NICOSIA - While just over half of Cypriot workers perceive working conditions to be good (54%) a majority (75%) think they have deteriorated in the last five years, according to a Eurobarometer survey.
The survey looks at how the quality of work has been affected by the financial crisis. It was carried out in the 28 member states with 26,571 respondents from different social and demographic groups.
Participants were interviewed via telephone in their mother tongue.
The survey showed that 53% of European workers feel the working conditions in their country to be good and 57% that their working conditions have deteriorated in the last five years.
Although most workers are satisfied with their own working conditions -77% on average in the EU - there is a very wide disparity across member states, ranging from 94% in Denmark to 38% in Greece.
Generally, most employees in Cyprus (79%) express high levels of satisfaction with their working hours (80% in the EU) and life-work balance (73%).
The results of the Eurobarometer will feed in to discussions on current and future prospects for EU action in the field of working conditions in Brussels on April 28.
“Protecting and promoting working conditions in the EU is about taking care of our human capital,” said EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor.
“But there is a fear also, and a real risk, that working conditions will suffer in the wake of the economic crisis.
“Together with member states and employee and employer organisations, we need to renew our efforts to preserve and improve working conditions,” he added.
Findings indicate that there is room for improvement, especially in the areas of work intensity where there has been an increase.
Stress clearly emerges as the most important perceived risk at work by 51% in Cyprus and 53% in the EU.
In addition, dissatisfaction regarding workload, pace of work and long working days (more than 13 hours) is more widespread than other issues such as lack of interest in the tasks or inadequate rest periods on a weekly or annual basis.
Regarding work organisation, in relation to work-life balance, 40% of respondents declare that they are not offered the possibility to use flexible working arrangements.
In the area of health and safety at work, less than one in three workers declared that there are measures in place at their workplace to address emerging risks (for example caused by nanotechnologies or biotechnology), or directed to older and chronically ill workers.
Together with stress, poor ergonomics is perceived as one of the most important risks at work, with 26% respondents in Cyprus and 28% in the EU identifying repetitive movements and tiring or painful positions as a main health and safety risk in their workplace, and 20% in Cyprus lifting, carrying or moving loads on a daily basis.