Environment, quality and security: workers and innovation

On 28 and 29 October 2018, FEDER Agri (National Agriculture Development Federation) – in collaboration with EZA, European Centre for Workers’ Questions, and MCL, Christian Workers’ Movement, with the assistance of the European Union – promoted an international seminar of European studies in Padua. The theme of the seminar was "Environment, quality and security: workers and innovation".

Two days of an intense debate that was attended by over 70 representatives of workers’ organizations coming from Austria, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, Poland, Cyprus and Italy. During the working sessions, the speakers included distinguished lecturers, including the President of the MCL, Carlo Costalli, who opened the work on the first day expressing how the knowledge and dissemination of a culture of safety in the workplace, in view of the many misfortunes that take place, is one of moral obligations and civil codes of a nation’s evolution. After that, addresses were made by the Secretary General of FEDER AGRI, Alfonso Luzzi, who argued particularly on the implementation of protective and preventive measures addressed by the current regulations, pursuant to protect the health and safety of its users. The other speakers who took part in the first session were Sigrid Schraml, Secretary-General of EZA, Meenakshi Prosperoni, of Coldiretti and the Councillor for Agriculture in the Veneto region, Giuseppe Pan.

Indeed, the second day was very productive and very interesting, thanks to the depositions of many distinguished speakers, who exposed during the morning, both generally and in particular, regarding the challenges and problems that the agricultural world of their countries of origin were currently facing.

Topics covered:

The most treated theme, especially during the work of the main roundtable panel, was related with the general situation of European agricultural realities, particularly analysing the worker’s safety issue, and pointing out how the European Union and its own policies produced a decrease in the cases of work-related health decline. Compliance with environmental obligations represents an opportunity and a development factor for its agricultural enterprises, and EU commitment in the agricultural sector can really be a challenge with regard to food security, resource scarcity, respect for the environment and those actors who are involved most directly. In Europe, the agricultural sector employs about 12 million people, and that is why it is necessary to consider agriculture as a key sector for a sustainable economy, accompanied by the contribution of social dialogue.

Conclusions:

The lectures focused on the need to achieve a more coordinated and harmonised new model, focused on more intense social dialogue. The rapporteurs, in particular, have shown the need to open up a season of more effective social partnership at a European level, in order to govern the agricultural market more effectively. Therefore, proposals were made, within the scope of a desirable European bargaining, through which extremely uneven conditions may be harmonized, and whereby innovative security process need to be stimulated and supported. Alongside these themes, the need for action and involvement of all intermediary organisations was also underlined. Of course, as has been pointed out by various parties, there should be greater European cohesion regarding the topic of the environment and workers’ safety, by ensuring that social dialogue between the different actors in the agricultural sector can take place, including the signature of micro and macro agreements.

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