Workers' Memorial Day 2003
Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries (TAVOI) is to use the image of the kapok flower as the 28 April logo.
The kapok trees are also known as "tree of heros", the blood-like image of kapok blossoms is like the real blood of occupational injuries.
Moreover, the falling flowers make the circle of life The kapok
trees, which can be used as materials to make clothes, highlight
the "nameless heroes" that work behind the scene of the "economic
miracle in Taiwan", many of which are killed or injuried at work.
Workers' Memorial Day 2002
Taiwan: Workers Memorial Day becomes official
The Congress of Taiwan has officially adopted 28 April as the International Day of Mourning. The "Protection Act for Occupational Accidents Victims" will come into force on 28 April 2002, making Taiwan the fourth country after Canada, Spain, and Thailand to adopt an official day to commemorate victims of workplace conditions.
A national press conference, Art Exhibition and Seminar with the Council of Labor Affairs will be organised to accompany the 28 April enactment. In November 2001, the international union confederation ICFTU adopted the following themes for the 7th International Commemoration Day (28 April 2002): "Improving Public Health through Stronger Health and Safety" and the following sub-theme: "Safety Tackling HIV/AIDS Through Workplace Actions For Public Health", with an accent on "Workplace Monitoring and Inspection systems".
National union confederations will also be following their own themes. In the UK, the Trades Union Congress is to campaign on the topic of improved occupational health service access for workers. In the US, AFL-CIO will be commemorating the victims of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks
A major announcement is expected this year by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding 28 April. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
Open letter from Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries
March 13, 2002
Dear Sir/ Madam,
I write to thank you for your recent web report that Taiwan has lately become the 4th country to adopt 28 April as its official commemoration day. My organization, Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries (TAVOI, 1991). As the first and foremost organization in the local campaign for the welfare of victims and families of victims of occupational injuries and death, we are very eager to learn from the past experience of a major international labour organization which, we believe, has been making tremeduous achievements in this field by promoting 28 April as a truly international event.
A few examples should be enough to demonstrate why, in Taiwan, TAVOI is widely regarded as the most, if not only, important organization in this field. In 1993, for example, together with a major labor movement organization in Taiwan, Council for Action for Labor Legislation (CALL, 1987), TAVOI organized a mass rally to draw national and international attentions to the hundreds of thousands of workers who were killed or injured due to the unsafe workplace. It was also us who took the initiative at that time to promote the idea of building monuments for them. We are pleased that ever since, under our efforts, two municipal memorials have been erected and dedicated to those construction workers who died, or have become ill, while building a new subway system for the Taipei city in the last few years.
Besides, victims and families of victims of occupational injuries and death have been organized by TAVOI, in order to demand justice and compensation they have always deserved, such as in the case of RCA/GE. By the time it stopped production and closed down factories in 1992, there were between twenty to thirty thousand people employed by the RCA Taiwan, which has been found systematically dumping toxic waste into the ground for years as its normal working operation. Thousands of former RCA employees are now suffering from cancer, and the number keeps climbing.
Every year, ceremonies, commemoration concerts, and lobbying events have been organized by TAVOI to send a clear signal to the concerned authorities here to do the same and to consider adopting 28 April legislation of their own. It is under these concerted efforts that a special act for the prevention of occupational injuries was adopted at the end of last year, and is about to be put into practice in the coming 28 April, making International Commemoration Day an official day, and the establishment of a national monument an official policy in Taiwan.
From your report I also leant that a new 28 April publication about worker monuments, "Dead but not Forgotten", was published last year, and proceeds will help build a fund toward the eventual construction of an international 28 April monument. As my organization is still working on the project of a new national 28 April monument in Taiwan, we are eager to borrow experiences from the successful stories of other countries.
I thank you again for your help and expect to hear from you soon.