In a recent “explanatory” publication on better regulation, the Commission openly mocks the ongoing efforts of social partners to implement a European Framework Agreement on health and safety in the hairdressing sector.
The Commission, repeating its mantra of “The EU must not be big on small things” alongside with two images, one of them being a hairdresser cutting hair and a pair of high-heeled shoes – crossed out, has misinformed the public and has shown its true vision with regard to the promotion of occupational health and safety.
Irrespective of the fact that the graphic in the publication is incorrect (the agreement does not mention high-heeled shoes), it’s extremely worrying that the Commission puts into question its own ongoing legislative process and spends resources to divulge erroneous information. These images belittle the serious health and safety risks faced by the, workers in the sector, who are mostly female.
Coiffure EU and UNI Europa fail to see how the protection of workers from work-related diseases, can be interpreted as a “small thing”, not worthy of the Commission’s attention. The publication puts into question the Commission’s commitment to the promise it made last March, namely to relaunch the social dialogue and give it priority. The publication gives a contrary signal whereby Occupational Health and Safety is seen as red tape that ought to be cut.
UNI Europa and Coiffure EU have sent a joint letter on 16 November to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen requesting that they officially retract the graphic on hairdressers from the publication.
The TUC blogged that the European Commission put its foot in it! The TUC rightly points out: “It is grossly insulting for the Commission to use its resources to, not only peddle a myth (that an agreement was about high heels), but also imply that the health of this group is not important and worthy of the Commissions time.”
Additionally, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) expressed its concern on the Commission’s publication. In their public statement, EADV ask the EU Commission to officially retract these images from their publication. EADV has supported the signature of the referred to agreement and is adamant that “Occupational health and safety is under no circumstance “small” and it is the Commission’s responsibility to stay “big” on the issue.”
Elke Zander, Communications Officer, UNI Europa