The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) was among a group of European trade unions that recently called for the ratification of a 2019 International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on violence and harassment at work.
The ILO is a UN body made up of representatives of government, employers and unions.
It came as a UK survey revealed that over half of women workers in the UK, and 63% of young women aged 18-24, have experienced sexual harassment at work.
The poll, published by the TUC – the British equivalent of ICTU – also revealed that seven in ten women workers believe the #MeToo movement has led to more openness about sexual harassment.
But the framework to report and address workplace sexual harassment remains poor, according to the research from the union representative body.
The TUC called on its government to mandate employers to actively prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. It said this would shift the responsibility for dealing with the issue from individual victims to employers.
In a separate survey, three-fifths of respondents cited the fear of a negative impact on their career or working relationships as the main reason for not reporting workplace sexual harassment.
Fórsa official Geraldine O’Brien welcomed the European-wide union effort to establish a mechanism to hold employers responsible for preventing sexual harassment at work.
“Once imposed, legal obligations will reduce offences in the workspace and reduce the burden of responsibility on victims. The call for change is a positive first step, but there is a long way to go before the problem of sexual harassment at work is resolved,” she said.
Geraldine said Fórsa would closely monitor the Irish Government’s response to the legislative demands.
The full report outlining the survey results by the TUC can be found here.