Eurowatch: employment rights for the disabled

The mainstreaming of disability
issues in all policy formation is a key recommendation of the report, Towards a
barrier-free Europe for people with disabilities.

The promotion of a
non-discrimination culture was also strongly emphasised, and the report has
already been adopted by the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs
Committee. It will be put to the vote of the plenary session in Strasbourg this
month.

Thirty-seven million
Europeans are affected by disability and unemployment is almost three times
higher than average.

Target areas for
action are:

– Equal treatment –
beyond employment

– Financial – support
to enable people with disabilities to participate in all community programmes

– Action plan – to
involve them in the information society

– Evaluation of
research already carried out

A note of interest:
2003 has been named Year of the Disabled Citizen.

Campaign targets work
safety

The Bilbao-based
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has announced an information
campaign, designed to cut the number of work-related accidents, to run until
October 2001. The end of the campaign will be marked by the European Week of
Safety and Health at Work, with the message that most accidents can be
prevented by good management practice and adherence to existing European
directives on safety at work.

A good practice award
scheme will recognise innovative practical solutions for the prevention of
accidents at work. There is a comprehensive information pack available in 11
languages and a multilingual website: http://osha.eu.int/ew2001

Strategy to free-up
labour

A two-stage commission
strategy to free up labour markets was proposed to the Stockholm Summit in
March.

Concentrating on
skills, mobility, information and transparency, the strategy is in keeping with
employers’ concerns on skills barriers and the skills gap, addressing issues
such as recognition of professional qualifications, proficiencies acquired at
work and lifelong learning.

Action includes a
comprehensive strategy to remove barriers to services. There will be a
communication on obstacles caused by tax systems to the cross-border provision
of supplementary pensions.

The challenge to the
mobility of particular groups, such as researchers, students, trainers and
teachers as well as migrant workers and third-country nationals are all cited.

Action to look out for
is a one-stop European Mobility Information site and a Mobility Information
Campaign. There will also be a high-level skills and mobility taskforce set up
as stage two of the strategy with a 2002 Action Plan being launched.

Date to note: 17 May 2001 – Brussels, the
European Human Resources Network meets European Commission DGV to discuss
European competition policy and employment.

The workshop will
examine corporate diversity with emphasis on career planning and progression.

By Susan Gibas secretary general of
the European Human Resource Network, a cross-sectoral information network for
European employers and HR strategists dealing with issues of employment and the
labour market in Europe. Contact sue@gibas.be

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