Will the circular economy be an economy with no workers? New study published

Waste Management in Europe. Good jobs in the circular economy ? EPSU report

(19 Februray 2018) A report written by The Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and commissioned by European Public Service Union (EPSU) investigates the impact of privatization and liberalization on waste services. The report highlights recent statistics surrounding waste management and explores challenges and benefits of moving towards a more circular economy.

The European Commission, in its proposal, did not take into account what a circular economy would mean for workers and their representatives in the waste sector. This is a missed opportunity for the workers as collecting, sorting, recycling, incineration and reuse are just some of the sectors who still face low skilled work being done with poor health and safety standards. A circular economy should take into account how it will affect those who are employed.

The circular economy package leads to a further reduction in landfilling which will create an increase in recycling and the incineration of waste. This will change the employment in the waste sector significantly.

For EPSU who organizes  workers in the waste industry, a circular economy brings challenges and opportunities. If a circular economy is to be implemented, the health and safety aspects of workers and the quality of those jobs is primordial for its success.

EPSU is in favor of such a wide-ranging initiative and its priorities are to:

  • Publicly owned and democratically controlled waste services
  • Improve the health and safety of workers
  • Ensure quality jobs and decent pay and conditions
  • fight against social dumping.
  • improve the quality of jobs through up-skilling.

For more information please consult with Guillaume DURIVAUX