Trade unions demand change to stop sexual harassment

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has stated that the government is “dragging its feet” on changing the law to prevent sexual harassment.

As the Heart Unions week begins on the 10th February, the TUC released a new poll which found that despite the raised awareness of sexual harassment in recent years, it still remains disturbingly high in the workplace.

TUC research found that half of women and nearly two thirds of young women aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment at work.

Ellie Bibby, 19, spoke of her experiences with sexual harassment whilst working at a bar in Sheffield.

She said: “I experienced inappropriate behaviour from men during most shifts I worked. It is often hard to be familiar and friendly to regular customers whilst remaining professional, many often confused this.

“Once a man came behind the bar and hugged me without my permission, which made me extremely uncomfortable and I did not know what to do.”

On average, seven in ten people think that the #MeToo movement has enabled people to be more open about sexual assault.

The organisation Workers Liberty held a talk called “Sexist Bastards” in Sheffield on Tuesday 11th February to discuss sexual harassment at work and what can be done to tackle it.

A spokesperson from the organisation said: “The main aim is to get people talking and sharing experiences. Many of us are engineers in training in very male dominated areas and in work we have found that sexism has been insidious and quite intense.

“We are trying to find out if sexism is on the rise in the UK, especially in politics and if so why. It seems like we have good laws surrounding the topic, however this does not carry on to all workplaces in society.

“I think there should be more to prepare, particularly, young female engineers for a male dominated environment.”

The TUC is requesting that the government introduce a legal duty on employers to actively prevent sexual harassment.

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