Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 30/09/2010

European social partners agree guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment at work

EU-level employers' and trade unions' organisations have signed guidelines to help tackle third-party violence and harassment at work. The guidelines were signed by the EU-level social partners in the healthcare, education, local and regional government, commerce and private security sectors.

Business man in the office

Third-party violence and harassment – for example by customers or members of the public – can be a real problem for workers in many different sectors. According to a Eurofound survey in 2005, 1 in 20 EU workers have been exposed to violence at work, and in 3 out of 4 cases, this was from someone outside the workplace. The guidelines agreed today aim to ensure that every workplace has a results-oriented policy in place to address the issue.

The guidelines aim to cut prevent, reduce and mitigate violence by setting out practical measures such as:

  • Increasing awareness and understanding of the issue among employers, workers and public authorities (such as health and safety agencies, the police);
  • Properly assessing the risks posed by third party violence in different workplaces and job functions;
  • Training managers and workers in how to prevent or, if necessary, manage the problem;
  • Setting up policies and systems for monitoring, reporting and investigating incidents and providing support to victims.

The guidelines were signed on the occasion of the Extraordinary Liaison Forum on the functioning and potential of European sectoral social dialogue by the European Public Services Union (EPSU), the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association (HOSPEEM), the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), UNI europa, EuroCommerce and the European Federation of Security Services (CoESS).

They build upon the 2007 cross-industry social partner Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work, through a multi-sectoral approach to the specific area of third-party violence.

The social partners will now promote the guidelines within the Member States at all appropriate levels taking account of national practices, through joint and separate actions. The relevant sectoral European Social Dialogue Committees will prepare a joint progress report in 2012 and a final joint evaluation in 2013.

Photo: © Andrey Arkusha, under license of Shutterstock.com

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