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Andean Community: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and associate member, Venezuela


Andean Community formally adopts Workers' Memorial Day

On 28 April 2008 a decision taken in 2005 by the Andean Community of nations will come into force, henceforth making 28 April a “Andean Day for Health and Safety at Work” that will apply to its four member countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and to their associate member, Venezuela.

The decision will eventually bring to nineteen the total number of countries in the world, officially recognising 28 April. The representatives of the Andean Community are chosen by the National Congresses of
the respective countries.

The adoption of 28 April was taken in 2005 at a health and safety seminar in Lima Peru (where 28 April was already recognized) coordinated by the ‘Instituto Laboral Andino’ (ILA) and the ‘Comite Sindical Andino de Salud Laboral y Medio Ambiente’ (CCLA), which brought the various Parties together from the five countries.

The Decision No. 584 suggested that the Parties consider AIDS prevention and banning asbestos as a focus of attention and these possible themes have yet to be discussed by the Parties for implementation.

The ILA and CCLA have also been involved in coordination of activities in the five countries, plus Venezuela for this 28 April.

In Bolivia an official commemoration ceremony involving the Labour Ministry and other related OHS Ministries. Information on health and safety standards will be
produced for massive distribution, along with a flag, stickers, and special plaques.

Visual flyers will be produced for distribution at sports events and activities will be organized at an exhibition of industrial equipment. Radio and television publicity
information will be broadcast and an OHS course will organized by trade unions and employer organizations. A Web page will further distribute information.

In Colombia the ‘Dirección General de Riesgos Profesionales del Ministerio de la Protección Social de Colombia’ will organise a videoconference with trade unions, joining 32 territories. As a follow up between next July and December, it will organise a public information programme about the Decision 584 and a proposal to reach over 9000 workers through occupational health and safety seminars, organized in 32 Departments.

In Ecuador The Labour Minister will host a 28 April commemoration ceremony and will provide technical support to worker and employer organisations for activities that will take place in workplaces during the Andean week.

In Peru an exhibition of health and safety equipment will be organized, bringing together equipment suppliers and emergency services personnel. A national seminar
will be organised on occupational health and safety and planning will take place to prepare for follow up to the 2005 ‘Seminario Regional Andino de Salud Laboral y
Medio Ambiente’ that was responsible for Decision 584.

Street banners announcing the day will be erected in the capital and a wide-range of materials will be produced for massive distribution through government Ministries, media outlets, workplace health and safety committees, transportation outlets and other locations.

There are additional plans to organise workplace inspection activities throughout 2007.

In Venezuela a special committee has organized two commemoration events. The first will bring together representatives from five trade union centres to discuss priorities for prevention and OHS services. The second next 16 May will take place at a seminar for 100 selected workers to discuss OHS issues.

Contact Carlos Ortiz Cornejo

Source: ITUC

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UNTA-CS plans events in four regions

UNTA-CS: Uniao Nacional dos Trabalhadores de Angola (UNTA-CS) has announced that it will organize Workers' Memorial Day (WMD) events events in four provinces of Angola: Luanda, Benguela, Cabina and Huambo. This is the first time trade unions in Angola actually report their WMD activities yet Secretary General Manuel Angusto Viage said they have organized 28 April events for the last two years and are now doing so on an annual basis.

A further report of activities is expected. A response from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said the UNTA activities reflected that organisations deep commitment to occupational health and safety of workers.

The accident workplace fatality rate for Angola is 21/100,000 workers (more than twice that of China) and about 5.5 per cent of the adult population are HIV infected, placing that country in a priority list of countries by the Global Union AIDS Programme. Angola also imports over 1,360 tons of asbestos per year, placing it in yet another trade union priority list for the banning of the product.


Source: ITUC

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Argentina: Trend-Setting Workers' Memorial Day activities set the tone for fresh worker safety perspectives

The Argentinean authority for risks at work - Superintendencia de Riesgos del Trabajo (SRT) - has organised a trend-setting commemoration week of concentrated events from 28-30 April that will promote avenues for decent, safe and healthy work.

A full three day conference in Buenos Aires is meant to attract several thousand participants from throughout the country, Latin America, other continents, including international representatives.

It will host over 60 exhibitions all for the purpose of showing the advances by and experiences of trade unions in the field of health and safety, and especially related to collective bargaining, capacity building, as well as research and the management of risks.

Speakers from every national trade union body, along with union representatives in the aeronautics, construction, education, food, government, health, hotel, tourism, cleaning and rural sectors will interact with others from health and labour ministries, employer groups, occupational health bodies, academic & medical institutions and from a wide-variety of social, environmental and informal organisations. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and others figure prominently in the progmme and literature.

