EPSU and HOSPEEM presented their policy on stress at work at the high-level Belgian Presidency conference

Mental health conference 30-31 January 2024

(30- 31 January 2024) EPSU and HOSPEEM in the capacity of social partners in the hospital and healthcare sector were invited by the Belgian Presidency to participate in the conference dedicated to mental health and work.

Represented by secretariats (Adam Rogalewski and Leonie Martin) social partners discussed their social dialogue policies concerning stress at work (see here the presentation), during the Shaping Healthy Workplaces Together panel. It is important to add that the work of EPSU and HOSPEEM in relation to stress was of very high value and as can be seen from the press release will be further used by the Belgian presidency. EPSU and HOSPEEM were presenting their policies along with colleagues from the social dialogue committee in the European construction sector, by Rolf Gehring (EFBWW) and Léna Guyon (FIEC), and Rudi Delarue, President of the Belgian National Labour Council.

In  their presentation, HOSPEEM and EPSU predominantly focused on the updated Framework of Action on Recruitment adopted in 2022 which among others includes references to Psycho-social risks and Stress at Work. According to the Framework:

The social partners are committed to addressing occupational safety and health risk factors in the hospital sector by working together, negotiating, and agreeing on appropriate instruments and agreements. In particular, the field of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and Psycho-social risks and Stress at Work (PSRS@W) is of great importance, taking into consideration that these two factors are the most prevalent work-related health problems.

As such prevention from stress at work should be used by social partners as a means to retain and recruit healthcare workers

It is worth mentioning that during his speech Commissioner Schmit mentioned the healthcare sector as one of the most visible examples of a sector facing staff shortages as well as the general secretaries of ETUC and SGI Europe mentioning the healthcare workers dealing with work-related stress.

EPSU would like to thank Petra De Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration, Belgium for mentioning the Digitalisation Agreement adopted by the social dialogue in Central Administration, which also aims to provide protection from stress at work. Finally, the conference provide more evidence for developing the dedicated directive on Psychosocial Risks Factors that is being promoted by the European trade unions movement.

As mentioned by Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy and Labour: I think that we can agree on the fact that a specific European legislation on the prevention of psychosocial risk at work is a necessity. It is a necessity to set ourselves a common ambition, especially in the field of prevention.

Here is the press release from the first day: Conference on Mental Health and Work: Primary Prevention (europa.eu)

And here from the second day: A healthier and more inclusive Europe (europa.eu)