Health and Safety
Members of the PCS civil service union at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea, South Wales, have agreed to take another four days of strike action from 4-7 May. This follows the four-day action on 6-9 April that the union says was strongly supported. PCS is concerned that DVLA management have failed to take action to address safety concerns following very high levels of COVID-19 infections at the site where 4000 workers are employed. The union has also argued about the level of continuing risk involved from allowing 2000 workers to carry on working at the site.
New ETUC research reveals that safety inspections have been cut by a fifth since 2010, falling from 2.2 million annual visits to 1.7 million. Numbers fell in at least 17 countries, including in Germany where 232,000 fewer visits were made in 2018 compared to 2010 and Portugal where checks were cut in half over the same period. Over the same period the number of labour inspectors across Europe fell by more than 1000. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia all saw inspections fall by 35%, with the average fall across the EU at 18%. The ETUC argues that the major cut in labour inspections
New OSH strategy should aim to mainstream OSH, be less gender blind and be based on lessons learnt from the pandemic
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
Public service union, Fagforbundet, that represents firefighters is taking legal action to try to overturn a decision by the social insurance court that cancer doesn’t quality as an occupational disease. There was a long struggle by firefighters to get occupational injury compensation as a result of being more exposed to certain types of cancer more than other workers. This was achieved in 2016 and several workers have received this compensation. However, a new ruling reverses this decision. The union argues that there is no new knowledge or research to justify any changes. Several recent
Over 1400 workers, members of the PCS civil service union, took strike action from 6-9 April in protest at the failure to address safety issues at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea in South Wales. Over 600 DVLA employees have tested positive for COVID since last September with no effective response from management or the Department of Transport (DoT). Following the strike the union has called for immediate talks to resume with the DoT and will be discussing next steps with members.