Registration is free to anyone who pre-registers. The invitation announcement emphasizes the SRT’s “conviction of the need to strengthen the links between the world of work, public policy, and scientific knowledge, through analisis and reflection of new trends and challenges for promoting a culture of prvention”. Argentina is among the 19 countries that has formally adopted 28 April for national observance and is among a small number of countries to have developed its own Decent Work programme with the ILO.

Source: ITUC

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ATTENTION: All affiliates/ OHS Officers

The Secretary,

Dear Comrade,

International Workers Memorial Day and the Zero Occupational Cancer Campaign

The 2008 national OHS Campaign of the ACTU is focused on Occupational Cancer, and is part of a broader global unions campaign. In Australia approximately 1.5million workers are exposed to occupational carcinogens.

The ACTU campaign committee has been meeting since last year and a number of dates and events have been scheduled as part of the campaign:

1. 3 April A Forum has been scheduled at the ACTU to ‘roll out’ the campaign to unions and explore how the broader campaign goals can be tailored by unions to varying membership, industries and occupational hazards

2. 10 April A meeting of Victorian Unions is called to discuss issues of particular interest an potential focus for Victorian unions and workers (e.g. the absence of ‘dust’ from the definition of ‘friable asbestos’ from Victorian Asbestos Regulations, what action unions can take on the ground etc). Meeting 2:00 – 3:30pm, Thursday, 10 April, VTHC

3. 28 April International Workers Memorial Day.

3.1 Good Occupational Health for All Workers is the key 2008 global priority. As such, the ZOCC Campaign will be officially launched on this day jointly with the ACTU. Our traditional memorial event, in conjunction with IDSA and the ACTU, will be held at ‘The Rock’ with proceedings commencing after 10:20am ending with 1 minute’s silence at 11:00am. Refreshments will be provided afterwards. Any other events on the day will be advised. Could you please advise the approximate size of any delegations from your union before the event?

3.2 Workplaces are encouraged to conduct activities on the day as well. Materials are in the process of being developed for this purpose. Could unions advise of any activities that you are being planned for workplaces? We would like to promote them on the OHS Reps website and also ensure they are forwarded through to the Hazards website, which collects information about actions happening globally and promotes them. See

3.3 Badges are available at $2.70 each. Orders can be placed with me. The image was officially adopted by the VTHC Executive in December 2004

Please put these dates in your diary, RSVP and contact me with any queries. Look forward to seeing you.

Regards, Margot

Contact: Margot Hoyte, OHS Campaigns Officer

Web: ACTU announcement

Source: Hazards magazine

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Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Inc

Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Inc. are conducting their Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony to coincide with International Workers’ Memorial Day in memory of workers who die, are injured or fall ill as a result of their work.

The Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony will take place in Centenary Rose Garden, Commercial Road, Morwell at 11.00am, on Monday April 28th

An ecumenical service will be conducted by Father Peter Mizera from Sacred Heart Church, Morwell.
There will be a dedication of flowers during the ceremony to all families who have lost a loved one.
Newborough Primary School choir will be singing through out the ceremony GARDS Scottish bag pipers will play laments through out the ceremony

Speakers coming to highlight this day will be:
Senior Sgt Howard Jones – Victoria Police
Tony Medina – OH&S Coordinator whose life/health has been affected by his past working conditions
Steve Dodd – Assistant Secretary Gippsland Trades & Labour Council Vicki Hamilton Secretary of GARDS representing sufferers & their families whom have lost their lives to asbestos disease.

We invite all in the community to come along and be apart of this ceremony, knowing that people from all over the world will be remembering and supporting workers’ in their corner of the world who have died as a result of their work. Mark the date in your calendar and come and support your fellow workers’ and their families.

After the ceremony there will be a free BBQ lunch with the compliments of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council

Contact: For further information you can contact Vicki Hamilton on 0407274173


Source: Hazards magazine

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Downtown Vienna Event To Highlight Austrian Workers' Memorial Day Ceremonies

ÖGB The Austrian Trade Union Federation is planing a central event for April 28 that will take place in a highly-frequented public square close to its headquarters in Vienna. ÖGB President Rudolf Hundstorfer will deliver a speech on this occasion, providing background for International Workers' Memorial Day, in which he will outline the international as well as national priorities that trade unions have established under the theme, “Good Occupational Health for All Workers”.

