Walkouts and strike threats: Europe's outdoor workers struggle under the blistering heat wave

Many outdoor workers are struggling in the heat wave.

Walkouts and strike threats: Europe's outdoor workers struggle under the blistering heat wave


Many outdoor workers are finding it difficult to endure the heat as a large part of southern Europe continues to be sweltered by a deadly heatwave.

Workers in some cities are walking out of their jobs, or threatening to do so if they don't get better protection and more tolerant working conditions.

Garbage collectors in Rome have threatened to quit their jobs if forced to work at the height of the heat.

Rome and Naples public transportation workers are calling for mandatory air-conditioned vehicles as many city buses do not have air conditioning.

The Italian health ministry has held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the need for new protocols to be developed to protect employees from extreme heat when they are working outside during daylight hours.

Health Minister Marina Calderone stated Thursday that 'we are closely following the evolution and impacts of the climatic conditions on the working and production environment in Italy: Health and safety at the workplace are our priorities'.

Workers at the Acropolis, Athens' top tourist attraction, protested against their working conditions in Greece. The country is currently suffering from intense heat and wildfires.

A union that represents staff at archaeological sites including the Acropolis has announced a daily four-hour strike from Thursday to Sunday.

The union stated that its members had been working under extreme heat for the past few weeks and "tried to complete our tasks despite the hazardous conditions." The union said that 20 visitors to the Acropolis fainted because of the heat.

The Acropolis was closed for large portions of the day last Friday and the weekend due to the heat. However, it reopened Monday after temperatures dropped slightly.

The Greek authorities have announced that the Acropolis, and other archaeological sites, will once again be re-evaluated, due to the impending heat wave.

The country's Meteorological Service has warned that temperatures could reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 Celsius) in certain parts of Greece over the weekend.

Heat is one of nature's most deadly hazards. It's often called a "silent killer" because it's invisible but can be deadly. The most vulnerable are those who spend long periods of time outdoors.

The death of a 44 year old road construction worker in Lodi, a northern Italian city, brought this into stark focus.

Heat exposure can have a variety of health effects, from heatstroke to chronic diseases that are less visible. This is especially true when the temperature and humidity are high, as well as when heavy work is involved.

He told CNN that 'heat under climate changes is not a sudden shock for most people, but a daily emergency. It's a creeping crises of disease, fatigue, and reduced productivity'.

Kristina Dalh, a climate researcher with the Union of Concerned Scientists said that employers could take simple steps. Dahl, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that employers can take simple measures to protect their employees' health during extreme heat events.

Despite this, some experts claim that many countries are not prepared to deal with extreme heat.

The European Trade Union Institute published a report that found no European Union country had done enough to combat the effects of rising temperatures on health, safety and wellbeing of workers, as well as their productivity.

The report stated that 'at present, employers are inaction towards large groups of workers, and authorities continue to ignore the dangers of extreme heat during heatwaves'.

The report also said that extreme heat reveals a deep division in the workplace, between those who are forced to work outside and those who can retreat into air-conditioned offices.

Heat stress is a reflection and exaggeration of social inequality. It said that heat is a common occupational risk for low-skilled manual workers, who are characterized by low wages and physical labor.

Experts warn that as the world continues to burn coal and emit pollution that warms up our planet, heat waves and extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent, more severe, and even more deadly.

Nature Medicine published a study in which it found that the European heatwave of last year caused nearly 62,000 deaths. Italy suffered the most deaths with over 18,000 people.

Without effective adaptation plans, Europe may face 94,000 premature deaths every summer by 2040.

Parsons stated that many workers in the global supply chains will be vulnerable to climate changes impacts such as heat. Parsons said that a future climate policy must take seriously the dangers workers face in global industries, from garments and construction to clothing.