Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 338

MEPs deeply concerned about looming social and employment crisis due to COVID-19

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 14 maggio 2020

MEPs on Thursday discussed the social and economic impact of the COVID-19-pandemie and its consequences on the workplace with the Directors of EU-OSHA and Eurofound.Opening the discussion held within the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, committee chair Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (ECR, SK) raised the issue of the hundreds of thousands seasonal – and cross border workers in the EU who are in a specifically vulnerable situation in the context of the COVID-19-crisis. The Chair has written to the European Labour Authority to inquire if the Agency has information on the alleged failures to correctly apply and implement the relevant EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination by the member states concerned and if they have data on the numbers of the cross border workers concerned.
Executive Director of European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) Dr. Christa Sedltaschek presented EU-OSHA guidance for businesses and workers on how to prevent and slow the spread of the coronavirus at workplaces and support their safe and healthy return to work. Dr Sedltaschek also presented research on biological agents and work-related diseases as well as guidance to make home-based telework as healthy, safe and effective as possible
Various Members paid tribute to the frontline workers and pointed to the specifically difficult situation of health care workers. They asked what EU-OSHA could do to avoid long-term mental health issues caused by the COVID-19-crisis and wanted to know if the agency recommends including mental health for health care workers in the new occupational and health strategy. Other MEPs underlined the need for more data on mental health disorders and the impact of teleworking on occupational health.
Members also wanted to find out more about the data collected on the measures taken in the member states to resume economical activities, and if this is being done in a way to protect all workers. EU-OSHA could act as a facilitator and disseminate best practices, they said.Many MEPs asked for more details on the situation of cross border, seasonal and posted workers and expressed concern about unsafe working and living conditions, especially because these workers were often already faced with precarious conditions before the coronavirus-outbreak.On the Biological Agents Directive, several members wanted to know in which category Covid-19 would be classified.
Eurofound Executive Director Juan Menéndez-Valdés presented the first findings of the large-scale online survey “Living, working and COVID-19” conducted in the EU and beyond to which over 85,000 respondents participated so far.The survey shows that 60 % of respondents are experiencing feelings of insecurity and fear of losing their job.Members underlined that the COVID-19-pandemic and the measures taken to curb its spread have severely affected the way people live and work, affecting their physical and mental well-being in a profound way. Almost all Europeans are feeling the far-reaching and lasting consequences in different sectors of the economy, in the form of job and income losses or significantly modified working conditions.Members wanted to know which specific groups of workers need special protection and support. They stressed the importance of social dialogue and special measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable people in society, such as people with disabilities, children and elderly people.MEPs underlined the difficult situation of platform workers and the self-employed.Questions were also asked regarding the monitoring of the digitalisation of services and work. MEPs underlined that digitalisation must be user-friendly so that no one is left behind, with special attention for the elderly.

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