Three hundred participants at the UNI Europa Women’s Conference have voiced their support for the new UNI Europa Better Regulation campaign, which focuses on the health and safety of European hairdressers.
Hairdressers are 10x more likely than other workers to develop skin diseases and 5x more likely to develop musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis and tendinitis. 20% of hairdressers develop work-related asthma, and workers are regularly exposed to chemicals that could be carcinogenic.
But regardless of these figures and an existing agreement between the social partners of the sector, the European Commission’s Health and Safety Strategy totally lacks binding proposals or necessary legislation, effectively holding the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of, mostly young and female, workers hostage.
For years, the Commission has belittled the agreement on hairdressers health and safety – first Barroso‘s Commission and now Juncker‘s. “The EU must not be big on small things,” they say, and knowingly accept that each day that they stall progress, more and more hairdressers develop work-related diseases.
All of this happens under the mantra of “Better Regulation” which, unions say, is holding back social and employment policies. It makes EU decision-making less democratic, adds red tape and works in the favour of big business – and against people. It impedes progress when it comes to the protection of European workers, particularly that of hairdressers.
The UNI Europa Women’s Conference agreed to participate in the UNI Europa Better Regulation-it really isn’t! campaign, and called out to the European Commission: “Hairdressers’ health and safety is not a small thing!”