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The trade union effect on health, safety and well-being at work in the 21st century: Findings from a secondary analysis of ESENER

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Title: The trade union effect on health, safety and well-being at work in the 21st century: Findings from a secondary analysis of ESENER


1
The trade union effect on health, safety and
well-being at work in the 21st century Findings
from a secondary analysis of ESENER
2
What this presentation is about
  • Evidence of worker representation on OHS from the
    European Survey of Enterprises on New and
    Emerging Risks (ESENER)
  • How it compares with what we already know and
    would expect to find
  • Challenges for sustaining the trade union effect

3
ESENER in brief
  • EU-wide (27 and Croatia, Norway, Switzerland and
    Turkey) establishment OHS survey on new and
    emergent risks (emphasis on psycho-social hazards
    of modern work organisation)
  • Managers and workers representatives in
    workplaces of all sizes except micro-enterprises
  • Nearly 36,000 telephone interviews with managers
    and worker representatives (over 7,000)

4
What we did
  • Examined the ESENER data for features of support
    and effects of worker involvement in the
    management of OSH
  • Used multivariate analyses to define a typology
    of establishments according to their
    characteristics determining worker involvement
  • Compared with existing research findings to
    explain the context of features found to have
    greatest influence on enterprises involvement of
    workers and their representatives in OHS
    management

5
What ESENER report says about worker
representation on OHS generally
  • Strong association between presence of
    arrangements for representation and measures of
    OHS management (Expected)
  • High levels of perceptions of effectiveness of
    representation on operation of these measures
    (Expected)
  • High level of involvement in OHS management
    measures such as risk assessment (Unexpected)
  • Strong support for representatives re time off
    to undertake functions and from training
    (Unexpected)
  • Some concerns about sufficient time/access to
    workers
  • Need for more training re psychosocial
    risks/bullying/ discrimination or ergonomics

6
ESENER and worker representation and
consultation on OHS (cont)
  • Our findings essentially describe what we might
    expect to
  • find where pre-conditions for representation
    exist. That is
  • Worker representation is more common in larger
    organisations and public sector.
  • More likely where management prioritises OHS, and
    the views of workers
  • Formal management of health and safety risks more
    likely (and perceived as more effective) in
    workplaces with worker representation high
    management commitment to OHS.

7
ESENER and worker representation and consultation
on OHS (cont.)
  • Psychosocial risk management more likely in these
    workplaces.
  • Also more likely to be effective where employees
    are involved. Latter is more likely where there
    is representation
  • Confirms that management of both traditional and
    psychosocial health and safety risks, and its
    effectiveness, more likely in workplaces in which
    workers representatives are supported by trades
    unions (eg training), and sufficient resources
    (eg time).

8
Workplace representation a reminder of a
success story of more than two decades
  • Hundreds of thousands of health and safety
    representatives
  • Increased demand for participative approaches to
    OHS management at regulatory and workplace levels
  • Greater engagement of inspectorate and OHS
    specialists
  • Strong evidence of improved OHS performance where
    trade union supported safety representatives are
    involved

9
Why - what makes things work?
  • Studies confirmed the support of
  • Regulatory provisions
  • Management commitment to better health and safety
    performance through participative arrangements
  • Workplace worker organisation
  • Support from trade unions outside workplaces
  • Well-trained and well- informed representatives.

10
But..nowadays ..
  • Increased unemployment
  • Weaker trades unions
  • Cut backs in government expenditure
  • Attacks on wider employment rights
  • Pay and pension cuts
  • Work intensification/reorganisation and
    restructuring
  • Issues of migration and informal/undocumented
    work
  • Increasingly extreme features of a
    well-established neo-liberal political and
    economic agenda in Europe
  • All make it more difficult to focus on OHS
    representation

11
For representation on OHS, challenges include .
  • Reduced union presence
  • Reduced regulatory inspection (in most countries
    and changes in others)
  • Reduced professional capacity (eg occupational
    hygiene, safety engineering)
  • New and emergent risks
  • Psychosocial
  • Restructuring hard-to-reach
  • All militate against the sustainability of the
    trade union effect

12
What is to be done? Some questions for for
union policy and support
  • How to provide continued support for worker
    health and safety representatives e.g. better
    time off and training?
  • How can worker representation effectively address
    new and emerging risks?
  • Development of wider understandings of
    occupational risks in the new economy
  • How to encourage their role as change agents
    outside of traditional employment relationship?
  • What is the role of representation on health and
    safety in trade union organising strategies?
  • What can be learned from good practice what is
    transferable to other sectors and countries?
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