Flyers containing information that can be read quickly will be distributed on 28 April to passengers using public transport. In addition, commemoration activities will take place in a number of enterprises organised by Works Councils. Austrian media will be informed and given background material

Contact Walter Sauer

Source: ITUC

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OHSE: Labour law enforcement to protect workers health is Bangladesh Foundation's WMD focus

The Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) will once again be organising special events for associated national trade union centres and industrial federations to observe 28 April 2008.

This year, they will draw attention to the failure of the government of Bangladesh to establish and empower effective enforcement agencies to protect workers, which is resulting is some of the highest rates of injury, disease and death in the world.

Activities will begin on 26 April with a meeting at Shitakunda, Chittagong concentrating on ‘Rights to Occupational Health Services’ as part of a larger OSHE/FNV project to the Bangladesh ship-breaking industry [BD 005021].

This will be followed by a National ICD Press Conference on 27 April and a multi-stakeholder workshop on 28 April entitled "Good Occupational Health for All Workers of Bangladesh’. Both events will take place in the National Press Club in the capital city of Dhaka. As well, a special publication will containing campaign messages will be printed and widely circulated among the workers in the days leading up to WMD-2008.

Pointing to tragedies such as the recent collapse of the Rangs Bhaban high-rise project, Repon Chowdhury, General Secretary and Executive Director of the Foundation said that the failure of government to establish effective agencies, whether for the regulating of building codes in the construction industry, or the payment of wages in by garments manufacturers is responsible for the death or injury of thousands of workers.

A Survey conducted by his Foundation revealed that at least 1768 workers were killed and 1782 workers were injured in Bangladeshi workplaces in 2007, with the highest tolls occurring in the garment, transport and construction sectors.

The ability of trade unions to protect their members was further hampered, he said, by State Emergency laws promulgated in January of 2007 that had the effect of severely restricting their regular functions, as well as the tripartite dialogue and bargaining that takes place among the employers, workers and government.

On the other hand, the Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation Administration Board continues to provide a positive influence, as does continuing efforts by the government to organise tripartite dialogue on industrial unrest and to improve compliance status in the garment industries of Bangladesh.

Chowdhury called on the government to take more initiatives to ensure the proper application of the existing labour laws as well as effective implementation of the ILO's core conventions to build suitable and decent workplaces throughout the country.

OSHE is a specialized labour foundation established in 2003 by the national trade union movement of Bangladesh to collectively work on development issues related to the Human Rights of Workers, Decent Work and Sustainable Development at workplaces and at the national level.

Contact A.R. Chowdhury REPON

Source: ITUC

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Bermudans bring light to 28 April commemoration

Discussions are underway in the Bermuda Industrial Union to once again commemorate April 28 as International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD).

As in previous years, members of the public will be asked to turn on their vehicle lights on the way to work in the morning. As well, they will be asked to light a candle during the lunch period in remembrance of the Dead and Injured workers.

The trade union backgrounder [pdf] for 28 April 2008 said it was up to trade unions in each country or sector to decide on the focus and scope of their activities for this year’s IWMD. In the past, some unions have marked the day with a simple candle or incense-lighting ceremony, in conjunction with a brief programme of speeches, and a moment of silence, broken by a poem or some music. Whatever ceremonies or events are chosen, they usually reflect the overall themes of 28 April, normally beginning by commemorating the dead, sick and injured workers in some fashion, and ending with a message of hope for life and the living.

Discussion are underway to coordinate 28 April activities with the Occupation Health and Safety Department of the Government of Bermuda. 28 April is formally recognized by the Bermuda Islands which are a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, located off the east coast of the United States.

Although commonly referred to in the singular, the territory consists of approximately 138 islands, with a total area of 53.3 km² (20.6 sq. mi.).

Contact Graham Nesbitt

Source: ITUC

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Brazil: Month-Long Focus On Prevention & Workplace OHSE

Brazilian unions and the ‘Public Services for Workers´ Health’ in the São Paulo State kicked off a wide range of activities last Wednesday 23 April that will extend to the 28th and then spill-over to May Day and beyond, to culminate into a "Month of Workers´Health".

São Paulo State is the most industrialised region of the country, with 33 million inhabitants. Brazil also harbors a high workplace accident fatality rate and is a world player in the production and trade of asbestos.

A full twelve page summary of activities highlights a wide diversity of cultural, educational and political events that aim to raise awareness, provide information and encourage discussion and public debate about occupational health and safety.

Cultural stages, television and radio stations, amphitheatres, educational institutions and political forums are the medium of a very extensive public broadcasting of information that will reach millions.

Many events involve representatives from the main trade union and employer organisations of the country, along with ‘Fundacentro’ - the national tripartite institute on OHSE- and the Public Centres on Workers´Health.

