On the eve of International Women’s Day, UNI Global Union’s Commerce Sector has launched a new campaign titled “There Is No Store for Violence and Harassment in Commerce” in collaboration with UNI’s Equal Opportunities Department.
Focused on ratification of ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at Work, the campaign aims to support UNI Commerce affiliates to combat violence and harassment in the sector.
According to the Eurofound Working Conditions Survey, commerce and retail workers are at a high risk of harassment on the job. Third-party violence from customers is rampant, and female workers, in particular, suffer elevated levels of abuse.
Surveys conducted by UNI Commerce’ affiliated unions underline the severity of the issue. An SDA survey reports that a whopping 85% of retail workers in Austrailia had experienced abuse in the last 12 months.
Despite the high volume of incidents, violence and harassment cases remain underreported. A survey by UK union USDAW shows that 56% of shopworkers who experienced violence, threats or abuse at work did not report the incident to their employer. Some commerce workers may even feel that “violence, harassment and abuse” are part of the job.
UNI Commerce affiliates have been running groundbreaking campaigns against violence in the workplace, including a Freedom From Fear campaign by USDAW (UK), “No One Deserves a Serve” by SDA (Australia), “Measures for Unreasonable Complaints” by UA Zensen (Japan) and Retail Action Project by RWDSU-UFCW (USA).
“These campaigns inspired us to take the fight to the global level,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “Violence and harassment is not a part of the job. As recognized by ILO Convention 190, everyone has a right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. UNI Commerce and its affiliates will keep working on realizing this right in commerce sector.”
Throughout the campaign UNI Commerce will:
• Negotiate for better regulations in the Global Framework Agreements in order to set higher standards on combatting violence and harassment in commerce at global level,
• Organize special sessions on violence and harassment in UNI Commerce events,
• Support UNI Commerce affiliates to run campaigns at national level,
• Send joint letters with its affiliates to national authorities for ratification of ILO Convention 190,
• Organize an international action day on 25 November 2020.
• Identify and share best practices among UNI Commerce affiliates.
UNI Commerce has produced a campaign toolkit which provides an analysis on violence and harassment in the commerce sector, a short guide on ILO Convention 190 and 10 recommended actions and activities to combat violence and harassment in commerce.
The campaign toolkit and banners are available here.