According to the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey, one in 20 workers (5%) report having been bullied and/or harassed in the last 12 months. In an attempt to deal with this issue European employers and trade union representatives have recently entered an Agreement to fight harassment and violence at work.

The Agreement has been signed by the Secretaries General of BusinessEurope (employers), UEAPME (small enterprises), CEEP (public-sector companies) and ETUC (trade unions). The Agreement aims to increase the awareness and understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment and violence, and to provide them with a framework to identify, prevent and manage such problems. The Agreement condemns all forms of harassment and violence and refers to an employer’s duty to protect workers against these situations. It requires employers to have a clear statement outlining that harassment and violence in the workplace are not tolerated and a procedure in place for dealing with complaints.

Member organisations have agreed to implement the Agreement’s provisions in their respective Member States by April 2010. This is the third “autonomous” framework agreement of the Social Partners, following those on telework (2002) and work-related stress (2004).