Brazil is one of 19 countries or territories that have adopted 28 April as a national observance day. Since 1998 trade unions in the country have staged demonstrations, and commemoration candle ceremonies, features that are still strong characteristics of the 2008 programme of events.

Very extensive activities are expected in other regions of the country and these will be reported in the final version of the Workers' Memorial Day summary of events, indicated below.

Contact Nilton Freitas from the Workers´Chemical Union from ABC Region – CUT

Source: ITUC

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Cambodian activities

An number of activities are being held to commemorate International Workes' Day 2008.

Cambodia Workshop and Commemorative Ceremony organized by the ILO Sub-regional Office (SRO) Bangkok Government officials (including directors), workers and employers will attend the workshop and ceremony. ILO SRO Bangkok Website .

Public Awareness Activities organized by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Traning (MoLVT) In celebration of this year's World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the MoLVT is adopting the national theme, "All Together to Reduce Accidents at Work." It will produce several flags printed with this theme and tie them up on tuk-tuks and rickshaws to raise public awareness of World Day. Additionally, the MoLVT will hang 20 banners over the main streets of Phnom Penh to promote occupational safety and health. Lastly, the ILO poster for World Day will be translated into Khmer and redesigned specifically for Cambodia.

Celebration organised by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) The Better Factory Cambodia (BFC) will finance the printing of over 80 posters to support the celebration, which will take place at the Department of Health (DOH).

Source: ITUC

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Cameroon unions deliver 28 April AIDS message to Japanese embassy

CSAC/FSES: The ‘Confédération des Syndicats Autonome du Cameroun’ and the ‘Fédération des Syndicats des Employés de la Santé’ will organise a rally in the capital city Yaoundé to deliver a letter from Cameroon trade unions to the Japanese Embassy about the need for the G8 to establish better accountability about their promises regarding public health and HIV/AIDS.

The Government of Japan will be hosting the G8 Summit this July in Hokkaido-Toyako, when public health and African development will be discussed, along with other themes.

Contact Jean-Marie NDI

Source: ITUC

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Calgary & District Labour Council (CDLC)

On 28 April 2008, the Calgary and District Labour Council (CDLC) will once again drawing attention to the human cost of Alberta’s economic boom by organising a ‘Death March’ in Calgary, the capital of the province of Alberta. The march will begin at their Workers’ Compensation Board and end in a wreath-laying ceremony in front of their City Hall.

According to CDLC General Secretary Gordon Christie, the Province of Alberta continues to lead Canada in economic growth thanks to an uncontrolled exploitation of its energy reserves, particularly the Tar Sands deposits in the North-East corner of the Province. Oil shale sands are a long recognised and potent carcinogen. The governments of both Alberta and Canada have been widely criticised by the international community for unsustainable growth which is damaging the northern boreal forest environment, causing huge greenhouse gas emissions, and exacting a high cost in human lives and welfare.

Each year, over 100 workers die from accidents at work in Alberta alone, with hundreds more injured. Thousands die from diseases caused by toxic substances at work. The Calgary and District Labour Council is inviting participants to bring banners and wreaths to the March, which will proceed to a Workers’ Memorial in Edwards Place Park near the City Hall.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has called to all affiliates to organise activities leading up to and on 28 April.

The CDLC is the first union body to report its 28 April plans in Canada, where activities are usually quite extensive.

Canada adopted the “Day of Mourning” Bill C-223 in 1989 Historically, Workers' Memorial Day is rooted in the Canadian labour movement, whose actions led to the first national recognition of 28 April by any government as Canada adopted the “Day of Mourning” Bill C-223 in 1989. In that same year, the AFL-CIO in the United States also adopted 28 April as the national day for workers in that country to observe.

28 April is more than a ‘memorial’ day to remember victims of the past. It also draws attention to the living who continue to be exposed to risk of injury or death, and thus serves to symbolically transform sentiments of mourning, loss and suffering into positive action for dialogue and change. For this reason, 28 April is forward-looking, a day for action, as well as for mourning.

In this way, 28 April connects with the spirit of May Day. Trade unions are therefore encouraged to link their activities to May 1st themes wherever possible, as the right of all workers to form trade unions and bargain collectively with employers is crucial to securing safe workplaces. These rights are under attack in many countries. 144 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers’ rights in 2006, while more than 800 were subjected to violent assaults and some 5,000 arrested, according to the ITUC’s Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations. Thousands more were sacked for trade union involvement, and almost 1,700 detained.

