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ETUC research reveals the fall in workplace inspections across Europe raises Covid-19 risks

Through . Published on 29 April 2021 à 9h09 - Update on 29 April 2021 à 9h09

A European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) study of 22 countries is raising alarm bells over the fall in the number of labor inspections being carried out across Europe (c.f. below). According to ILO data, since 2010, the number of annual visits by labor inspectors has fallen from 2.2 to 1.7 million, or a 20% fall in just over a decade. This situation coincides with the loss of more than 1,000 labour inspectors in the European Union and has ‘left workplaces less prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic,’ according to the confederation. ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said “It is a scandal that the number of workplace safety checks were at their lowest in a decade when Covid-19 struck. Labour inspections have been slashed across Europe as a result of austerity and that undoubtedly left workplaces less prepared for the pandemic and may have cost many lives.” More than a third of European countries currently no longer meet the ILO standard recommending one labour inspector per 10,000 workers. This reduction in inspectorate staff is particularly noticeable in Romania (-44%), the United Kingdom (-32%) and Portugal (-21%). Inspections, meanwhile, have become less frequent in at least 16 countries with Portugal and Malta equally hardest hit (-55% each), followed by Cyprus (-38%) and then Romania (-37%).

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