Tag Archives: Europe

Europe: Commission must rethink ‘astonishing’ omission of workers’ health and safety from work programme | ETUC

The ETUC is using Workers Memorial Day to appeal again to the European Commission to prioritize workplace health and safety in its plans for the next five years in light of the coronavirus crisis.

Trade unions first raised the alarm last September when occupational health and safety was omitted from Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines, pointing out that every year there are 4,000 fatal accidents at work and 120,000 people die of work-related cancer.

Despite that, the Commission continued to overlook this matter of life or death when it published its work programme for 2019 to 2024 in January.

The ETUC is now writing again to the Commission President to urge her to reassess her priorities in light of the coronavirus crisis, which has been responsible for hundreds of deaths at work.

In a separate letter sent to Nicholas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, today the ETUC and its affiliates have called on him to ensure Covid-19 is recognised as an occupational disease.

Our appeals come on Workers Memorial Day, the international day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives at work which is routinely observed by the European Commission.

The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to:

  • Include a plan for zero workplace deaths and the elimination of work-related cancer to its work programme for 2020.
  • Add Covid-19 to the EU directive on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents to ensure the most effective and strict prevention measures
  • Enlarge the scope of the recommendation concerning the European schedule of occupational diseases to cover all professions exposed to Covid-19 at a higher level than for the general population
  • Enforce existing legislation in member states after a dramatic drop in workplace inspections in many countries

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:

“The omission of health and safety from the European Commission’s agenda was astonishing before the crisis considering there are still 4,000 fatal accidents at work and 120,000 people dying of work-related cancer every year.

“In light of recent events, it would be grossly negligent to keep turning a blind eye to this matter of life and death.

“Yet workplace health and safety is still not given the importance it deserves in the Commission’s roadmap towards lifting Covid-19 containment measures. The exit strategy needs to have a hazard-based approach, with proper prevention measures put in place before we can return to work.

““It is high time for Ursula von der Leyen and her team to prioritize occupational health and safety, of which there was no mention in her political guidelines when elected Commission President and of which is still no mention in the recently leaked Commission work programme.”

France: La sécurité et la santé au travail peuvent sauver des vies – CFDT

@CFDTsantesoc “la sécurité et la santé au travail peuvent sauver des vies” 28 avril commémoration des travailleurs décédés dans leur travail. Solidarité avec http://travailleurs.es  en Europe @EPSUnions @etuc_ces et mondiale @ituc @PSIglobalunion

Europe: Joint union statement for 28 April

The COVID-19 outbreak has shown us how vulnerable we are to an epidemic, and how devastating the effects can be: on life, on health, on society, on our economy.

It has demonstrated very clearly the importance of protecting working people (and all people) from disease, especially at the workplace.

It has also shown the importance of investing in good public health care, investing in good conditions for health care workers and other frontline workers, and the need to ensure good sick pay and other provisions to protect the wages and jobs of all.

For International Workers Memorial Day – 28 April – we commemorate all those who died from corona virus. We remember health care workers and all other workers who died from corona virus through exposure at work. No one should die from work!

Nurses, paramedics, other medical staff, and others who work in health care premises, including cleaners, are exposed to multiple occupational risks – biological (e.g. from viruses), chemical (e.g. from the many carcinogenic substances used in a medical setting), physical (e.g. from machinery noise, radiation, slips and falls) and ergonomic risks (e.g. from heavy lifting), psychological (e.g. from the intensity and emotion of the work and from shift work) and hazardous drugs.

Many other workers are also very exposed to disease. For example, care workers, rubbish collectors, teaching staff, transport, shop, construction, contact centre and fast-food workers as well as couriers and delivery workers are among those with high exposure to disease. Many of these workers also work physically close to others: risking to spread as well as catch diseases. Some posted and precarious workers live and travel in close proximity to fellow workers. Many are also in precarious working conditions, low-paid and unable to take sick leave – either because they are not entitled to sick pay, or because they cannot afford to: putting themselves and others at risk if forced to work when ill.

It is essential that all existing health and safety laws and agreements for these workers, and indeed all workers, are fully and properly implemented, involving social partners. It is also essential to review whether existing protections are adequate for dealing with risks such as corona virus. It is clear that many workers, including health care workers, did not for example have adequate personal protective equipment. Investment in health and safety equipment and workplace dialogue and debate about implementing health and safety measures need to be scaled up.

