European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

Nordic HRCT Union best practices to stop sexual harassment in the hospitality sector

On 4 December 2015, during the European hotel and restaurant sector plenary meeting, Kristjan Bragasson from the Nordic HRCT Union presented the outcomes of the conference on “Sexism and Sexual Harassment in the Tourism Industry”, recently held in Reykjavik. The conference focused on front-line staff who frequently interact with customers. Similar trends appear across all nordic countries, where workers in the hotel and restaurant sector are praticularly exposed to sexual and moral harassment, a likely cause of employee absenteeism. Findings show that alcohol consumption is the prime trigger and that young women and part-time staff are more frequently targeted.
Social partners therefore have an important role to play. Employers should implement zero tolerance policies, establish codes of conduct and train managers. At the same time, trade unions need to work closely with employers, train trade union representatives and negotiate improved conditions in the workplace. Raising awareness and negotiating with employers as well as bringing cases to court are necessary steps towards improving the situation.
The following actions were proposed during the meeting:
Raise awareness about the issue;
Sign a framework agreement on mutual respect in the workplace in the hotel and restaurant sector;
Jointly establish guidelines to tackle sexual harassment and third party violence in the workplace.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.