The Bertelsmann Stiftung has given most EU Member States poor marks in combating inequality. The reforms needed to improve access to high-quality education and training for all, particularly people with an immigrant background, are insufficient. ‘EU member states still have a long way to go before achieving a “social triple-A rating”,’ the German organisation states in a recent report.
The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) reports significant growth in employment in 2016 which it attributes to measures taken by the centre-right government. This view is not shared by the trade unions, whose two representatives on the Council of Regency, one of the bank’s governing bodies, have refused to sign the report, published on 10 February.
The road to equality between men and women in the workplace is still paved with good intentions, albeit a long and boring road where progress occurs all too slowly. That is the picture gleaned from various speakers at an ETUI seminar held on 13 and 14 February 2017. The purpose of the event was to present the results of work recently completed on the gender health gap.
The debate about a living wage that goes beyond the subsistence level has gained momentum recently in light of the increase in low-wage work and in-work poverty, particularly since it has become abundantly clear that the current minimum wage levels in the EU countries are not sufficient to tackle these problems.
The ETUI is recruiting a head of unit to manage and supervise the activities of the ‘Health and Safety/Working Conditions’ unit. The head of unit will facilitate the communication and cooperation within the unit and within the research department as well as with the ETUC.
A British plumber who wanted to reduce his working days has won a legal battle against the London's largest independent plumbing company. On 10 February, the Court of Appeal in London agreed that Gary Smith, a self-employed worker with Pimlico Plumbers, was entitled to holiday and sick pay and other benefits even though the court judged he was technically self-employed.
The European Review of Labour and Research (Transfer) has commissioned two issues that will explore the circumstances of contemporary trade unionism in Europe. The first and current issue looks into the notion of union renewal and explores a range of approaches to renewal and organising, with case studies drawn from four European countries (Germany, Poland, France and Spain).
On 10 January this year, the European Commission adopted a communication on the future of EU legislation and policy on occupational safety and health (OSH). ETUI researchers have studied the text and have identified positive signs of a shift in policy in favour of workers, particularly with respect to exposure to chemical risks. The Commission’s proposals regarding a number of problems associated with the organisation of work, however, such as musculoskeletal disorders, remain distinctly unambitious.
A physically demanding job or work schedules outside normal office hours may lower a woman's ability to conceive, suggests research published online on 7 February in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Researchers say women who work nights and irregular shifts have fewer eggs capable of developing into healthy embryos than those who keep regular daytime hours
‘It is becoming quite urgent to understand the exact mechanisms of nanotoxicity and make a classification depending on the mechanism. Radioactivity or X-rays entered our lives the same way. It took time until researchers understood the mechanisms of action on living organisms’, has warned Vladimir Baulin from University Rovira i Virgili, in Tarragona (Spain).
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