national union of workers
How did you get a gendered violence clause in your Enterprise Agreement?
“We basically used every argument under the sun and the employer refused to even acknowledge that there was even a problem with gendered violence at their workplaces (despite obvious and rampant sexual harassment). We tried to appeal to their morality, we tried to outline that their intransigent position on this issue was incompatible with their marketing to the public at-large, we tried to appeal to their interest of being seen as a model employer / corporate citizen and the consequent value to their public relations / image, we tried to talk in practical terms about how they already provide training in other areas and all they would need to do was to change the content of that training. We even tried to argue the case from a commercial, risk-mitigation angle. But they were not interested in any of this. It was as though our (substantiated) allegation that gendered violence was occurring at the workplace ran counter to their imagined, Utopian view of their workplace. It became about their pride, and every time we raised the issue in negotiations it was like they were getting stabbed in the eye – with a pitch fork.
So we knew that no argument no matter how sophisticated or nuanced, and no level of negotiation prowess was going to win this clause. Instead, our members won this clause by taking their fight about this issue to the public – making a lot of noise at the company’s stores, online and in public spaces. They kept repeating their message that they wanted a workplace free from gendered violence. Our members removed their labour in support of achieving this (and other issues). And they achieved the clause through taking collective in solidarity with allies.”
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“The gendered violence training gave me a great understanding of gendered violence and a more in-depth view of how gendered violence begins.”
beth construction worker (cfmmeu)
“The training was an eye opener in the myriad of things that influence, impact and cause gendered violence. I now feel more informed to be able to address the cultural issues that support those who perpetrate GV.”
“I had been experiencing harassment at my workplace as the only female in a male dominated workplace. I felt very alone. All the men individually had told me they felt it was wrong, but joined in or ignored it within a group setting. I had to fight bloody hard but finally found a brave man to back me and offer me the support I needed. The union were very supportive and helped me a lot. Don’t be afraid to stand up if you believe what is happening is wrong. And men - please have the courage to support women and help stop this despicable behaviour; you know it’s wrong. You wouldn’t stand for it if it was your wife, mother, sister or daughter. Stop supporting bad behaviour and call out the bullies when you see them. Have courage women - together we can unite!”
“This is an excellent, practical training. I am walking away feeling empowered and better equipped to support union members in the workplace experiencing gendered violence.”
“How fantastic it is to be in a room full of young people and future activists/leaders”
“Things have improved, although there is a lot more work to do”
“We are doing important work”
“Gendered violence needs to be seen through the lens of both an individual and a collective safety issue”