On this day, European trade unionists commemorate the 100,000 colleagues and friends, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons killed every year in the EU by cancers – caused at work – which are entirely preventable.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemns the European Commission for delaying since October 2013 the adoption of legally binding exposure limits for chemicals that cause cancer, or are toxic for male and female fertility and the unborn child, because it is conducting a review of ‘red tape’. It means that 150,000 have died while EC evaluates ‘better regulation’.
The ETUC does not believe that the European Commission so lacks humanity that measures to protect people from cancer, people from fertility difficulties, or babies in the womb from toxic chemicals, could be considered a cost to business which needs to be reduced to improve competitiveness; that human life could be just another line in the balance sheet alongside the cost of raw materials, transport and energy.
The ETUC demands legally enforceable exposure limits for a priority list of 50 of the most harmful chemicals as a first step.
We call on the European Commission to unblock the revision of the Directive on Carcinogens or Mutagens at work and include substances that are toxic for reproduction.
To mark this memorial Day, on April the 28th ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol will be in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to bring International Workers’ Memorial Day to the attention of MEPs, and has meetings scheduled with Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. ETUC Deputy General Secretary Józef Niemiec will speak at a Latvian Presidency conference in Riga on health and safety. The ETUC and Belgian trade unions also plan a commemoration outside the European Commission’s Berlaymont HQ in Brussels.
The artwork below will be used at these events.