Delivered Date
05 Oct 2015

At the 2015 ETUC Congress in Paris, Paul McCarthy GMB trade union, TUC delegation spoke on the activity report – health & safety section


President, Congress,

I share the ETUC’s concerns and criticism of the European Commission’s strategic framework for health & safety at work as being “utterly inadequate”.

It was drafted with the false assumption that health & safety policy is largely a “job done” at EU level.

We know it is not.

The strategy breaks the promise of the treaty commitment to make progress on improving the living and working conditions of eu citizens.

It has no ambition, no vision and fails to address many outstanding health & safety problems and risks that our members have to deal with on a daily basis.

My union has launched a campaign on one such outstanding issue, called “dying to work”.

It tackles the issue of the rights and protection of workers with terminal illness, who face being dismissed - even when they are capable of working - and denied the choice of how to spend their final months – maybe years - with dignity at work - stimulated, and with the normality associated with work as well as the friendship and support of colleagues which is so important to them.

Many are denied the financial benefits of death in service and life assurance payments, and financial security of an income for as long as this is possible.

The campaign was started by one of our members, Jacci, who found herself in just such a situation.

Her brave campaign has now moved from national to EU level, as we call for a European Parliament amendment to the health & safety strategy proposals to include protections for the terminally ill.

This is a sensitive issue, but one which we sense affects many workers and families across the EU, which is why we were keen to raise it here at congress.

We invite other unions who may be dealing with this issue to join us in the campaign so that we can share information and experience and build a momentum for improving the protections for all workers across Europe who find themselves in this vulnerable position at such a very difficult time.

The campaign can be found on the website at