Education International
Education International

Europe: Education unions highlight gaps in new EU Framework on Health and Safety

published 29 July 2014 updated 1 August 2014

EI’s European Region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), has issued a position paper expressing its concerns about social dialogue and gender issues in the recently issued European Commission’s Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020.

ETUCE welcomed the launch of a new common initiative on Health and Safety and underlined the necessity to further invest in occupational health and safety (OSH) in times of economic recession.

Greater involvement of social partners

Challenges identified by ETUCE concerned the insufficient involvement of the social partners in supporting the implementation of the OSH Strategy, in particular, regarding consultation by national governments. Further, the prevention of work-related stress and the support for mental wellbeing needs to be given greater significance in the framework because it is an integral part of the health of all workers, ETUCE underlined.

The position paper goes on to state that “work-related stress is not limited to demographic change and the ageing workforce, nor is it connected uniquely to the use of technologies, as the framework suggests”.

Gender perspective must be taken into account

According to ETUCE, the framework also lacks a gender perspective which would highlight health and safety issues that are relevant to women as well as the challenges linked to these. “The education sector, like other public service sectors, is a female dominated profession. Therefore, a special focus on the prevention of women’s occupational health and safety hazards is crucial,” states the ETUCE position paper.