The theme for 2008 is “Good Occupational Health for All Workers”, and this year’s 28 April Backgrounder can be found in English [pdf]

Contact Gordon Christie

Source: ITUC

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Croatian Unions Make Ambitious Plans for 28 April

The Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC) is planning a number of activities to prepare for and observe International Workers' Memorial Day.

Meetings of experts for trade union and employer organisations will take place on Wednesday 23 April in three regions of the country to discuss the possibility of a new agreement on prevention of stress at workplace, the state of occupational health and safety and possible solutions. As well, during that week, the focus will be on specific changes in construction industry, agriculture, food and tobacco industry, chemistry and non-metal industries, with awards to people best promoting those activities.

The UATUC will hold a press conference to announce events for 28 April itself and the president, A. Kneževic, will discuss the issue of “Safe and Healthy Work for All – Employers` Responsibility” with representatives of government, employer organizations, trade unions, the Economic and Social Council, the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety, and others involved in occupational health and safety.

On Monday 28 April, beginning at 11:00 AM, official ceremonies in the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship will bring together some 600 representatives including presidents of UATUC affiliated trade unions and the UATUC Occupational Safety and Health.Committee. Following introductions by Ante Vucic, President of the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety and the Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, presentations on 28 April themes will be made by the President of the Economic and Social Council, employer and trade union organizations, occupational medicine practitioners, and a Member of the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety. A Reception will follow.

Contact Dijana Šobota - SSSH

Source: ITUC

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Czech Republic


Commemorative Seminar Planned for Workers' Memorial Day

Czech - Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (CMKOS) will organise a seminar on “Healthy and Safe Workplace for All“, along with a candle ceremony to highlight the International Workers' Memorial Day.

The eevnts will take place in the CMKOS headquarters with health and safety experts of affiliated unions from all regions of the country, along with representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and with other national institutions

The Czech Republic has ratified several key ILO OHS Conventions.

Contact Miroslav Kosina

Further information:

Sources: ITUC and Hazards

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Danish Unions Adopt 28 Slogan: “Safe & Healthy Work for All"

"Safe and healthy work for all" will be the 28 April slogan for the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Denmark) and the Confederation of Salaried Employees and Civil Servants in Denmark (FTF) to organise this year’s International Workers' Memorial Day activities.

Danish trade unions will light torches outside their offices to honour the memory of those workers – Danish and foreign – who are killed every year from poor health & safety standards. Many conferences, meetings and other activities are also planned for throughout the country.

The trade union organisations agree there is still a lot to be done to secure a safe and healthy working environment in Denmark but they will also focus on global development, warning that worker rights are under pressure and that ‘solidarity across borders’ is the only answer.

LO and FTF will focus on the following themes:

  • * The high rate of industrial accidents among young workers and newly employed;
  • Stress, violence, threats and other psycho social risks are increasing;
  • Actions against accidents, psycho social risks, MSD and noise at the workplace;
  • Cancer caused by asbestos at the work­place- and other chemical risks;
  • Immigrants’ health & safety at work;
  • A good working environment management for sound health & safety standards;
  • Improvements to health & safety standards and enforcement
  • Global health & safety at work and Danish development aid.

They have also decided to engage in the following for 28 April:

  • Preparation of posters and a logo for the event.
  • Distribution of posters, flyers and other information material.
  • Hosting of foreign guests from health & safety projects (partly funded by the LO/FTF Council) to participate in 28 April.
  • Safe and healthy work will be a theme in connection with the 1 May activities.
  • Press releases and documentation about the negative consequences of a poor working environment.

The Danish 28 April logo, materials, etc. are available on the web

LO contact Mr. Poul Schoening
FTF contact Ms. Signe Kofoed

Source: ITUC

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Ethiopian unions plan tripartite Workers' Memorial Day Commemoration

For the fourth consecutive year the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) will observe 28 April by organising a number of events at the national level in collaboration with its tripartite social partners and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

This year’s ILO “World Day for Safety and Health at Work” will be commemorated in Ethiopia under the theme of ''My life, my work my safe work: Managing risk in the work environment”. Tripartite events will take place in Addis Adabba involving the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer and Exporters Association (EHPEA), the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA), the the Ethiopian Employers Federation (EEF) and the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).

The purpose of these events will be to sensitise government, employers, workers, civil society, non-governmental organisations, other advocacy groups and the citizenry at large to the need for a critical assessment of the safety situation of the country’s workplaces and to encourage them to work towards an improvement of the situation.

CETU is undertaking extensive promotional activities to get desired media coverage, amongst which will be the production and distribution of promotional materials about the Day and the need for improved occupational health and safety in Ethiopia.

