Health in Restructuring (HIRES). Recommendations, National Responses and Policy Issues in the EU
Restructuring has become a daily practice in both private and public sectors in the EU. But often restructuring processes fail to produce the intended effects of secured or increased organizational profi tability. On the contrary restructuring puts the physical and psychosocial health of all organizational members at risk. To limit the risks of enterprise restructuring effectively, several groups of actors at the individual, enterprise and societal level have to collaborate towards the implementation of healthier change procedures and to create a ‘social convoy” in occupational transitions for workers affected by dismissal. The European Expert Group HIRES on Health in Restructuring was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Thomas Kieselbach from the University of Bremen and supported by DG Employment of the European Commission. It presented with its report a concise overview of the effects of enterprise restructuring and the social frameworks and change procedures that should be considered for ‘healthier restructuring”. With its policy recommendations and the case studies of innovative approaches on a company and regional level the report addresses policy makers, governmental structures like labour inspectorates or federal institutes, unions, managers, occupational health and safety personnel, shareholders and workers alike. The public reception of the HIRES recommendations on Health in Restructuring was impressive all over Europe and across different institutions, stakeholders and professions. They were conceived before the economic crisis started but the development of the economies increased public awareness for the problems addressed in the HIRES report. It was disseminated on an international level within several scientifi c communities as well. The success of HIRES led to the follow-up project HIRES Plus (co-ordinated by Dr. Claude Emmanuel Triomphe (ASTREES, Paris) and Prof. Dr. Thomas Kieselbach, Bremen), which organized in 13 EU countries national workshops in order to increase awareness of main actors, discuss HIRES conclusions and to test them in the light of the national consultation process, discuss possible ways to include health as an issue when restructuring takes place and to develop networks at national and European levels.
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