Port of Spain, Trinidad – More than 47 companies and 50 labour unions from 18 Caribbean countries have agreed to a baseline policy to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the world of work. This baseline policy is the result of a joint initiative between the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Confederation of Labour (CCL) supported by the UNFPA and ILO under the Spotlight Initiative, with generous funding from the European Union. On Wednesday 9th June, 2022, the 2nd and final online workshop was conducted to develop joint policy positions based on minimum standards for best practices.
In her opening remarks Aurora Noguera-Ramkisson, Liaison Officer, Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago Liaison Office, UNFPA noted, “Recent studies by UN Women in the Eastern Caribbean indicate that prevalence of intimate partner violence is around 45%. This Workplace Policy is meant to raise awareness of linkages between VAWG and the workplace. It will ensure that survivors have access to services they need and employers have the information to ensure that survivors can access the services.”
“Workplace Policies, like this, set standards in coordinating and ensuring that there are services for survivors particularly in for Health, Social, Police and Justice Systems services as identified under the Essential Services Package,” explained Mariana Santoyo GBV Regional Programme Specialist for the Spotlight Initiative, UNFPA in the Plenary Session, who noted that the ESP Community of Practice was launched in Trinidad and Tobago in May. Debbie Gray – Regional Coordinator, Spotlight Caribbean Programme at UNICEF also spoke at the event.
The online Workshop was hosted by Mr. Ian Daniel, Head of Department, Labour Studies of the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies (CCLCS). The Workshop, coordinated by the CCLCS, gave participants the task of making final comments on the updated working document in the areas of Definitions; Identification and Responsibilities of stakeholders; Prevention; Reporting mechanisms and Response to GBV incidents.
The Workshop closed with the Ratification of the Regional Policy position to “adopt the resolution on Joint Policy Positions to Address Gender-Based Violence at the Workplace” agreed to by Shanika Best, Member of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and Caribbean Employees’ Confederation Representative and Susan Hodge, the Anguilla Civil Service Association and Caribbean Congress of Labour Representative.
The Workshop closed with the ratification of a Resolution to adopt “Joint Policy Positions to Address Gender-Based Violence at the Workplace”. The motion was moved by Susan Hodge, Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribbean Congress of Labour Representative of and seconded by Shanika Best, Member of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and Caribbean Employees’ Confederation Representative. The motion was approved unanimously by those members present.
“This is a major accomplishment,” said Akins Vidale, Project Lead for the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies as he addressed Workshop Participants in his Closing Remarks. “The next step is to get this policy into organisations. We have to create an implementation framework and help to start the process. Job well done and thank you for giving of your time.”
The Joint Regional Effort between 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. The finalized policy will be available to all persons in mid-July 2022 and will be accessible via the CCLCS conference website – www.cclcsconferences.net