EWCO news updates
Regular news updates from the Observatory network of national correspondents
News updates are short articles based on newsworthy developments in the area of quality of work at national level. Each national correspondent provides 4-6 such articles each year.
Ireland: Increase in occupational accidents and illnesses (27 November 2006)
The Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a detailed statistical report ‘Summary of fatality, injury and illness statistics 2004–2005’, which provides a statistical portrait of the numbers, types and causes of occupational injuries and illnesses in Ireland. Among the key findings of the report are that the number of people killed in workplace accidents increased by almost 50% between 2004 and 2005, while back injuries are the most common result of accidents. Particular risk groups have been identified and the HSA has issued a series of targeted risk alerts as part of an action programme to address the high number of accidents and fatalities.
Ireland: Code of Practice on work safety in agriculture (27 November 2006)
The Irish Health and Safety Authority has published a Code of Practice which provides practical guidance to farmers and others working in the agricultural sector on how to avoid occupational injuries and illnesses. The farmyard has traditionally been regarded as one of the two most dangerous types of workplaces in Ireland, with over 3,000 accidents occurring each year.
Portugal: Companies slow to employ highly qualified graduates (27 November 2006)
Despite significant investment in advanced training in Portugal, barriers have been identified which prevent the recruitment of post-graduate professionals in Portuguese companies. The main problems relate to the companies’ capacities to afford and to integrate such highly qualified staff, as well as reservations about the particular characteristics of post-graduates, such as a possible lack of flexibility and academic orientation. Nevertheless, companies do recognise the potential value of post-graduates as possible agents of change in terms of innovation and technology.
Romania: Call for improvements in continuous vocational training (20 November 2006)
According to a survey conducted by the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family on opinions about vocational training issues, the majority of respondents identify the need for periodic evaluation of training capacity, mechanisms to foster investment, the elimination of obstacles in organising vocational training, and a greater balance between supply and demand in terms of training courses.
Italy: Two in three workers work overtime to boost income (20 November 2006)
The preliminary results of the survey ‘L’Italia che lavora oggi’ (‘The working Italy today’) carried out by the Italian Economic and Social Research Institute show that earnings are higher among those employees working longer hours. In general, working overtime is perceived as a way to increase the personal and family income, particularly among workers with poor career opportunities. The survey findings also reveal that working time impacts on the gender pay gap.
EU.LEVEL: Broader gender perspective needed in debate on ‘making work pay’ (20 November 2006)
The report, ‘Making work pay’: debates from a gender perspective, is a comparative review of some recent policy reforms in 30 European countries. The aim of the report is to identify the gender impact of tax or social benefit reforms, the effect of maternity and parental leave on employment (re-)integration, and the development of childcare services as an instrument to support parents’ employment.
EU.LEVEL: Company-level policies prove effective in age management (20 November 2006)
A recent report on ageing and employment, from the European Commission, considers measures designed to help maintain and improve the employment opportunities of older workers. Based on a study of 11 EU countries, the report offers important empirical findings that demonstrate how some companies are beginning to address the issue of managing an ageing workforce.
Latvia: First national study on working conditions (20 November 2006)
With financial assistance from the European Union Social Fund, the Ministry of Welfare has commissioned the first-ever study on working conditions in Latvia. The study aims to gather information on work safety and to develop recommendations for improving the legal framework regulating this field in order to improve working conditions and the working environment in Latvian companies. The research focuses on two main fields – legal employment relations and the working environment – and examines the relation between both areas. The research results will be available at the beginning of 2007.
Ireland: Workplace health project wins innovation award (20 November 2006)
The Irish Ministry for Health decided to target the workplace in order to promote health and well-being among citizens. A health project was subsequently set up in County Roscommon among small and medium-sized companies. It included a survey of existing workplace health policies and a pilot project aimed at developing better support services. The project received a Health Services Executive innovation award on 11 October 2006.
Italy: Growth in feeling of job insecurity among workers (13 November 2006)
The third survey on quality of work in the province of Bolzano/Bozen, a bilingual province in the northeast of Italy, reveals that most employees are required to carry out increasingly complex tasks, apart from manual and part-time workers. However, in a comparison with the findings from previous surveys, wages are still low and the feeling of job insecurity is significantly on the increase, despite low unemployment rates and high levels of financial support from the local government.