The 1st Seminar of the joint project between the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) and the European Panel Federation (EPF) Perspectives and Challenges of the Woodworking Industries in Europe, took place on 7 December 2017, in Oporto. It was hosted by the Portuguese Association of Wood and Furniture Industries, AIMMP, member of CEI-Bois.
The project focuses on challenges faced and solutions offered by the Woodworking Industries and aimed at developing common opinion and deriving recommendations to the companies and workers involved, so that a real practical on-the-ground effect of this project can be measured in five years’ time.
This first seminar focused on two main issues, formaldehyde and working conditions. In the morning session the European Commission’s DG Employment representative Mrs. Karola Grodzki made an intervention on the issue of the protection of workers against occupational cancer and the Commission’s proposals to amend Directive 2004/37/EC and related aspects.
Through the seminar, the formaldehyde challenge brought together individuals, trade union representatives, employers and workers, committed to find a better way to work and address the issue. This proved to be a good approach in facing the current and future challenges. The parties are considering to have a joint declaration on how to act further and agree on a potential European action guide on formaldehyde for use in all concerned factories. Partners agreed that the seminar had been very successful and had started an important and necessary debate.
Here are the points that were highlighted through the fruitful exchanges:
• Working conditions can be improved and especially the exposure to formaldehyde can be reduced in many ways, preferably by technical solutions
• The lack of skilled workers in the Woodworking Industries and the need to motivate the young generations.
• The Woodworking Industries are facing new challenges and risks, it is therefore necessary to develop adaptability.
• At the end of the day, workers and employers have the same aim, their cooperation and dialogue should always be promoted, supported and enhanced; this collaboration is fundamental to healthy Woodworking Industries.
• The Woodworking Industries are environment-friendly and sustainable. Wood is versatile and can be used everywhere, it is a beautiful material to live with! The project will continue with a second seminar taking place in the second half of 2018 and which will focus on perspectives and challenges of the Woodworking Industries in a globalized economy and their image and sector attractiveness for young generations.