COTANCE and industriALL European Trade Union, European partners for the tanning and leather sector, held a workshop entitled ‘Workplace Safety in European Tanneries: State of Play’ at the latest edition of the international trade show Lineapelle in Milan between 19 and 21 September. The workshop, developed as part of the EU-funded social dialogue project ‘Towards Zero Adverse Impact of the European Leather Industry – GREEN DEAL LEATHER’, brought together national bodies, including employers, Acexpiel (ES), APIC (PT), FFTM (FR), FVTBSL (AT), MKSZ (HU), UNIC (IT), VDL (DE) and trade union representatives from Italy (UILTEC, Femca-Cisl and Filctem-Cgil) and Spain (CCOO and UGT FICA), as well as other interested parties.
he event was opened by Manuel Rios, President of COTANCE, who said: “Our common ambition is to drive positive change in the global leather industry by ‘leading by example’. The present report pulls together all sector-specific information on tannery workplace accidents in Europe to better understand them and draw lessons for improved workplace safety in tanneries.” COTANCE’s Secretary General, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, explained the context, objectives and rationale of the Green Deal Leather project, emphasising: “Since COTANCE started the social sectoral dialogue with its trade union counterparts some 25 years ago, workers’ health and safety has always been at the top of our agenda. We understand that this concern ought to be the first priority when it comes to implementing due diligence in leather supply chains, as any accident at the workplace is irremediably a failure, with adverse consequences, above all, for the victim, but also for the employer.” The workshop provided an exceptional forum for the exchange of information and best practices concerning the reporting and communication of health and safety risks across the leather supply chain, as well as their management within tanneries.
Judith Kirston-Darling, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe said: “Quality social dialogue is essential to ensure a safe tanning and leather sector in Europe. We encourage all employers to produce relevant data on occupational health and safety issues and to work closely with workers and their representatives at site level to ensure that all workers are properly trained, and that adequate health and safety measures are fully respected by both sides. By working together in an open and positive manner, we can eliminate accidents in the workplace and keep workers safe.”