This is the report I gave to ETF Women’s Conference about the previous four years campaigning against violence against women …
The 2013 ETF Women’s Conference decided that opposing violenece against women transport workers would be one of its priorities for the next four years.
However, the European Commission refused to fund project work on this, leaving the Committee to deliberate what it could do with no funding. For me, it is essential that we do not allow our campaigning to be vetoed by external funders. Instead, we could draw on the talents and resources of our own members, of rank-and-file women transport workers across Europe, their experiences and views.
We also felt that ‘No to Violence Against Women’ was rather banal – everyone says they are against violence! – and that we wanted to challenge the specific attitudes and working conditions that support violence in the workplace. The key issue is that it is widely considered that violence against women transport workers is ‘part of the job’: that we has to accept it as an unavoidable occupational hazard.
So at its meeting in October 2014, the ETF Women’s Committee decided to invite transport workers to submit designs for posters with the slogan VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN TRANSPORT WORKERS – IT’S NOT PART OF THE JOB. We would launch this on 25 November, the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. By March 2015, we had three designs submitted, and following a further appeal, a further four. You can view and download all seven designs here.
In April 2016, the posters were presented at the ETF mid-term women’s conference in Bucharest, and sefveral delegates reported on how they had used the posters in their workplaces. They had helped to challenge the culture of acceptance of violence and to encourage women to object to violence.
Our next cost-free initative was an online survey of women transport workers’ experience of violence. Around 1,500 women from many European coutnries participated, and the results give a picture of the shocking reality of violence against women who are at work providing a public transport service. The full results will be presented separately.
An important feaure of this work is that it has, at every stage, involved women transport workers. It reminds us that trade unions are not organisations for workers but organisations of workers.