European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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5 May 2017

Union conference on workplace carcinogens

On 28 April 2017, Malta’s main trade union, the General Workers Union (GWU), held the conference “Together to Eliminate Carcinogens from the place of work” in collaboration with the ETUI.

The topic, the date and the venue were not selected by chance, with 28 April being the World Day on Safety and Health at Work and with occupational cancers the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths in Europe. Malta currently holds the presidency of the European Union (EU). More than a hundred participants took part in the debates, including many unionists, labour inspectors, universities and the official Maltese team tasked by the European Council with negotiating with the European Parliament and the European Commission on the revision of the directive on carcinogens or mutagens at work.

During the conference, Philippe Pochet, General Director of the ETUI, met with the Maltese Minister of Social Affairs, Helena Dalli, presenting to her the union demands for improving the legislation protecting workers against carcinogenic risks.

For his part, ETUI researcher Tony Musu, an expert in chemical risks, presented a status report on existing European laws for protecting workers, detailing possible improvements.

Among the measures supported by the unions and the European Parliament, the extension of the directive’s scope of application to reprotoxic substances gained the full attention of the minister and her team of negotiators. In connection with the conference, Philippe Pochet, Josef Bugeja, GWU General Secretary, and Kevin Camilleri, GWU Deputy Secretary General, laid a wreath on the monument dedicated to the memory of Maltese workers who died at work.

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