The Caribbean Region now has a policy to address Gender Based Violence at the Workplace. This policy was agreed to on Thursday 4th August, 2022 when Wayne Chen – President, Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and Andre Lewis – President, Caribbean Confederation of Labour (CCL) officially signed the document for the Adoption of the Joint Policy Positions to Address Gender-Based Violence at the Workplace. The Policy Position gives clear, practical guidelines on creating a safe environment for the confidential and appropriate handling of reports of GBV incidents, in addition to providing a framework for addressing challenges faced by survivors of GBV in the workplace. This joint initiative between the CEC and CCL, is supported by the UNFPA and ILO under the Spotlight Initiative, with generous funding from the European Union to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the world of work.
In her Keynote Address, Aurora Noguera-Ramkissoon, Liaison Officer, Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago Liaison Office, UNFPA affirmed, “We recognise that the workplace is an important and strategic place to disrupt family violence. Most people spend at least 8 hours of the day at work. Workplaces can be safe zones not only for sharing prevention information but also sharing information where survivors can obtain support services.”
Noguera-Ramkissoon further explained, “Only together, through a multi-pronged approach, can we put an end to GBV. This Joint Policy provides an essential framework to ensure that anyone experiencing GBV, abuse or harassment in the work place have greater access to coordinated support including special leave, anonymous reporting, confidentiality and Employee Assistance Programmes.”
At the online event, both Presidents of the CEC and CCL officially signed the Regional Joint Positions to Address GBV at the Workplace which would serve as a guide for the appropriate handling of report of GBV incidents, sexual harassment and promote survivors’ recovery.
In his Remarks, Andre Lewis – President, Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) explained, “The CCL is honoured to be part of this historic moment where we officially place our signature to address Gender Based Violence not only in the workplace but the wider communities and homes.”
Wayne Chen – President, Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) shared similar sentiments noting, “This Policy, developed with inputs from employers, employees and Trade Unions, will serve as a guide for Employers to address GBV at 2 levels; Primary Prevention by informing employers and employees what GBV looks like, so it could be prevented before it occurs and Secondary Prevention by protecting and reducing the risk of exposure to violence against women and girls.”
The Signing Ceremony was hosted by Brittany Braithwaite and Susan Hodge, Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribbean Congress of Labour moved the Vote of Thanks.
The Regional Joint Positions to Address GBV at the Workplace agreed to by the CEC and the CCL under the Spotlight Initiative is a significant opportunity for employers, workers, and their representatives to create and shape workplace policies and cultures to efficiently address and eliminate GBV. More than 47 companies and 50 labour unions from 18 Caribbean countries contributed to the policy’s development during online workshops in May and June 2022.
The finalized policy is available at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies website – https://bit.ly/regionalGBVpolicypositions.