In the run-up to the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, commemorated each year on 28 April, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has criticised the European Commission’s failure to promote occupational cancer prevention measures. On 28 April, in three European cities, the ETUC will call on the European bodies to take action in this field.
The ETUI has been involved in coordinating and preparing a new compendium on health and safety in the workplace. Entitled Les risques du travail. Pour ne pas perdre sa vie à la gagner (‘Work-related risks. So as not to lose your life while earning your living’), this work looks back over the main changes that have taken place in the world of work in the last thirty years and at their impact on workers’ health. Four ETUI researchers have contributed to the volume.
The Collective Bargaining newsletter presents the most important developments at European and Member States levels on a monthly basis. Here are the key issues of the past month:
The 2015 edition of the annual ETUC/ETUI Benchmarking Working Europe report was presented on 20 March in Brussels. This year the ETUI chose to focus this presentation of its updated inventory of the European labour situation on three aspects covered by the European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey: the investment plan, budgetary responsibility, and structural reforms.
On 12 March, the IUF, an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages, published policy recommendations on the increasing use of nanomaterials by food-related industries.
Greece has shown how to defy the prevailing European consensus on austerity, offering hope of a better, fairer future, according to economist James Galbraith. Galbraith, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and informal economic advisor to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, told an ETUI conference on alternatives to austerity in Brussels on March 20 that Greece could spur change across Europe.
Gender equality has been central to the European integration project from the outset. But is concern for this goal becoming purely symbolic and devoid of real effects? As described by Sophie Jacquot, a researcher at Sciences Po Paris, the last ten years or so have seen a slow but steady process of dismantling of the European project designed to ensure equality between men and women.
The Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Institut (WSI) within the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung based in Düsseldorf, Germany has updated its Minimum Wage Database which is available in German and English.. The WSI Minimum Wage Database provides an overview of the development and current levels of minimum wages in 30 countries, including all 22 EU Member States which have a statutory minimum wage. This makes the WSI Minimum Wage Database one of the most comprehensive cross-nationally comparative sources of information on minimum wages.
Christos Triantafillou, an economist at the Labour Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (INE-GSEE), offered – at a lunchtime debate organised by the ETUI on 25 February – an analysis of the prospects opened up by the recent political changes in his country.
The conference on women’s health and work, organised by the ETUI from 4 to 6 March in Brussels, showed that a situation of equal rights for men and women in the workplace is very far from having been achieved. A serious obstacle on the road to such equality is the invisibility of the specific risks to which working women are exposed and that stem frequently from work organisation methods. The deeply entrenched nature of sexual segregation on the labour market and of sexist stereotypes serves to reinforce the status quo.
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