Press conference launching the whistleblowers protection platform, 17 October 2016, Brussels (photo ETUC)
(18 October 2016) Whistleblowers need to be legally protected against all form of retaliation in the workplace, both in the public and private sectors, as well as against criminal proceedings,’ said EPSU’s Nadja Salson speaking at launch of a platform calling for EU-wide whistleblower protection, in Brussels yesterday.
Protecting whistleblowers is about workers’ rights. From the platform Salson said: ‘As trade unions, it is our duty to defend all workers, to provide the support they need. Most whistleblowers lose their job, some become victims of violence and legal proceedings which can go on for years and prove very costly. Today there is so much financial and political pressure on public services that workers all the more need strong protection when they expose wrongdoings. ’
She went on to say, ‘EU-wide protection is absolutely necessary, because the scandals brought to light by whistleblowers about tax avoidance, public contracts or financial misbehaviour often have a strong cross-border dimension. For example the Luxleaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour is a French citizen, who worked in Luxembourg for a multinational company. Only EU-wide protection would cover all aspects of his and many other cases’.
‘Deltour and his fellow whistleblowers are often rightly praised as modern day heroes and yet they are in a perilous and precarious situation’, continued Salson. Deltour was awarded the European citizens’ prize by the European Parliament and yet received a 12 months suspended jail sentence from the Luxembourg court of justice. This contradiction must be rectified.’
Forty-eight organisations – national, European and International trade unions and NGOs such as Transparency International - signed the statement which was issued yesterday. It is now open for additional signatures. The emergence of the trade secrets directive and the Luxleaks trial has brought the lack of protection of whistleblowers at EU-level into sharp focus.