Health care services have been stretched to the absolute limit by corona virus. Public health services’ ability to tackle the coronavirus crisis has not been helped by staff shortages, and inadequate facilities and budgets. The OECD emphasised the importance of public health spending and investment in its recent report on responses to the virus. Trade unions call for increased investment in public health care, not just during the crisis but also afterwards to strengthen our health services ability to deal with this and other emergencies.

The coronavirus crisis has resulted in temporary measures to extend sick pay and income protection schemes to workers who do not normally have the right to sick pay and other protections, including self-employed and platform workers. This shows that there is a longer-term problem which needs to be fixed: all workers should have sick pay, unemployment benefits and other wage protection benefits. And adequate protections for their health and safety in the working life.

Joint ETUC & European trade union federations statement for Workers Memorial Day 2020

Europe: On 28 April ETUC remembers those who died from corona virus at work

ETUC has today shared 28 April materials for general use prepared by their communication department.

The aim is to make a solid connection between the current Covid 19 crisis and more general health and safety issues.

ETUC has provided the materials in formats for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (and also in editable formats so you can edit – add your logo and translate), a statement signed by ETUC and European sectoral trade union federations, and a list of short texts we will use with the visuals on social media.

ETUC will publish the statement and start posting on social media from Friday 24 April, with new posts every day until and including Tuesday 28 April.

You are encouraged to use the materials as you wish, to translate and adapt, and also to share/like ETUC posts . ETUC has full rights for photos so you can use them too. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #IWMD20, we are also using #CoronaVirus and #Covid19 .

ETUC webpages


Europe: ETUI coronavirus podcasts – voices on the world of work

New perspectives, debates and conversations about ongoing research and education on social Europe, worker participation, health and safety, the wider labour movement and the world of work.

Europe: COVID 19 and Occupational Health and Safety – PERC OHS Network statement

COVID 19 and Occupational Health and Safety – PERC OHS Network statement

COVID-19 is threatening the health and the livelihoods of workers globally. COVID-19 will also have major economic and employment impacts. Millions of companies worldwide are in danger of being forced out of business with grave impacts on employment. It will push on liberalisation of workplace legislation and workers’ rights.

Already before the crisis the PERC OHS Network had mentioned in its Memorandums (Tirana and Baku,  2016) that the deterioration of health and safety of workers ran parallel to changes in forms of employment and growth of precarious employment, while at the same time labour legislation had been amended in many countries, reducing workers’ rights; still a high number of workers had been victims of work-related accidents and diseases, while the number of fatal accidents remains also high – bringing not only misery and pain to many families but also exacting a high price for society as a whole. OHS-related cutbacks made before the crisis are unacceptable; we consider more investment in prevention and the development of hazard-free workplaces is vital for all stakeholders.

The OHS Network of the Pan European Regional Council underline the critical need for social dialogue at national and multilateral levels to design measures to overcome this impact.

We stress in the strongest terms the important role that social dialogue and social partners play in the control of the virus at the workplace and beyond, but also to avoid massive job losses in the short and medium term. Joint responsibility is needed for dialogue to foster stability.

Strong and functioning health systems are key to combatting the pandemic. We urge governments to deploy all possible resources; support to Governments in their effective use of health facilities and resources, are urgently needed

Covid-19 must be beated by prevention measures together with medical aid. Trade union should raise awareness, to fight for social rights of workers and negotiate with governments on social protection measures.

We call for the political will to fully implement the articles of the ILO Conventions, namely Labour Inspection Convention No 81 and Occupational Safety and Health Convention No 155. We call for broader promotional role of trade unions in the area of safety and health of workers and prevention. We call for strict introduction of hygiene measures requested by national legislation at all workplaces.

Vigorous systems of different types of inspection and enforcement of legislation through the cooperation of authorities, employers and trade unions are crucial to any sustainable improvement. The potential for trade unions to promote workplace health and safety should be used at all levels, especially in times of shrinking resources and pandemic situation. We consider the strengthening of the institution of workers technical inspectors, to whom trade unions provide wide support, to be of key importance.

We consider it imperative that trade unions not only play a greater role as supervisors on OSH matters, but must also strengthen their monitoring and bargaining, educational and raising awareness role through appropriate legislation if progress is to be achieved.

Trade unions in the region see critical failures in risk assessment at many companies which lead to underestimating of hazards the workers are facing to. The exposure of workers to traditional hazards but also to new ones like COVID 19 pandemic psychosocial risks, dangerous substances with effects of work-related cancers and environmental hazards is enormous. Therefore, we call for action!

