Informal Meeting of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs hosted by the Latvian EU Presidency

Expanding the outreach and impact of OSH standards in micro and small enterprises

The Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union identified the issue of occupational safety and health (OSH) in micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as a topic for the Informal Ministerial Meeting (IMM). The IMM created a forum to share good practices and ideas on how to improve OSH in MSEs. Based on the participants’ interventions, several key messages and priorities were identified as a basis for future work and actions.

The 2015 IMM followed a tradition according to which the holder of the rotating presidency of the EU Council organises during the International Labour Conference (ILC) an informal meeting of labour and social affairs ministers to discuss and share good practices and experiences on a theme falling within the remit of the ILO.

The strategic and technical framework for the 2015 IMM was a result of extensive consultation between the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the ILO and was informed by both their mandated and key priorities. It built on the work of the EU and the ILO in several areas as well as on the work of other international fora, such as the G20 and the G7, where the EU and the ILO played an important role and provided tremendous support in keeping the topic of OSH high in their agenda.

Given this context, the 2015 IMM served as a good opportunity for the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU to bring together ministries of labour and social affairs from the following countries: France, Georgia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey and the USA. In addition, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, the ILO Director General and its Deputy participated, alongside with international social partners’ representatives (the ITUC and the IOE).

The 2015 IMM aimed at:
a) exchanging experiences and good practices on effective ways and strategies, including new technologies and innovative tools, to expand the outreach and impact of OSH in MSEs;
b) providing valuable inputs to international, regional and national current and future efforts and work in the field of improving working environment in SMEs, including the General discussion for the 105th Session (2016) of the ILC on “Decent Work in global supply chains” and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals under the post-2015 UN exercise.