LO Report \"Trends in the working environment 2007 - class and gender\"

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Continued deterioration of working environment conditions for LO women

The LO report “Trends in the working environment 2007 – class and gender”, which was tabled on November 19, shows that the working environment is deteriorating in all sectors of the labour market, but women within the service and trade sectors have been the most exposed. Besides, these are the women with the poorest access possibilities to occupational health service.

- On the whole, the picture is alarming, Ulla Lindqvist, LO Vice President, says.

Many of the members of the LO national unions stand, walk, carry and drag during most of their working day. Others have work tasks which are rigidly controlled and sit for the whole day at, for example, check-out counters or in vehicles. The work is often very intense and for many it is difficult to take a short break at work. Three out of four women workers within the public sector and the private service have few possibilities to take a short break.

The number of those with weekly pain in shoulders and arms has slowly increased among almost all groups since 1991.

- These observations show that we must have a sickness insurance which entitles people to be sick. Extensive efforts as regards rehabilitation measures are also needed, Ulla Lindqvist says.

The option to work daytime and weekdays is a question of class. Only one out of three women workers works only daytime and weekdays. Among professional employees four out of five work only weekdays and daytime.

The whole service sector is sustained by women who have insecure employment conditions and who work evenings, nights and weekends, Ulla Lindqvist states.

Solitary work has also increased. The risks increase when working odd hours. Workers within the public sector are those most exposed to threats and violence.

- The trend towards more solitary work has continued without questioning the ensuing perils. We are not of the opinion that it is natural to work alone evenings and nights, for example, in shops and gas stations. Considering the many perils associated with solitary work, society must take a more restrictive attitude towards solitary work, Ulla Lindquist concludes.