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Global: Workers' Memorial Day Activities 2006

Building and Wood Workers International focuses 28 April activities on world-wide asbestos ban campaign

BWI: The Building and Wood Workers International is organising a world-wide series of activities around 28 April all aimed at calling on governments and employers to commit to a global ban on the production, import, export and use of asbestos products.

On 28 April itself, about one hundred building industry unions belonging to the BWI will take part in a wide range of activities, from small and large rallies to educational and training events, including basic information dissemination, through public and membership meetings.

Canadian backing for the asbestos industry will be made a specific trade union target, as the BWI will mobilize its members around the world to engage in peaceful demonstrations and petitions at its Embassies and Consulates to convince the Canadian government to call a halt to its aggressive marketing and promotion of asbestos in such developing countries as India, Zimbabwe and Brazil.

BWI General Secretary Anita Normark appeals to all trade unions to join these efforts. Referring to the June 2005 Global Unions kick-off of the campaign for a total ban on asbestos, she said, “We now invite national affiliates of all unions to join our effort to impress upon the Canadian government, wherever its representatives are located, that the world is watching.”

A BWI 28 April briefing note includes the news that there are now more deaths from mesotheliomas than from falls in construction. At shocking world-wide figure of 100, 000 people each year, deaths from asbestos related diseases now outstrip deaths from industrial accidents in some countries. "Today's exposures guarantee an epidemic lasting at least another generation, with the asbestos graveyards shifting from the developed to the developing world," said Normark.

The BWI will make information available in a number of events planned around the world. A regional asbestos meeting in Sao Paulo on the 20 and 21 April will be followed by a number of construction safety meetings in that region. As well, several regional affiliates will attend meetings during Argentina’s Health and Safety Week beginning on 25 April, where the focus will be on occupational carcinogens. Activities are also planned in Southern Africa, Francophone Africa and several Asian countries.

BWI affiliates, trade unions and all other supporters are invited to access the BWI’s new website which contains comprehensive news on 28th April, including a briefing on asbestos, model letters, a “BAN ASBESTOS POSTER 2006”, and other Occupational Safety & Health information. See:

Contact: Fiona Murie


Hazards magazine international listing of Workers'Memorial Day
2006 activities