Bulgarian input to the ETUC project “Safe at Home, Safe at Work”

Violence against women in the workplace and the acts of domestic violence with all their impact on working life are the two main focus areas of the research within the project of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) “Safe at Home, Safe at work”. The President of FTTUB Ekaterina Yordanova, vice president of the ETUC Women’s Committee is a member of the steering group once again. The project covers 11 EU countries and Bulgaria is one of them.

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From July 6th to 9th, the independent researcher of the project Jane Pillinger held a series of meetings in Sofia. She polled representatives of the two confederations – CITUB and “Podkrepa”, the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research, Sofia Police Directorate, Directorate “Social activities” of Sofia Municipality, NGOs, the Youth and Women’s Committees of FTTUB. This intensive programme had to provide information on the situation in Bulgaria, the trade unions practices in the area and the more can be done in the future to combat violence against women. All participants were invited to give recommendations. They will be used to shape guidelines for action as a project result.

Another objective to meet through the project is to supply data in support of an ILO Convention on violence against women in the workplace. FTTUB started this long-term campaign in 2014 and last year, it organized and conducted a national awareness-raising campaign for the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women – November 25th.

The meetings held have shown that, indeed, there is room for greater activity as the real work of trade unions to tackle domestic violence is yet to come. This is a new idea at European level, too. However, possible partnerships have already emerged. The role of the trade unions seems to be mainly at the stage of early identification and prevention, aiming to avoid more serious impact and trauma for the victims when a specialized institutional support is needed.