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Official Campaign Partners

European Trade Union Confederation

Mission Statement
Over the years, the European Union (EU) has gradually increased its influence in the areas that most affect workers. In response, Europe's trade unions came together to form the ETUC, so as to speak with a single voice on behalf of European workers and have a stronger say in EU decision-making. Since 2008, Europe’s economic and financial crisis and the introduction of austerity policies have reinforced the need for a body to defend workers’ interests at EU level.

The ETUC defends fundamental social values such as solidarity, equality, democracy, social justice and cohesion.

It fights for:
• high quality jobs for all
• a high level of social protection
• gender equality and fair pay
• equal opportunities
• social inclusion and fundamental rights
• good health and safety at work
• freedom of movement for European workers, and an end to abuse and exploitation
• high quality public services that are accessible to all
• a European framework to raise the standard of national social legislation
• action to combat climate change while protecting workers’ jobs
• promotion of these European social values in other parts of the world

The last ETUC Congress in Paris in 2015 adopted a Manifesto that lays out demands in the areas of economic governance and employment policy, trade union rights and social dialogue, ambitious social standards and fair globalisation. The Manifesto rejects austerity policies, imposed without democratic accountability, which have forced workers to pay for a crisis they did not cause. The Paris Manifesto calls on European decision-makers to change their approach without delay and to invest in full employment and quality jobs, so as to create “a strong economy that serves the people” and reverse the growth in poverty and social exclusion.

The Manifesto also calls for social dialogue and collective bargaining to be strengthened across Europe, and urges the EU to aim for social progress as its top priority
Our campaign pledge
Binding exposure limits are critical to effective cancer prevention. The use of chemicals takes a heavy toll on European workers: each year up to 30% of all recognised occupational diseases and over 100 000 preventable deaths are caused by dangerous substances at work. This leads to wide inequalities in health outcomes, and it is the reason why the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) have consistently worked to improve the health & safety of workers exposed to chemicals. Since 2016, the ETUC has been running the high-profile campaign “Stop cancer at work”. The campaign was prompted by the fact that occupational cancer is the first cause of death at work in Europe. Trade unions call on the EU to continuously update the Carcinogens & Mutagens Directive (CMD) and adopt binding occupational exposure limits (BOELs) for at least 50 priority carcinogenic substances. Stricter rules are also needed at EU level for the protection of workers exposed to substances toxic for reproduction. Pressure from trade unions is a major factor in driving preventative measures. Unions make workplaces safer and union action at EU level to promote improvement in EU Health and Safety rules is crucial, as has been shown recently with the first revision of the CMD and the adoption of BOEL for 11 new carcinogens. Good occupational health and safety benefits both workers and employers, and comprehensive, union-driven, risks management is key. The ETUC has also signed a covenant with EU-OSHA, the EU Commission, BusinessEurope and some Member States to promote voluntary actions on raising awareness and exchanging good practices in dealing with the risks arising from occupational exposure to carcinogens. The ETUC is therefore glad to also contribute to the EU-OSHA 2018-19 Healthy Workplaces Campaign ‘Manage Dangerous Substances’. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness on dangerous substances and hazards in companies of all sizes from the many different sectors of our economy using chemicals (chemical manufacturing sector, automotive, textile, construction, healthcare, cleaning, agriculture, beauty sector, etc.) and help prevent accidents and occupational diseases. This campaign will be promoted in all ETUC and ETUI OSH events within the next 2 years with a focus on the most efficient preventative measure: the substitution of dangerous substances with safer alternatives. The ETUC’ national affiliates will also be encouraged to participate and contribute to this campaign with specific actions at national level.
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General Secretary
A social Europe also means an Europe where health & safety at work is guaranteed for all workers whatever the sector and the size of the company. The ETUC is therefore committed to contribute to this campaign which should improve protection of workers exposed to dangerous substances.
Main Contacts
Viktor KEMPA
Head of Safety
+32 2 224 0439

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European Trade Union Confederation
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