The stage for a discussion on violence and harassment at work was set by a presentation of Oscar Vargas Llave, research officer at the European Foundation of the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), on a recent Eurofound report on ‘Violence of and harassment in European workplaces’. Based on the report’s finding that the level of adverse social behaviour at the workplace is particularly high in public administrations, the members of the trade council exchanged on according experiences from the national level and adopted a position paper.*
Harassment at work: More prevention in public administrations necessary
This position stipulates the following recommendations and demands:
• The EU framework directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work should be revised with a view to adapting it to the problem of adverse social behaviour at work;
• The EU social partner Framework agreement on harassment and violence at work of 2007 should be better implemented to the same end;
• National legislation, policies and approaches must also be revised so as to give more importance to the prevention of adverse social behaviour relative to its repression. For example, in many places there is a need for more awareness-raising about the occurrence of adverse social behaviour at work. However, more effective instruments to address incidents of harassment should also be pursued, including the creation of more autonomous and independent bodies to support and protect victims;
• More investments should be directed towards public administrations with a view to ensuring improved working conditions which are less favourable to the occurrence of harassment and stimulating atmospheres which highlight the contributions made by the workforce. Both would serve as an important preventive buffer against violence at work.
Immigration: Local & regional administrations in need of more resources
In a subsequent debate on the challenges related to the management of the ongoing arrival of large numbers of refugees and migrants in Europe, members of the trade council stressed that local and regional administrations are in many places structurally overwhelmed and lack the resources and manpower to live up to the needs of arriving migrants in an adequate and timely manner. The trade council agreed that a better situation requires more sustainable solutions, including a substantial further recruitment of staff.
Representing numerous trade unions from the public sector, including local and regional administrations, CESI has continuously stressed the importance played by the public administrations in the management of the arrival of refugees and migrants. It is also in this context that CESI will host a panel discussion event on October 19 on ‘Public sector workers in Europe facing the new challenges of migration’.
The next Trade council Local and regional administrations will take place on April 29 2016.
* The position paper is to be published in the policy positions section of CESI’s website.