Entertainment activities will include drama portraying occupational health and safety themes, as well as songs and poems composed and performed by students. As well, the Confederation will sponsor an OHS-based question-and-answer competition and speeches during its commemoration ceremony.

As this is a national commemoration day, a wide range of representation will be invited and expected to attend the event, including high-level government officials at the rank of ministers, commissioners, directors, civil society and representatives of the local community.

The CETU is the major national centre in Ethiopia created by the affiliation of the nine industrial federations. It was originally affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions prior to their merger with the ICFTU in 2006 to form the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Contact Demis Wondaferew

Source: ITUC

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French construction unions kick off Workers' Memorial Day campaign to boost accident and injury reporting

The ‘Fédération Nationale des Salariérs de la Construction CGT” in France has kicked off a wide-sweeping Workers' Memorial Day (WMD) campaign, “Refuse to be a Victim” and has initiated a petition for union members to identify inadequately reported workplace injury and illness.

A special and detailed publication has been produced and distributed country-wide for the campaign, highlighting the dubious efforts by employers to conceal the real picture and appealing to workers to sign a petition and Declaration as a testimony to the full scope of the problem in France.

A letter has been issued to all affiliates of the country inviting them to stage a WMD event, news conference or rally at the headquarters of employers. The communication says the union’s undertaking for 28 April, “is a step toward demanding at all levels that nothing be allowed to supass the life and safety of workers, especially financial interests”.

Contact CGT Construction Guy Juquel

Source: ITUC

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Hungarian unions inaugurate monument and launch Occupational Health and Safety Campaign

The National Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions (MSzOSz) will observe 28 April International Workers' Memorial Day by organising a major conference on the subject of "Safe and healthy work for all".

Approximately 150 employers, workers, safety representatives, leading policy makers of MSZOSZ and affiliates, and officials such as the Chairmen of the Hungarian Labour Inspectorate and the National Institute of Health and Safety are expected to attend.

A commemorative candle will be lit during the proceedings by MSZOSZ president P. Pataky.

Participants will address a number of issues including the:

  • challenges of OHS facing the various parties involved labour safety and protection;
  • state of occupational health and the prevention of occupational diseases;
  • tasks of employers and trade unions and avenues to cooperation for improved working conditions and quality of workplaces;
  • promotion of OHS through European channels (ETUI-REHS, Bilbao agency, etc.); and
  • strengthening of tripartite cooperation in the OHS field.

Considerable media and public attention are expected. The event will also serve to launch a national campaign to raise awareness and collect funds for a Memorial Statute to the Dead and Injured at Work which will be erected in central Budapest.

Contact György Károly

Source: ITUC

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Workers' Memorial Day activities in Jamaica

The Jamaican Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the University of the West Indies will both hold activities to mark International Workers' Memorial Day.

The Minister of Labour and Social Security will commemorate workers killed in occupational accidents through a one-page newspaper feature.

The Voluntary Compliance Programmes (VCP) Awards Ceremony Organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The 22 companies enrolled in the Voluntary Compliance Programmes (VCP) will be assessed and presented with certificate awards for various categories of achievement. Approximately 80 people will attend the ceremony.

Newspaper Feature organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The message of Pearnel Charles, Minister of Labour and Social Security, will be released to the media via general broadcast.

Exhibition organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. A mounted exhibition on safety and health at work will take place at the Head Office. The exhibition will include relevant banners and brochures.

Exhibition The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, will hold an exhibition on the 28th of April (10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) at UWI Undercroft in order to raise awareness of occupational safety and health risks and methods of risk management. Key participants will include private sector sponsors and students.

Symposium The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, will hold a symposium on the 28th of April (5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.)at the Chemistry Lecture Theater to discuss contemporary occupational safety and health issues in the local and international arena. Key participants will include: Dr. Benjamin Alli (Technical Cooperation and Advisory Services Co-ordinator for the ILO HIV/AIDS Global Programme), Miss. Kofi-Ann Spence (First Graduate of the MSc OESH Programme Co-ordinator), Mr. Norbert Campbell (Pioneering OESH Programme Co-ordinator) and Prof. Ishenkumba Kahwa (OESH Programme Director).

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Indian trade unions mark Workers' Memorial Day

Indian trade unions will mark International Workers' Memorial Day in number of ways including a letter writing campaign, visits and training sessions.

