Issue date
Unions in Wales are launching an investigation into the sexual harassment that workers face at work. The first stage of this work is a new survey, launched today by the union body Wales TUC.

The survey is being launched following an increase during the Covid-19 pandemic of workers reporting sexual harassment at work to their unions.

Some workers have reported colleagues making inappropriate comments about seeing inside their bedrooms or bosses making unreasonable demands of what they should wear on camera. Other workers have received inappropriate comments over staff Whatsapp groups. Workers’ safety has also been put at risk during the pandemic with Covid regulations resulting in some workers having to be in a workplace alongside their perpetrator but in smaller groups than usual.

The findings of the Wales TUC’s survey will be used to create new resources for union reps and to campaign for an end to sexual harassment for everyone.

The survey is open to everyone who works in Wales, not just union members. It is available in both Welsh and English and all responses are completely anonymous.

Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said: “Sexual harassment in the workplace is totally unacceptable. But we know that some employers allow bad behaviour to go unchecked and unchallenged. How many times have we heard sexual harassment in the workplace described as ‘just a bit of banter’?  How many times have we heard 'it was just a joke, they didn't really mean it?

The trade union movement is absolutely vital to stamping out this behaviour. The results of our new sexual harassment survey will help us give reps the skills and know how needed to combat perpetrators and improve the safety and mental wellbeing of people at work.”

Charlotte Archibald, Communications & Campaigns Manager at Welsh Women’s Aid, said: “We are pleased to support the work of Wales TUC to challenge sexual harassment in the workplace. Everyone has the right to work in a safe and respectful environment, but for many women, this is not a reality. Far too many women will have their own story of sexual harassment, of how degrading, humiliating and dangerous those experiences felt for them. When these experiences are minimised or disbelieved in the workplace, it plays into a wider culture that normalises violence and abuse against women.

Welsh Women’s Aid launched the ‘No Grey Area’ campaign last year to call out toxic workplace environments that enable sexual harassment to flourish. Disturbingly, 4 out of 5 of the women who responded to our campaign were survivors of sexual harassment in the workplace. The work Wales TUC is carrying out to get a clear picture of the scale and impact of sexual harassment, as well as equipping Reps with the tools to provide necessary support and guidance, will be a huge asset in making workplaces safer for everyone."