ETUC letter on the LIBE / FEMM Committee report on combating gender-based cyberviolence

Brussels, 13 December 2021

Dear Ms Spurek,
Dear Ms Vozemberg-Vrionidi,

I am contacting you with regard to the LIBE / FEMM report on combating gender-based cyberviolence, ahead of the debate and vote in the European Parliament’s Plenary on 13 and 14 December 2021.

The European Trade Union Confederation fully shares your assessment that it is high time to significantly step-up efforts to tackle gender-based cyberviolence and welcomes your recommendations as to the prevention of cyberviolence, support for victims and effective prosecution of perpetrators, among others.
The ETUC also echoes your assessment that cyberviolence often goes hand in hand with economic violence, as it hinders women in participating in the labour market and in being safe at work.

While the report correctly raises concerns about cyberharassment, cyberstalking and ICT-related violations of privacy, it regrettably fails to acknowledge that these tools are more and more used by employers to the detriment of women workers’ safety at work, especially in telework arrangements.

As highlighted by an ETUC survey conducted in February 2021, 84% of women trade unionists say that employers have not updated their policies to address online harassment associated with telework, whereas 67% of respondents thought that employers did not do enough to tackle violence and harassment at work, including online.

A comprehensive approach towards combatting gender-based cyberviolence cannot leave the workplace as blind spot. I recall that trade unions play an important role in preventing and combatting cyberviolence in the world of work – by means of negotiating measures in collective bargaining agreements and effectively supporting victims.
Our joint fight against cyberviolence can only succeed if trade unions are empowered to play their part and are granted access to digital workplaces.

To this end, I regret to see that your report falls short of including real solutions for women workers targeted by cyberviolence across Europe.

Yours sincerely

Esther Lynch 

Deputy General Secretary