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11 April 2014

Scathing verdict on European work health policy

France’s Santé & Travail magazine, which has close ties to health insurance organizations, joined with the ETUI’s dedicated health at work magazine HesaMag in a joint survey of how much work health is featuring in the run-up to May’s Euro-elections. Santé & Travail asked several MEPs for their verdict on the legislature now ending.

"Five wasted years," said Spanish Socialist Alejandro Cercas. "We’ve been fed sops so that Parliament feels it hasn’t been idling," he added. French ecologist Karima Delli was less gloomy, emphasizing the "very enlightened positions" taken by the European Parliament in recent years, pointing to a resolution calling on the Commission to propose a directive on corporate restructuring ... which went unheeded.

French MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP) dubbed the adoption of a directive on the protection of workers against electromagnetic fields a "legislative victory".

The MEPs quizzed seem agreed on the need to boost health and safety inspection and information exchanges between countries, particularly to stem the worst unfair practices that have mushroomed in recent years through the posting of workers.

Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter put the standstill in EU health and safety at work policies down to the influence of Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

"David Cameron’s onslaught and stated desire to kill off the health and safety at work strategy, have made me more committed than ever", says former European Trade Union Confederation Confederal Secretary Judith Kirton-Darling, who is standing in the forthcoming European elections.

In the latest issue of HesaMag, ETUI researcher Laurent Vogel details the role played by Mr Cameron in the rise of deregulation policies pushed by the European Commission in recent years, but argues that the ideological reasons for the backtracking on Community work health policies are common to many parts of the political spectrum.

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