CESI and CNV-Connectief joint conference on violence at work: Protecting our members as workers and victims!

Third party violence at work, especially against public sector workers, remains a fundamental problem in most of the countries of the EU. In cooperation with the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI), CNV-Connectief today organised an event in The Hague, both with its Dutch members and international guests, to take stock of the current situations and possible remedies in the different European countries.

The conference marked the start of a series of events in different Member States to tackle third party violence, to improve prevention and protection schemes at work and to focus on the protection and representation of those who have become victim of aggressions.

“Not least in the context of the Pillar of Social Rights, the EU, but also trade unions at national and EU levels have to show that they take concerns of workers about their health and safety seriously”, Klaus Heeger, Secretary General of CESI said.

“The conference hosted by CNV-Connectief was designed as a bottom-up approach to listen first and foremost to those directly concerned by violence at the workplace. What we heard today is that victims are still too often being left alone – by their management or by politics, which often turns a blind eye to the problem.”

During the conference, strong demands for a further improvement in terms of both legislation and its effective enforcement were voiced. Future events of CESI in other Member States will continue raising awareness about the seriousness of the subject matter across Europe.

“It is not least up to trade unions to show through that they are concretely standing beside their members when they are most needed. And it is up to the EU and to CESI to bring this issue to the European focus again. The problems that public service workers especially in the education, health and law enforcement sectors are facing are the same in all Member States. We need a strong ‘zero tolerance’ agenda at all levels”, Klaus Heeger demanded.

Patrick Fey, President of the CNV-Overheid & Publieke Diensten and Vice-President of CESI concluded the meeting with a presentation of a new website by CNV-Connectief dedicated to information-sharing and awareness-raising about the fight against third party violence at work (www.samenvoorveiligwerk.nl). “Today has shown that our members expect strong support from their trade union. And that is what we want to deliver”, Patrick Fey stressed.

Picture: CESI/CNV-Connectief workshop on third-party violence in the public sector © CESI 2018