More than forty-seven (47) companies and fifty (50) labour unions from eighteen (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 at a workshop coordinated by the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies (CCLCS). This baseline policy was birthed out of a joint initiative between the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Confederation of Labour (CCL) which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) under the Spotlight Initiative. The online workshop was held on Wednesday 8th June, 2022 and hosted by Mr. Ian Daniel, Head of Department for Labour Studies, CCLCS. The 2nd and final online workshop was conducted to develop joint policy positions based on minimum standards for best practices. It 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.
Aurora Noguera-Ramkisson, Liaison Officer, Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago Liaison Office, UNFPA in her opening remarks 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 linkage between VAWG in the workplace. It will ensure 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 Health, Social, Police and Justice Systems services,” explained Mariana Santoyo GBV Regional Programme Specialist for the Spotlight Initiative, UNFPA in the Plenary Session.
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. Ms. Hodge moved the motion to ratify which was seconded by Ms. Best and was approved unanimously by those members present.
Shanika Best of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation
“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