The Commission's new health and safety at work strategy 2002-2006 gives notice of Community initiatives on MSD. Although it is still vague as to exactly what shape they will take, the announcement sets the seal on trade unions' long-standing efforts to put MSD at the centre of the European debate.

This report on the Clothing Industry comes as an addition to the array of publications produced by the ETUI Health and Safety department to support the ETUC's Europe-wide campaign to combat MSD. An industry-based survey was felt the best way to get insights into specific MSD problems, current scientific knowledge and solutions. The clothing industry offers an object lesson in repetitive work and MSD risk factors with pay systems traditionally linked to work pace. The industry has been forced into wholesale restructuring in recent decades by fierce global market competition. The resulting intensification of work has led to worse working conditions and a higher incidence of MSD.

This report offers a comprehensive review of existing scientific knowledge related to MSD in the textile and clothing industry. It also examines organizational changes in the sector, considering established and emerging health and safety issues. At the same time, it presents practical examples of how trade union mobilization and participatory approaches have addressed MSD problems in different workplaces across Europe.

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