Dr. Sergio Romano, Psychology Psychotherapy, Psychodrama

European agreement on stress at work

European Agreement of 8 October 2004
(Agreement signed by CES – European sindacato; SINGLE-"Confindustria Europe"; UEAPME – European association of craft and SMEs; CEEP – European association of the companies owned by the public and of general economic interest)

Brussels 8 October 2004

1. Introduction
Work-related stress is considered, international, European and national, a problem both by the employers and the employees. Having identified the need for common action in relation to this specific issue and anticipating a consultation on stress by the Commission, The European social partners have included this theme in the work program of the social dialogue 2003-2005. Stress, virtually, can strike at any workplace and any worker, regardless of the size of the company, field of activity, the type of employment contract or employment relationship. In practice not all workplaces and not all workers are necessarily interested. Consider the problem of stress at work can mean greater efficiency and a significant improvement in health and safety at work, with consequent economic and social benefits for companies, workers and society as a whole. In considering work-related stress is essential to take account of the diversity that characterize workers.
2. Subject
The purpose of the agreement is to improve the awareness and understanding of work stress on the part of employers, workers and their representatives, drawing their attention to the symptoms that may indicate the onset of problems of work-related stress. The objective of this agreement is to provide employers and workers with a model in order to identify and prevent or manage problems of work-related stress. Its purpose is not to blame (impression vergognare) the individual compared to the stress. Recognizing that bullying and violence at work are potential stressors but that the work program 2003-2005 European social partners provides for the possibility of a specific bargaining on these issues, this Agreement does not deal with violence at work, nor soppraffazione at work, nor post-traumatic stress.
3. Description of stress and work-related stress
Stress is a state, which is accompanied by malaise and physical dysfunction, psychological or social, and it follows from the fact that people do not feel able to overcome the gap with the requirements or expectations towards them. The individual is able to react to the pressures to which it is subjected in the short term, and these can be considered positive (for the development of the individual himself-ndt), but faced with prolonged exposure to intense pressure he felt great difficulty in reaction. Also, different people may react differently to similar situations and the same person may, at different times in their lives, react differently to similar situations. Stress is not a disease but prolonged exposure to stress can reduce effectiveness at work and cause health problems. The stress induced by external factors to the work environment can lead to changes in behavior and reduce effectiveness at work. All manifestations of stress at work should not be considered caused by the work itself. Work-related stress can be caused by various factors such as the content and the organization of work, the working environment, a communication "poor", etc..
4. Identification of the problems of work-related stress
Given the complexity of the phenomenon of stress, This Agreement is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of potential indicators of stress. However, a high absenteeism or high staff turnover, frequent interpersonal conflicts or complaints by workers are some of the signs that may indicate the presence of work-related stress. The identification of a problem of work-related stress can occur through an analysis of factors such as the organization and work processes (scheduling of working, degree of autonomy, degree of coincidence between the requirements imposed by the labor and skills / knowledge workers, workload, etc..), the conditions and the working environment (exposure to illicit behavior, al rumore, the Calore, to hazardous substances, etc..), communication (uncertainty about the expectations of the job, employment prospects, a future change, etc..) and subjective factors ( emotional and social pressures, feeling of not being able to cope with the situation, perception of a lack of help, etc..): If the problem of work-related stress is identified, action must be taken to prevent, eliminate or reduce. The responsibility for establishing appropriate measures to be taken is up to the employer. These measures will be implemented with the participation and collaboration of workers and / or their representatives.
5. Responsibilities of employers and workers
According to the Framework Directive 89/391 (that which led to the 626- ndt), all employers are obliged by law to protect the safety and health of workers. This duty also applies to problems of work-related stress as they constitute a risk to health and safety. All workers have a general duty to comply with the security measures decided by the employer. The problems associated with stress can be dealt with in the context of the assessment of all risks, planning a corporate policy specifically dealing with stress and / or through specific measures tailored to each stressor identified.
6. Preventing, eliminate or reduce the problems of work-related stress
To prevent, eliminate or reduce these problems you can use a number of measures. These measures can be collective, individual or both together. You can introduce specific measures for each identified stressor or measures may fall within the framework of a European anti-stress that is both integrated and evaluated prior.
Where the company may not have sufficient expertise inside, may have recourse to external expertise in compliance with European and national laws, collective agreements and practices. Once you have defined, the anti-stress measures should be reviewed regularly to assess their effectiveness and whether optimally utilize the available resources and whether they are still appropriate or necessary. These measures may include, for example,:
• management measures and communication can clarify your business goals and the role of each worker, to ensure adequate support from the management to individuals and teams to work , to bring coherence responsibility and control over the work, to improve the organization, processes, the conditions and the working environment.
• training managers and workers to improve their awareness and understanding them against stress, its possible causes and the way in which face, and / or to adapt to change
• information and consultation of workers and / or their representatives, in accordance with European and national legislation, collective agreements and practices.
7. Implementation and control over time
In base all’art. 139 of this Treaty voluntary European framework agreement commits the members of UNICE / UEAPME, CEEP and the ETUC ( and the liaison committee EUROCADRES / CEC) to implement it in accordance with the procedures and practices to the social partners in the various Member States and European Economic Area countries . The signatories also invite their member organizations in candidate countries to implement this agreement. The implementation of this agreement will be carried out within three years from the date of its signature. Member organizations shall notify the implementation of the European social dialogue. During the first three years following the signing of the Social Dialogue Committee will prepare a yearly table summarizing the situation regarding the implementation of the Agreement. During the fourth year, the Committee will prepare a full report on the actions taken to implement the agreement. The signatories to evaluate and review the agreement at any time at the request of one of them after a period of five years from the date of signature. If you have questions about the content of the 'agreement affiliated organizations concerned may jointly or separately to the signatories who will answer them together or separately. In implementing this agreement, the members of the signatory organizations avoid imposing unnecessary burdens on SMEs. The implementation of this agreement shall not constitute valid grounds for reducing the general level of protection afforded to workers under this agreement. This agreement does not affect the right of social partners to conclude, at the appropriate levels, including at European level, agreements adapting and / or complementing this agreement in order to take into account the specific needs of the social partners concerned

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