In short, all efforts need to be undertaken to help workers and companies to go through the crisis, to keep workers in their jobs, to protect from unemployment and loss of income, and to alleviate financial devastation.

PERC updates re Covid-19

Europe: COVID 19 i Zaštita sigurnosti i zdravlja na radu Izjava PERV Mreže za zaštitu zdravlja i sigurnosti na radu

Drage kolege, dragi članovi PERV Mreže za zaštitu i bezbjednost zdravlja na radu,

Vjerujemo da se svi vi, kao i vaše zemlje suočavaju sa pandemijom COVID 19 i da vlade vaših zemalja donose odgovarajuće mjere zaštite stanovništva i građana , ali i mjere i odgovore na spašavanju radnih mjesta i ekonomija vaših zemalja.

S obzirom da ste vi članovi PERC Mreže za zaštitu i bezbjednost zdravlja na radu, bilo bi dobro da partite mjere vaših vlada i da , ukoliko ste u mogućnosti, napravite veoma kratki pregled stanja po to pitanju i pošaljete nam isti putem maila. Imajući u vidu da se još ne zna koliko ovakvo stanje može trajati, u narednom period ćemo pokušati organizovati online sastanak  ( putem određenih platformi) i razgovarati o ovom pitanju. I sama sam mislila da je to komplikovano, ali sa kolegama iz Brisela redovno imam sastanke na taj način, a i neki veći regionalni sastanci su se tako održavali,  te vam mogu reći da je taj vid komunikacije u datim okolnostima veoma značajan i potreban.

U prilogu vam šaljem prevod na BSCM jezik dokumenta MKS-a “Dan sjećanja na radnike – zaustavimo pandemiju” , pripremljenog povodom 28.aprila – Međunarodnog dana sjećanja na radnike koji su ubijeni, stradali, povrijeđeni na radu ili su postali invalidi rada. Ispod je i link za originalan tekst na engleskom jeziku:


Nadamo se da ćete dokument u prilogu iskoristiti i za obilježavanje 28.aprila ove godine, iako u specifičnim uslovima.

Za sve članove Mreže OHS : U prilogu  takođe dostavljamo Prijedlog Izjave PERC OHS Mreža, te vas ljubazno molimo da date svoje sugestije za izmjene ili dopune Izjave, putem maila, najkasnije do 16.aprila 2020.

Prijedlog Izjave PERV OHS Mreza – BCSM

Želim vam svima dobro zdravlje, u solidarnosti,

Enisa Salimovic,
Office Coordinator

ITUC/PERC SEE Office Sarajevo
71 000 Sarajevo, Dz. Bijedica 37 / VIII
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel. +387 33 715 305
Tel / Fax. +387 33 715 306
e-mail enisa.salimovic@ituc-csi.ba

PERC updates re Covid-19

Europe: Statement from ITUC’s Pan European Regional Council (OHS Network)

Dear colleagues, dear members of the PERC OHS Network,

We believe that all of you, as well as your countries face with the Covid-19 pandemic, and that your governments adopt appropriate measures aimed at protection of population and citizens, but also the response measures aimed at salvation of jobs and economic in your countries.

Given that all of your are affiliates of PERC OHS Network, it would be good if you could monitor the measures of your governments and, if possible, draft a brief review of the situation in this area, and submit it to us by e-mail. Considering that it cannot be predicted for how long this situation would continue, we shall try in the forthcoming period to organize an online meeting  (by way of some platforms) to talk about these matters. I have also though this could be a complicated, but I do have regular meetings this way with my colleagues from Brussels, and even some bigger meetings were organized this way. I can tell you that this form of communication in given circumstances is extremely relevant and necessary.

I hereby enclose the translation to BSCM language of the ITUC document “Workers’ Memorial Day – Stop Pandemic at Work”, in reference to the 28th April – International Workers’ Memorial Day or Workers’ Mourning Day of remembrance and actions for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. The link to the original text in English language is: https://www.ituc-csi.org/28April2020

We hope that you will use this document to mark the 28th April this year, although in these specific conditions.

To all Network members on OHS: We are also sending you attached the Draft PERC OHS Networks’ Statement on COVID –  for consultation with you about the final text.

We wish you a good health and in solidarity,

PERC updates re Covid-19