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July 29, 2011

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Europe addresses the changing world of work

The European Trade Union Institute’s (ETUI) Health and Safety at Work Department is to bring its research and expertise to bear on the huge area of working conditions.

The wider remit represents a natural progression for what started out as the Trade Union Technical Bureau (TUTB), before becoming the ETUI Health and Safety Department in 2005.

Now called the Working Conditions, Health and Safety Department, the team’s broader focus should enable the ETUI to better meet the demands of European unions dealing with emerging workplace psychosocial risks, such as stress, harassment, etc. The change also reflects the more service-oriented world of work, and workers’ new aspirations, especially in relation to the quality of their work life.

Department director Laurent Vogel explained the rationale for the move: “We have consistently argued, right since the TUTB was founded in 1989, that workplace health and safety was not just a technical thing unrelated to changes in working conditions and the labour market.

“Sticking strictly to ‘health and safety’ issues restricted the scope of what we could do to a limited number of industry federations. Branching out into working conditions should enable us to run projects with a bigger number of federations.”

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