This is one of the key messages of the Quality Work for a Quality Life High-Level Conference. "Every euro invested in health and safety at work is repaid nearly twofold," said Minister Cigler in his address.
The conference is the main event organised by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities as part of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, as the Presidency has placed sustainable work at the forefront.
"The EU member states are committed to continuously improving the living and working conditions of their people, not only in words but also in action. Sustainable work can be achieved by investing in quality work environments and human capital, in particular by focusing on health and safety at work, developing skills, ensuring fair working conditions and improving the work-life balance," stressed Minister Cigler Kralj, adding, "Sustainable work is an important factor for a better quality of life and, consequently, for efficiency." Both are important goals, one could say even values, of modern society."
Christa Schweng, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, pointed out that life expectancy is increasing. Older workers are valuable to organisations because they are knowledgeable, reliable and loyal. "Economic progress must go hand in hand with fairness," she said.
The conference, co-funded by the European Commission as part of the Employment and Social Innovation Programme, was also attended by European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, who congratulated the Slovenian Presidency on the timely choice of the conference topic. He continued by saying, "The issue of quality of work and life is embedded in the context of resilience and recovery, as we want to create better conditions than before the pandemic," and stressed that technological development should be "at the service of people, not the other way around".
In the main part of the conference, renowned national and international experts presented their latest research and studies on sustainable work, health and safety at work in relation to the digital transition, the opportunities and risks of new forms of work, gender equality in labour markets in the digital era, skills for the future, the welfare economy and corporate social responsibility.
Representatives of social partners also presented their views on sustainable work. Minister Cigler Kralj underlined that social dialogue is key to ensuring sustainable work, saying, "I believe that sustainable work is the objective of all social partners."
The discussions helped to reinforce the belief that the challenges of the changing world of work, posed by technological progress, globalisation, climate change and the ageing of the population, will only be met by ensuring quality and sustainable working conditions and jobs for all.