Yolanda Díaz and Commissioner Schmit plead in Bilbao for a Europe with safer and healthier jobs


The Second Vice-President of the Government defended a Europe with safer and healthier jobs with the Commissioner of the European Union for Employment and Social Rights, Nicholas Schmit, with whom she also held a bilateral meeting in the framework of the Healthy Workplaces Summit.

In her speech at the summit, where she was also accompanied by the Basque Minister of Labor and Employment, Idoia Mendía, Vice-President Díaz was frank: “It is not possible to talk about global health in the place work if we don’t do it in a decent way, respecting the time of individuals and families”. According to her, the time of care is the great ethical duty of today’s society.

Social justice is a guarantee of health at work

Díaz and Schmit, who promoted the already approved directive on the minimum wage within the Union, agreed on the positive effects on health of measures such as the increase in the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI). “The fight against job insecurity is health, which is why the application of anti-discrimination policies cooperates in the construction of safe and healthy work ecosystems”, said Díaz, also indicating other legislative initiatives that also lead to social justice and decent work such as labor reform, due to its potential to reduce precariousness, or the royal decree-law that recognizes the right to prevention of domestic workers, until now excluded from this occupational risk prevention, among others.

Spanish strategy for safety and health at work

The Vice-President also pointed out that work is currently underway on the preparation of a new Spanish strategy for safety and health at work, in which the gender perspective will play a leading role and the concept of technological health will be deepened, which addresses the problems posed by certain digital professions where the limits of disconnection, working hours or even intimacy are blurred.

“Workplace mental health is the great challenge of the 21st century,” insisted the minister, who advocated building business environments that respect and dignify all workers,” said the minister, who encouraged agents to close this new strategy as soon as possible.

Campaign “Healthy Workplaces: Let’s Loosen the Burdens”

The summit in Bilbao, headquarters of EU-OSHA, focuses on musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs, a campaign that for two years has been promoting prevention in companies to reduce the incidence of these disorders. According to the figures processed by this agency, approximately three out of five workers in the EU declare having suffered this type of deterioration of the muscles, joints or tendons.

This condition, which is one of the most frequent causes of invalidity, absence from work or pre-retirement, is not only due to physical risk factors, but can also be influenced by psychosocial elements such as job insecurity, an excessive workload or the lack of boundaries between work and personal life when telecommuting.

Bilateral meeting with Commissioner Schmit

The directive on digital platforms and the prevention of accidents at work were two of the issues that were discussed during the bilateral meeting the minister had with Schmit.

“When a worker dies on the job, the system fails,” said the minister, after recalling the 613 fatalities recorded in Spain. Díaz indicated that criminal offenses related to the labor field will be dealt with with the Ministry of Justice, since there are enormous difficulties in investigating them. “The reality of the world of work today has nothing to do with the society in which these criminals were designed,” he explained.

Likewise, the Vice-President and the Commissioner spoke about how to move forward on the social economy and on the European social agenda in the coming year, when Spain assumes the presidency of the EU during the second semester. “We must intensify our efforts to keep moving forward in the social Europe we want”, insisted Díaz at the end of the meeting.

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