In India the Tamil Maanila Kattida Thozhilalar Sangam (TCWF - Tamil Nadu State Construction Workers' Union) has launched a letter-writing campaign to draw the attention of the national government and the media to the need for an asbestos ban. On 28 April, they will visit the Cancer Institute at Chennai with the Indian National Rural Labour Federation, Tamil Nadu (INRLF) and will also organize worksite meetings at seven different locations to create awareness among workers on OHS issues locations throughout Tamil Nadu State. This will include a candle lighting and commemoration ceremony. (*includes seven unions from Tamil Nadu state of India).

Elsewhere in India, the Kerala Kettida Nirmana Thozhilali Congress (KKNTC - Kerala Building Construction Workers' Congress) will organize a one-day OHS training for workers group leaders (Gang leaders-mukhadim). The Bandhkam Majoor Sanghathan (BMS - Construction Workers' Union, Gujarat) is organizing a candle-lighting protest at a prominent worksite to involve social activists and media.

Source: ITUC

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People's Training and Resource Centre

Report and Pictures

Dear All,

We organised Seminar on Problems on compensation claims for Occupational Diseases on 28 April being Intl. Workers Memorial Day. Secretary, Labour and Employment was Chief Guest. He was accompanied by the officers from departments of Ind. Safety and Health from Baroda, Anand and Panchmahal districts (areas affected by Silicosis) and Labour department.

Silicosis victims from Zalod (Stone crushing unit workers) and Khambhat ( Agate workers), Asbestos victims and representatives of voluntary organisations attended the program.

Officers of ESI ( Social security) and Industry rep. were also there. Jagdish Patel, Raghunath Manvar and victims presented the problems at various levels. Several suggestions came up.

Secretary assured to look into the problems. ESI officers also gave assurance. There is some hope now for compensation for stone crushing unit workers.

In the evening victims joined protests. They demanded ratification of ILO Resolution 155 to provide legal protection for H & S for workers in all economic sectors a well as speedy compensation to the victims.

Jagdish Patel
Peoples Training & Research Centre
43,Srinathdham Duplex,
Dinesh Mill -Urmi Road,
BARODA - 390007

Contact Jagdish PatelPTRC homepage

Source: Hazards

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In Indonesia, the Federation of Construction, Informal and General Workers (F-KUI) will launch a Ban Asbestos Campaign from the F-KUI Branch of Pekanbaru – Riau, Indonesia on 28 April.

This will be followed on May 1st (May Day) by a mass rally in Bogor-West Java that is expected to attract thousands of F-KUI members under the banner ‘10 years Fighting for Freedom of Association and Freedom from Asbestos in Indonesia’. The F-KUI will create and disseminate t-shirts, brochures and other campaign materials to raise awareness amongst the media, FKUI members and other workers regarding the dangers of asbestos.

Contact Fiona Murie

Source: ITUC and Hazards

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Women trade unionist of Kosovo make OHS a priority

The Trade Union Women’s Network of Kosovo (RRGSK, Rrjeti i Gruas Sindikaliste të Kosovës) is organising a Press Conference in addition to a number of other activities in observance of International Workers' Memorial Day..

The RRGSK has adopted the international theme, Good Occupational Health for All Workers, to guide their call for better health protection for all the workers and better work conditions and security at workplace. In proclaiming the International Workers' Memorial Day, they will pay tribute all the workplace victims, those who have died in the workplace

The Network will ask the Kosovo Government to ratify all the International and EU Conventions with regard to workers rights, health and safety and working conditions, particularly with respect to such ILO Conventions as C187, Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health.

On 25 April 2008, the RRGSK President will meet with the leadership of the Kosovo Independent Union (BPSK) to discuss possible activities that would provide better information to the workers in Kosovo.

The Press conference will be held on 28th of April in the Grand Hotel in Pristina at 13:00 Hours, at which time the Network will formally request that the Kosovo Government and its Ministries of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare fulfill their promises for improving condition for workers, including health and social security at workplace.

28 April activities will be complemented by additional activities on May 1, as the BSPK plans to organise a large protest on the occasion of International Workers Memorial Day.

Contact Mejreme Shema

Source: ITUC

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Latvian unions host conference on safety laws and regulations

The Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS, Latvijas Brivo arodbiedribu savieniba) is organising a special conference on 28 April to observe International Workers' Memorial Day.

Trade union leaders and health and safety officers from all branch organisations will join representatives from employers’ organisations and state institutions to highlight good health and safety practice examples, as well as to measure the strengths and weaknesses of occupational health standards and enforcement mechanisms in Latvia.

Participants will call on responsible state institutions to strengthen requirements for employers concerning application of safety laws and regulations in companies and enterprises. The employers will be asked to ensure safe work conditions for employees and to implement appropriate safety standards, to ensure workers participation in development of safety system at the work place level.

