Left in limbo yet again

Another initiative doomed to fail, as workers continue to be left unprotected from psychosocial risks.

The European Commission has unveiled its “Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health”, after an extensive consultation process, a commitment to open engagement with workers representatives and the promise of a real impact for workers.

What we have been given is more promotion of best practices, more money for communications and more uncertainty on the legal approach to workers protection.

Once again, we have a toothless initiative that is destined to fail.

Despite experts consistently reaffirming the need for the Commission to provide minimum standards on work-related psychological risks, we are often left reliant on luck.

“Awareness raising has not delivered results thus far, with no evidence that we are moving in the right direction. While the Commission has referenced a 'possible future EU initiative on psychosocial risks at work', for many workers it will come too late” – Nayla Glaise

Through our EndStress campaign, Eurocadres has worked with experts, trade unions and civil society to push for a directive that puts worker’s health first. From left to right, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee have agreed that a legislative approach is needed. Many Member States have given support to the proposal, with many more willing to have a conversation around what potential legislation could look like.

As it stands, the European Commission is not convinced.

The only legally binding text which includes psychosocial risks dates back to 1989, with the implementation of both agreements (2004 and 2007) which mention this topic being inconsistent according to ETUI. Where does this leave workers to turn?

With collective agreements giving a blueprint, willingness to work together from trade unions, civil society, experts and Member States, and evidence showing that only legal certainty provides guarantees for workers, we once again ask the Commission to re-evaluate.

If changes are not made, including the exploration of how legislation may offer a minimum level of protection to citizens throughout Europe, the Commission’s strategy is destined to be comprehensive in name only.