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ITUC/CSI 28 April Focus Announced for 2007 - Cancer, OHS Enforcement & Global Unions,

28 April Focus Announced for 2007

"Cancer, OHS Enforcement & Global Unions' Asbestos & HIV/AIDS Campaigns"

In the message that follows about next 28 April Mr. Guy Ryder, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), announces what the main priorities will be for the 2007 International Commemoration Day (ICD) For Dead and Injured Workers, efficively encouraging trade union affiliates, world-wide to commence their planning NOW.

Dear Friends,

Saturday 28 April, 2007: International Commemoration Day (ICD) For Dead and Injured Workers

28 April became an international commemoration day when in 1996 at the United Nations in New York a Global Union delegation lit a Commemoration Candle to highlight the plight of workers who die, are injured or become ill each year [1] due to unsustainable forms of work and production.

Since then, the number of commemoration events has grown, and they now take place in nearly 120 countries. These include a wide range of activities, from large rallies and sectoral mobilisations to educational and lobbying events, including basic information dissemination. In addition, many unions take the opportunity on 28 April to publicise the results of such actions as workplace assessments and surveys, as well as to announce initiatives they intend to pursue. For information on activities that took place last year for 28 April see [pdf].

Following consultations with trade unions involved in our electronic networks for occupational health and safety, I am writing now to confirm the perspectives and objectives for 28 April ICD for 2007.

The purpose of this communication is to ask you now to place Saturday 28 April on your calendars for 2007 and to begin to plan your own activities as soon as you can. Early in the New Year we will issue a more detailed background circular, indicating how you might connect your activities to other trade unions world wide and how our reporting process will unfold for the ICD next year.

It is suggested that your 28 April, 2007 activities serve to:

Address the causes of occupational and environmental cancers at the workplace, Demand safety and health standards and enforcement, and/or
Build on Global Union campaign activities of previous years for OHS (e.g. ban asbestos and HIV/AIDS) by connecting these to one or both of the two first themes.

It is up to you to select your own priorities for 28 April. Therefore, our suggestions are offered as guidance to facilitate effective coordination among all trade unions and friendly organization that participate.

As in previous years we would also propose to connect 28 April to trade union rights and to the role of worker and trade union participation in ensuring decent work and workplaces.

Also, A ‘Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health’ will soon be released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), for eventual adoption by Health Ministers next May in Geneva. We would invite you to consider how your 28 April activities might be made to support or strengthen this report vis a vis your own national government. You will receive this as soon as something becomes available.

Finally, I wish to remind you that at our founding Congress in Vienna, affiliated organizations called for “world-wide recognition and observance of 28 April as the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers”. 28 April is now formally recognised nationally by governments in 14 countries or territories: Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, Panama, Peru, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Taiwan. Therefore, initiatives to engage your governments to do the same could be planned for at an early stage.

Thank you for your attention.

General Secretary

Guy Ryder


[1] 2005 World injury and fatality statistics: Each year, over two million women and men die as a result of 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million new cases of occupational disease each year, figures that are supplemented by ILO/WHO estimates that occupational diseases alone cause over 1.7 million deaths, and that at least 268 million non-fatal workplace accidents occur each year. It is furthermore estimated that over half of the 355,000 on-the-job fatalities occur in agriculture, the sector with half the world’s workforce. Other high risk sectors are mining, construction and commercial fishing. Four percent of the world’s gross domestic product (US $1,251 billion) is lost through absence of work from injury, death and disease, sickness treatment, disability and survivor benefits. Illness results in a loss of four or more working days in at least 1/3 of all cases. The loss in GDP resulting from the cost of death and illness in the work force is 20 times greater than all official development assistance to developing countries. Each year, 12,000 children are killed on the job and hazardous substances kill 340,000 workers annually, while asbestos alone claims about 100,000 lives. See ILO death/injury statistics: [pdf]

Summary of the 2007 activities so far is available at this location: English [pdf]Backgrounder [pdf]

Trade Union Sustainable Development Unit 28 April webpage

The Mythology of the 28 April Candle Symbol


Español La mitología del símbolo de la conmemoración del 28 de Abril [pdf]

English The mythology of the 28 April candle symbol [pdf]

Français La symbolique de la bougie en commémoration du 28 avril [pdf]