(28 April 2021) Together with a loss of over 1000 labour inspectors the number of labour inspections has declined from 2.2 million visits per year in 2010 to 1.7 million in the EU. This has resulted in more than a third of European countries no longer meeting the ILO’s standard of having one labour inspector per 10,000 workers.
Workers have become less protected. This shift is the result of relentless lobbying of employers for deregulation and of governments pursuing austerity policies that reduce our public services. EPSU has long warned that austerity policies favour corporate interests and these findings are further proof.
Workplaces were less prepared as employers thought they could get away with investing less and not doing the necessary risk assessments. It has hit women hard. Vulnerable workers like young people and migrants are more exposed to risks. Fewer inspectors mean less controls to check if a safe return to work is possible.
EPSU supports the call of the ETUC to recognize COVID19 as an occupational disease. We reject the deregulation policies that go at the expense of workers and workers’ health and safety protection.
ETUC Press Release Huge fall in labour inspections across EU raises Covid risk