Violence Against Women Directive is disappointing, Social Partners to negotiate to fill the gap

Violence Against Women Directive is disappointing, Social Partners to negotiate to fill the gap

(15 February 2024) Today the LIBE and FEMM committees of the European Parliament voted in favour of an agreement reached last week on the first Gender-Based Violence Directive. The text is disappointing and runs contrary to the good work done by the Parliament in their negotiating position, which raised standards, enriched the text and included spheres of women’s lives that were neglected, like violence at the workplace. Women deserved a better deal. Women deserve, more than ever, better legislation to prevent, protect and support them from all forms of violence.

EPSU is appalled that the final agreement does not include the criminalisation of rape based on lack of consent. Let us be loud and clear: our bodies, our choice.

EPSU is also disappointed that every attempt to include work-related violence has been rejected and is missing from the final text. Dismissing the workplace is like dismissing the socio-economic identity of both the perpetrator and the victim of violence.

While the EU legislators failed to join the dots on gender-based violence and the world of work, it is time for EU social partners to close this obvious gap. Social partners can show that the EU level can make a difference and ensure a violence-free workplace while mitigating the socio-economic consequences of domestic violence on women.

It is our duty and our prerogative, as social partners, to negotiate and fill this gap between law and reality that the legislator has created. EPSU will enter negotiations on third-party violence and harassment at work with a view to revising the multisectoral Guidelines adopted in 2010. Negotiations will start on 19 March 2024 and will end by summer. A critical revision will include new recommendations on gender-based violence, health and safety, digitalisation and training.

EPSU will firmly support the ETUC in implementing its congress mandate, including “if relevant, propose the update of the cross-sectoral framework agreement on violence and harassment (2007).”

The disappointing deal on the VAW Directive shows just how relevant and timely it is to reaffirm that we, the social partners, will not move to the next item. We will not let women stand alone.