UIL, ITALY
Regina Varret, Deputy chairman TALO, ESTONIA
Stavroula Dimitriadou, Member of Executive Committee GSEE, GREECE
Dulce Mª Moreno Hernández, Confederal Secretary USO, SPAIN
Rita Dimech, Section Secretary Chemical & Energy sectors GWU, MALTA
Riccarda Darmanin, Section Secretary Finances sector GWU, MALTA
Béatrice Clicq, Confederal Secretary FO, FRANCE
Elaine Germani, Vice-President MUT, MALTA
Carmen Dimech, General Secretary MUT, MALTA
Kaia Vask, Chair of Executive Committee EAKL, ESTONIA
Heli Puura, Director SAK, FINLAND
Radka Sokolová, Vice-President ČMKOS, CZECH REPUBLIC
Despina Isaia, General Secretary of womens dept SEK, CYPRUS

European Trade Union Federations:

Livia Spera, Acting General Secretary, ETF
Susan Flocken, European Director, ETUCE
Mette Nord, President, EPSU
Sofia Kanta, President OTOE, UNI-Europa
Àngels Bosch Campreciós, President, EuroCOP
Malin Ackholt, President, EFFAT
Paula Ruiz Torres, Vice-President, Eurocadres
Zuliana Lainez, Vice-President, IFJ
Mercedes Landolfi, President of the standing committee Wood, member of the Presidium, EFBWW
Gloria Mills, President, on behalf of the ETUC Women Committee

The letter as pdf