European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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27 March 2014, Hotel Silken Berlaymont, 11-19 Boulevard Charlemagne 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Green jobs - safe jobs? Jobs and the environment in the waste and recycling sectors

The Commission wants Europe to become a ‘recycling society’ by 2020, a society that aims, in other words, to avoid waste or to use it as a resource. This ‘circular economy’ would create huge opportunities in terms of jobs and the environment but also raises important questions about the waste management and recycling practices affecting these jobs.

Between 1.2 and 1.5 million people are employed in the waste and recycling sector across the EU. In the context of recession, employment in the sector has been volatile since 2008. Public companies are in many cases being privatised and handed over to subcontractors with a different understanding of social dialogue and health and safety requirements.

From waste collection through to recycling, jobs in these sectors are often unsafe. Between public and private companies, wide differences in working conditions are to be found. It is a male-dominated sector, characterised by limited skills and numerous health and safety challenges. Employees face challenging working conditions in the sorting of waste and may in some cases be exposed to hazardous substances and dangerous materials without adequate protection.

During the event, the main contributions to a special HesaMag report on waste and recycling will be presented, followed by a stakeholder debate on the social dimension of the EU's waste and recycling policy.

Registration is free. To register for this event please contact Dominique Schwan.


12:30h Registration and lunch offered by the ETUI

14:00h Welcome message, Aida Ponce Del Castillo, ETUI

Presentation of the HesaMag#09 special report on waste and recycling

Moderator: Emanuele Lobina (PSIRU Business School, University of Greenwich, UK)

Denis Grégoire and Laurent Vogel, ETUI editors

Jerry van den Berge, EPSU

Anne Beth Anthonsson, IVL (Swedish Environmental Research Institute)

14:30h Questions & Answers

15:30h Coffee break

16:00h Panel discussion: The social dimension of the EU’s waste and recycling policy

Moderator: Willy De Backer, ETUI

Vanya Veras, Secretary General, Municipal Waste Europe

Jaap Couperus, vice-chair of the Works Council, AEB Amsterdam

Piotr Barczak, Policy Officer European Environmental Bureau

Sarah King, Advisor ETUC

17:30h End

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