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The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November marks the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This year, UNI Global Union through its UNI Equal Opportunities department is raising awareness of third-party violence and what needs to be done to stop it.

Third-party violence is violence carried out by customers, clients, patients and their family members, and can affect workers in all sectors.

The toll on workers from third-party violence and harassment is staggering. From absenteeism to high employee turnover, from loss of productivity and income; to losing work and long-term psychological effects. In the United States economic losses from workplace violence are estimated to  amount to more than US$120 billion as a result  of legal services, medical care, recovery costs and so on.

In commerce, 9 out of 10 retail workers have experienced some form of violence, whilst in call centres, workers experience everyday abuse from callers.

“I was personally threatened with rape, being shot /stabbed, and with incredibly explicit sexual and violent language. This wasn’t the first time it had happened. It has been ongoing over 18 months,” said an anonymous call centre worker in the UK.

UNI Equal Opportunities has produced a social media tool kit and a poster for affiliates to use during the 16 days, which run from 25 November until 10 December.

We encourage our affiliates to use this material, share it and continue to fight for the ratification of the ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 to eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work, and also include the standards’ language and clauses in their own policies and collective agreements.

Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of UNI Equal Opportunities, says:

“Third-party violence affects us all. Workers, employers, nations. The emotional and mental impact of workplace violence cannot be quantified. At the very least, workers must feel safe at work. It is time for trade unions to act, it is time to work together by establishing stronger policies and agreements that enshrine the spirit of ILO Convention 190. Because it can change lives!”

Download the files here: 

 UNI 16 days of activism – 2022