Labour MEPs win assurances on blacklisting of trade union activists - 2012-07-12
The European Commission has said that it will ensure that workers' health and safety reps are not put at a disadvantage by employer's in future Europe-wide legislation.
In answer to a question from MEP Glenis Willmott, Leader of the Labour MEPs, the EU Commissioner for Employment, László Andor, said last Thursday (5th July) that as part of its upcoming review of health & safety legislation, the European Commission will ensure that EU law is being followed and that workers' health and safety reps are not being put at a disadvantage by employers.
However, Glenis has also called for a positive statement that the Commission will specifically address the extent of blacklisting in the EU.
Glenis Willmott explained: "The practice of 'blacklisting' – where workers may be refused employment by employers across the whole sector – still exists. The EU Commissioner for Employment, László Andor, admitted in an earlier answer to me that the Commission is aware that some employers continue to blacklist workers."
By 2015, the European Commission must carry out a review of the implementation of EU health and safety legislation across member states. In a Parliamentary Question, Glenis asked the Commission to confirm whether this review would look at blacklisting of workers' health and safety reps, a practice which is illegal under EU law.
Glenis Willmott added: "Commissioner Andor confirms that the review will address the issue of protection for trade unionists and workforce representatives who deal with health and safety on behalf of their colleagues."
"He also confirms that if the review does find that blacklisting remains a problem, then the Commission will ensure that national governments apply 'dissuasive, effective and proportionate penalties' to infringers."
"However, he only says that the Commission “may consider looking at blacklisting,” leaving himself room to backtrack on the issue. Given the abuses we have seen recently, I want an absolute commitment from the Commission that they will do all in their power to outlaw entirely the blacklisting of workers whose only crime has been to defend the safety of their colleagues in the workplace."
Glenis Willmott originally took up the issue of blacklisting on behalf of a constituent and member of the building trades union UCATT and has made some headway. At the end of 2011, the European Parliament demanded an end to the blacklisting of employees through tougher sanctions for offending employers.
- For further information or an interview with Glenis contact Paddy Casswell on 07973 736003 or David Poyser on 00 32 479790053
- Glenis’ most recent Parliamentary Question can be found here and the recent response from Commissioner Andor can be found here.
- Glenis' earlier question submitted in March this year can be found here, and the answer from the Commissioner here.
- For further background to this story go to http://www.gleniswillmott.eu/another-step-towards-ending-blacklisting-of-workers-but-there-is-still-much-further-to-go/ and http://www.gleniswillmott.eu/a-step-in-the-right-direction-for-ending-blacklisting-of-workers/