Symbolic "protective helmet" for millions of workers and their families

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Miroslav HAJNOS
Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic

Many workers wear a safety helmet at work. It is a key factor in preventing potential risks of injury, especially when working at heights, in the construction industry, warehouses, demolition work or other risky environments.

People in Italy and Finland are familiar with such "protective equipment". In relation to the current coronavirus pandemic, trade union members and employee representatives are a symbolic "protective helmet" for millions of workers and their families.

Who will an employee contact at the workplace in case of need? Their trade union leader of course. Who will they seek advice from? A trade union leader. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, trade unions at all levels have been the first point of contact, a source of information and support and, more importantly, they have always supported and protected people.

Many measures adopted by national institutions must be implemented not only at the workplace but also in everyday life. Without the involvement of trade unions, implementing these measures and regulations would be very difficult.

Pandemic health-related measures adopted to protect employee health were in many cases proposed by trade union representatives who know the real situation at the local level very well.

In countries with a high number of workers organised in trade unions, national governments experience easier communication, with society-wide consensus and support.

The engagement of organised civil society, trade unions and employers is a very important approach in the fight against the pandemic and its economic and social impact. The European Economic and Social Committee is a symbolic "European helmet" for citizens, as this platform gathers people from the real world under one roof, trying to reach a common agreement. The EU can handle the post-pandemic challenges only through social consensus, which can be achieved by the EESC.