Occupational health and safety a fundamental right at work

Addition to four existing rights adopted in landmark decision.

Copyright: ripess.eu
Copyright: ripess.eu

Last week the International Labour Conference (ILC) – the UN’s parliament for workplace issues, consisting of delegations of trade unions, employers representatives and government officials from all Member States, adopted to include occupational health and safety (OSH) as a fundamental principal and right at work. The decision increases the number of rights adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), adding to the 1998 adoptions of:

  1. Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
  2.  The elimination of forced or compulsory labour.
  3.  The abolition of child labour.
  4.  The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Reacting to the news, Eurocadres President Nayla Glaise commented:

– "We welcome the ILO’s adoption of OSH as a fundamental principle and right at work. Workers have been on the frontline of work organisation that places their health at risk for far too long, this change is overdue and badly needed. We now need ratification and implementation at a country level".

This move is a milestone for workers, ensuring that their health is rightly placed as a top priority within work organisation. Crucially, this move will include not only physical health but also mental, taking positive action to address Europe’s mental health epidemic.

A longstanding demand of trade unions, the challenge will now become to ensure that more countries ratify and adopt ILO health and safety conventions, guaranteeing sufficient rights for workers both in Europe and further afield.