Updating of the Multi-sectoral Guidelines (2023)
With more than twelve years since the adoption of the Multi-Sectoral Guidelines, the European social partners commenced an EU-funded project (2021-2023), with special emphasis on public services. The project involved social partners (signatories and non-signatories to the Guidelines) from six sectors in in local and regional government, central government services, hospitals, education and urban public transport, and one private sector employer partner (telecoms).
The project reviewed the effectiveness and implementation of the Guidelines and the scope for the Guidelines to be updated to reflect the changing world of work, related priorities of the social partners and legislative developments.
On the basis of the examples collected during the project, along with the project’s research findings, discussions amongst the social partners and a better understanding of the triggers, causes and impacts of TPVH, some key project results relate to: • The importance of changing workplace culture so that TPVH is not seen as being “part of the job” but a critically important form of workplace violence and harassment, impacting on both the quality of services provided and the quality of working life of the workers providing those services. • The importance of senior and managerial awareness, competences and commitment in preventing TPVH, handling and tackling complaints seriously, and providing support for workers affected by TPVH. • Instilling a culture of prevention through risk assessment, including taking into account psychosocial risks that occur because of the organisation of work, staffing levels, inadequate mechanisms to address TPVH and resource constraints. This means bringing prevention of TPVH to the centre of sectoral and workplace policies related to OSH, anti-discrimination and gender equality. • TPVH is variously linked to the promotion of a positive working environment where issues of the quality of services and risks of TPVH are taken seriously, and where recognition is given to tackling root causes and triggers of TPVH, linked to decent working conditions, ensuring adequate staffing levels and resources to provide good quality services. In this regard, duties on and incentives for employers were frequently highlighted by project partners as being critical to preventing TPVH. • Recognition and better understanding of the risks of TPVH related to discrimination, including multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, and the role of gendered power inequalities. On the one hand, greater risks arise because women predominantly work in sectors where they are regularly in contact with customers, clients etc., while on the other hand, added vulnerabilities exist because of gender inequalities in the labour market and gendered power inequalities.
Key themes for the updating of the Multisectoral Guidelines
Drawing on the research carried out for the project, the collection of good practices and the discussions held amongst the social partners in project meetings and webinars, the following is a summary of the recommendations made in the final project report. 1. Updating of the Guidelines Taking into account the specificities of TPVH and that TPVH became an even greater problem during COVID-19 there is consensus about the relevance of retaining dedicated guidelines on TPVH. There is, however, room for improvements by updating the Guidelines in relation to: • The role and related risks of digitalisation in the changing world of work. • The effects of GBVH, including domestic violence at work, and the need for a stronger focus to gender-responsive approaches to TPVH in line with ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206. • The need to better enforcement of risk assessment as an important prevention tool and to promote the inclusion of psychosocial risks, insufficient staffing, security protocols, support for and compensation of victims. 2. Better implementation of the Guidelines The updating, implementation and dissemination of the Guidelines: • In the short term, agree the revision of the Guidelines in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees covered by the project. • Consider whether the Guidelines, or a set of principles underpinning the Guidelines, should be binding in national collective agreements and/or EU sector specific agreements. • Draw up a communications and dissemination plan, with a high-level launch and support for the updated Guidelines, a dedicated website showcasing good practices, along with accessible guidance materials and fact sheets. • In the longer term, discuss the option to include the Guidelines in the renegotiation of a binding social partner agreement on all forms of violence and harassment (updating the 2007 social partner agreement on violence and harassment) to ensure alignment with ILO Convention 190 and national agreements that favour an integrated approach to violence and harassment (both internal and external).
The research also identified some further information about the updating of the Guidelines across the themes of GBVH, domestic violence as a workplace issue, digitalisation, occupational safety and health and risk assessment, and protection and remedies. These are summarised in the attached PDF.