28 April Focus Announced for 2007 - Cancer, OHS Enforcement &
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.
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
 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
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
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.
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
The Mythology of the 28 April Candle Symbol
mitología del símbolo de la conmemoración
del 28 de Abril [pdf]
mythology of the 28 April candle symbol [pdf]
La symbolique de la bougie en commémoration du 28 avril