Published: 27/01/2016

The IUF and IndustriAll, the international unions representing workers at the global food and home and personal products manufacturer Unilever, have signed a joint commitment with the company on preventing sexual harassment at Unilever workplaces.

The joint commitment recognizes that sexual harassment is a universal problem, in and outside the workplace. While the International Labour Organisation defines sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination and it is illegal in many countries, it remains difficult to tackle effectively. The agreement outlines the standards, principles and practices on which Unilever, the IUF and IndustriAll commit to work together to ensure this goal is achieved.

The agreement gives a clear, comprehensive definition of sexual harassment to ensure that Unilever management at every level and all employees, including employees provided by third party labour suppliers, are fully aware of what constitutes sexual harassment; sets out procedures through which employees know how to raise a potential issue and can feel confident to report any abuses; specifies the concrete measures the company must follow in the event of a complaint; and gives detailed guidelines for jointly implementing the commitment at every Unilever workplace and for evaluating progress.

In a joint statement issued to accompany the announcement of the agreement, IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald describes it as “A concrete, practical joint effort to ensure that sexual harassment is effectively combated and the rights of all who work for Unilever are adequately protected in this vital area”, adding that “We look forward to working together with Unilever and our members at the company to ensure that it is implemented, monitored and followed up.”