Health and Safety
Sep. 11, 2020 The KTAMS civil service union is taking widespread industrial action (excluding hospitals) over the government's failure to ensure safety in workplaces in response to the continuing threat of the COVID-19 virus. The union action began on 10 September but continued as the government didn't respond to the union's demands.
Jul. 28, 2020 National trade union confederations are keeping the ETUC up-to-date with what trade unions and labour inspectorates are doing to ensure safety at the workplace in response to COVID-19 and, in particular, in relation to the return to work. In Austria, 20% of inspected workplaces have been told to improve their safety procedures while the Danish FH confederation reports some problems in private clinics and healthcare and it has taken action to ensure that health and social care facilities are fully part of the inspection regime. In Ireland more inspectors have been taken on to cope with increased demands while in Sweden and the UK unions have been involved in walkouts when faced with workplaces that don't meet the new safety standards. The other confederations reporting to the ETUC so far are ZSSS in Slovenia and the UGT in Spain. The information is being regularly updated.
Jul. 16, 2020
Joint Statement on the 10th anniversary of the Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work
A decade ago, the European Sectoral Social Partners, EPSU, UNI EUROPA, ETUCE, HOSPEEM, CEMR, EFEE, EuroCommerce, CoESS identified third-party violence and harassment at the workplace as one of the key health and safety challenges to face within the European Economic Area
Jul. 13, 2020 Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help improve the working environment along with collaboration to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Jul. 01, 2020 The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that workers should have the right to face masks and visors rather than relying on local risk assessments to determine usage.
Jul. 01, 2020 The BDDSz childcare workers' union has launched a photo campaign to highlight the failure of many workplaces in the sector to provide appropriate workplace clothing for employees. The union points out that this is a legal duty and all the more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the union some 40% of institutions are failing to abide by the law, rising to 70% of those involved in child protection.
Jul. 01, 2020 Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to telework.
Jul. 01, 2020
EPSU calls on the European Parliament to investigate the tragic effects of COVID-19 on the care sector
Today EPSU together with the European Disability Forum and the Age Platform Europe will formally call on the European Parliament to launch an investigation to assess the failures of authorities in addressing and managing the crisis in the long-term care sector during COVID-19.
Jul. 01, 2020 FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and other unions that organise workers in the INPS social security service are mobilising members in protest at the Institute's failure to abide by a return-to-work agreement signed on 3 June. The unions argue that management pushed for reopening all offices on 1 July without taking the agreed health and safety precautions to protect both workers and service users. The unions also say that the Institute has failed to recognise the efforts put in by workers to maintain services while offices were closed to the public. Unions are organising workplace meetings across the service.