Eurofound News May 2012
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News in brief
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound Director, welcome participants to the joint conference on ‘Quality of work and employment’ in Brussels on 12 April.
The International Federation on Ageing’s 11th global conference – ‘Ageing Connects’ – aims to contribute to the European Year of Active Ageing by exploring social trends and evaluating policy developments in the area of population ageing. Taking place in Prague from 28 May until 1 June, the event will provide self-advocates, family members, professionals, and their organisations from all over Europe with a platform to exchange information on current policies and practices with a wide range of stakeholders. Head of Unit Rob Anderson will chair the symposium ‘Income from work after retirement’, during which Research Officer Hans Dubois will present findings from current Eurofound research into this topic. Eurofound will also present its research at the sessions on ‘Care and support for caregivers’ and ‘Work and the ageing workforce’
Nokia’s decision in December 2011 to close its factory in Jucu, Romania and move production to Asia, as part of a global restructuring plan, signalled the loss of 2,000 jobs in the region. It also sparked a national debate about the use of state aid for international companies in Romania, as the factory had been set up in 2008 with financial support from the Romanian government. Fortunately for workers in the region, three international companies have recently announced the creation of up to 3,100 new jobs on the former Nokia site, mainly in manufacturing. The bulk of new jobs in the Jucu Tetarom industrial park will be created by German global engineering and electronics group Bosch.
Up to 30% of workplace accidents in European countries could be related to alcohol or drug use, according to findings from a new Eurofound report. But safety risks are just one of the problems linked to the use of alcohol or drugs in the workplace. Poor performance, reduced productivity and conflicts with colleagues are some of the other negative outcomes. While testing for substance use at work may be justified where safety risks are high, this can be controversial as it invades the privacy of workers. Most European countries have legislation or collective agreements to ban or control the use of alcohol and drugs at work, but the issue clearly needs more consideration. Prevention programmes, developed as part of more general strategies for health and safety at work, could produce more positive results for workers than sanctions and controls.
Eurofound will participate in the Europe in Action 2012 conference aimed at fostering work opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, which takes place in Brussels from 31 May to 2 June. Research manager Anna Ludwinek will present findings from a Eurofound study on the active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems, including mental health problems. Good practice examples from a number of countries will illustrate how service providers and local and national organisations are helping to move young people with various mental health problems or learning difficulties from inactivity to employment. The case studies focus on innovative practices carried out in an integrated, joined-up approach.