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C 232/4 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 24.7.



(98/C 232/04)

(adopted unanimously less one abstention during the 340th Session of 25 June 1998)

1. Introduction 1.4.ÙThe recent important changes in the construction
of Europe, in particular the introduction of a
social chapter in the Amsterdam Treaty, call for
a critical and constructive review of the
1.1.ÙThe Commission’s proposal to merge the Safety experience gained through dialogue and of the
and Health Commission for the Mining and bodies set up for this purpose among the social
other Extractive Industries with the Advisory partners in the European Union.
Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health
Protection at Work, as set out in the Community
programme 1996-2000Ø(Î), has not yet been
1.5.ÙThe Safety and Health Commission has a wealth
of solid, highly productive experience behind it
and has worked unceasingly and to good effect
1.2.ÙThe Consultative Committee has already to improve safety conditions in the extractive
expressed its opposition to this proposal, in a industries by developing technically sound
resolution adopted unanimously at its 328th working practices.
Session on 14 March 1996Ø(Ï).

1.3.ÙThe Safety and Health Commission was set up as 2. The sectoral aspect of this social dialogue
long ago as 6 September 1956 and 10 May 1957,
at the 36th and 42nd sessions of the Council of
MinistersØ(Ð). A clear, detailed mandate giving it
the right of initiative was conferred upon it under 2.1.ÙA critical review of European-level advisory
a Council Decision adopted at the 44th session bodies suggests that the more sharply they focus
on 9 July 1957Ø(Ñ). It originally covered coal on sectoral aspects the more effective they are.
mines only but later, under the Council Decision This would appear to be a logical consequence of
of 27 June 1974, its scope was extended to all the the principle of subsidiarity.
extractive industriesØ(Ò).

The Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and 2.2.ÙUnlike the advisory bodies set up under the
Health Protection at Work was set up under the ECSC Treaty, which were necessarily sectoral,
Council Decision of 27 June 1974Ø(Ó) to help the later ones such as the Advisory Committee on
Commission prepare activities in the relevant Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work,
fields and put them into effect. Whereas the have cut across sectors.
Safety and Health Commission has a highly
specific mandate, the Advisory Committee’s remit
is very general, namely to help the Commission
prepare and put into effect activities for which it
is responsible. 2.3.ÙAt a time when the characteristics of the social
dialogue of the future are up for discussion, it is
appropriate to bear in mind that Community
experience over many years has shown such a
dialogue to be most effective and productive
(Î)ÙCOM(95) 282 final. when it focuses on a specific sector of activity
(Ï)ÙOJ C 138, 9.5.1996. and develops within a single forum, at different
(Ð)ÙOJ 487, 31.8.1957. levels and dealing with various subjects ranging
(Ñ)ÙOJ 487, 31.8.1957. from market trends, research and innovation to
(Ò)ÙOJ L 185, 9.7.1974. training, the safety and health of workers and the
(Ó)ÙOJ L 185, 9.7.1974. social aspects of restructuring.
24.7.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 232/5

3. The need to maintain the specific nature of the Safety 4. Conclusion
and Health Commission
The ECSC Consultative Committee
3.1.ÙAlthough the Safety and Health Commission is
based on the general Treaty and does not
therefore depend directly on the ECSC Treaty
Commission that, despite the expiry of the ECSC
for its existence, there are several reasons why it
Treaty under which it was set up, it would be
needs to continue its activities in both the short
desirable for the Safety and Health Commission
and the long term.
for the Mining and other Extractive Industries to
continue as an independent body;
3.2.ÙThe first harmonised European statistics on
accidents at work indicate that, even though
enormous progress has been made, working 4.2.Ùconsequently ASKS the European Commission to
conditions in coal mines and in the extractive prevent the Safety and Health Commission from
industries in general are still much harsher than disappearing in a merger with the Advisory
in most other sectors of production and the risks Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health
inherent in this particularly hostile working Protection at Work;
environment are still greater.
4.3. RECOMMENDS that, with a view to possible
3.3.ÙMoreover, the working conditions in coal mines future rationalisation, the Safety and Health
and in the extractive industries in general are so Commission continue in existence as a specific,
specific that they have led to specific legislation independent body even if it has to be linked from
in most Member States of the European Union. an operational point of view with the Advisory
Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health
Protection at Work;
3.4.ÙThe need to pass on specific work experience to
both young workers in mines where many
experienced workers have been made redundant 4.4. WISHES TO MAKE THE POINT that this type of
during periods of drastic restructuring and to structure, namely an operational relationship
workers in countries applying to join the Union between one or more specific groups which
makes it vital to use instruments of dialogue such create their own momentum and a more general
as the Safety and Health Commission to enable body, might serve as a model for an effective
improvements in working conditions arising from tie-up between the sectoral aspects in other
past experience to be incorporated gradually into branches of industry and the multi-sectoral
the Single European Market. aspects at Union level.