Community news|20/03/24

Violence and harassment at work: European social negotiations supported by the Commission

Home > The news of EUROGIP and occupational risks in Europe > Violence and harassment at work: European social negotiations supported by the Commission

Ten European sectoral trade union and employer organisations (health, prisons, education, catering, etc.), with the support of the European Commission, have started negotiations on violence and harassment by third parties at work.

Recent data from Eurofound shows that 12.5% of workers in the EU experience some form of unwelcome social behaviour at work. Women, especially younger women, are more affected than men, especially when it comes to unwanted sexual attention. The situation is particularly serious for health workers, firefighters, police officers, prison officers and security guards, who report levels of intimidation, harassment and violence two to three times higher than the EU average. These workers are more likely to suffer from burnout, anxiety and depression.

A survey in the Netherlands found that more than 50% of healthcare workers – and as many as 67% in the mental health sector – experienced some form of aggression at least once a month in 2023. This ranged from swearing and shouting to spitting, death threats or physical violence.

Negotiations will focus on revising the 2010 guidelines, which complement the 2007 European framework agreement on harassment and violence at work. According to a two-year EU-funded research and discussion project, a major barrier to progress is that too many people see it as part of the job, often with too little support from management.

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