The conference will commence with a moment of silence to commemorate the 58 workers who died and 1530 who were injured during 2007, as well as the 14 who have already died and 70 already injured in the first few months of 2008.

Contact Ariadna Abeltina

Source: ITUC

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Lithuanian unions deal with fears of non-compliance

Trade unionists in Lithuania are making plans to observe 28 April International Workers‘ Memorial Day amidst reports that the number of fatal and serious accidents at work in their country is increasing.

The State Labour inspectorate together with the Lithuanian Trade Union (LPS, Lietuvos Profesiné Sajunga ‘Solidarumas’), as well as other social partners, are organising a Conference on 28 April in order to commemorate those who died at work, and to discuss the problems with workplace safety that have been identified.

This follows a letter that the Head of the State Labour Inspectorate of Lithuania recently sent to over 20 thousand heads of enterprises in the most dangerous sectors of the economy, drawing attention to the fact that Lithuania has one of the highest rates of workplace deaths in Europe.

The letter concludes that heads of the enterprises and other responsible persons are not observing the obligatory requirements of labour safety law. In fact, the letter says, at many enterprises there is no system to ensure that the managers are properly addressing dangers and threats. Measures to remove these dangers must be implemented.

Enterprise Heads are reminded that in 2007, the Inspectorate undertook aggressive research to identify causes of workplace accidents that were under investigation, together with a more thorough analysis of accident statistics in all units of these enterprises during the last five years. Preventive measures are being assessed according to provisions of the Administrative Code, listing the aggravating conditions and assessing the adequacy of existing fines, which range up to 5,000 litas.

Heads of the enterprises must confirm their commitment to the value of a worker’s life and health, the letter says. They must demand that their works managers and other persons related to labour safety and health fulfill their duties with due responsibility in order to avoid death or trauma to workers.

Contact Kristina Krupaviciene

Source: ITUC

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Malaysian activites

A number of different activities are being organised for International Workers' Memorial Day.

Malaysia Radio Interview organised by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Malaysia The NIOSH Chairman will conduct an interview with a local radio station (frequency 90.3) on the 25th of April (11:15 a.m.) regarding World Occupational Safety and Health Day. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Malaysia

Occupational Safety and Health Walkathon organised by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, PERKESO (social security organization), and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Malaysia. The walkathon will take place on Sunday, the 27th of April (7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). Ceremony Brochure and Form - [pdf]

Commemoration Ceremony organized by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, PERKESO (social security organization), and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Malaysia. The commemoration ceremony at Putrajaya will take place on Monday, the 28th of April (8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). Walkathon Brochure and Form [pdf]

Awareness Raising Activity organised by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Malaysia and Bandar Baru Bangi. The activity will take place on Monday, the 28th of April (1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). Activity Brochure and Form. [pdf]

Source: ITUC

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Malaysian unions pause for reflection on 28 April

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) will organise a half day of ' Reflexion and Inputs', aimed at awareness raising about workers and the daily risks they face at work.

MTUC says that it will place more emphasis on HIV/AIDS this year and will renew efforts to promote decent work.

MTUC contends that the safety and health standards at most workplaces in the country are below acceptable levels despite its government’s efforts to improve working conditions. It attributes this to lack of commitment and awareness on issues of occupational safety and health.

In 2004 the Deputy Prime Minister of the country said the common goal for employers, employees and union members should be to achieve a zero-accident target. Malaysia is major importer of asbestos.

Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories in Southeast Asia The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The country is separated into two regions — Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo — by the South Sea.

Contact P Buldee

Source: ITUC

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Maltese Unions host 28 April ceremonies and educational events

As in previous years, the General Workers' Union of Malta (GWU) will be organising a number of activities to observe International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD). Preparations will include visits to the Minister of Labour, the Acting Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and the Archbishop of Malta.

Amongst other issues, they will suggest to the Government that flags be flown at half-mast on (IWMD) on all its ministerial buildings, and ask the Archbishop to recommend that some form of observance take place in all the country’s churches.

On 28 April, the GWU will hold a religious ceremony at its headquarters in Valletta, to be followed by a seminar for health and safety representatives under the theme of ‘Noise Risk Assessment’. This seminar will be continued the next day for union officials, human resources managers and representatives from the employer’s side.

Contact: Salv Sammut

Source: ITUC

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Unions in Moldova convene 28 April assembly

The National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova (CNSM) is planning a candle lighting ceremony that will take place in the CNSM headquarters to commemorate the loss of life and illness due to accidents and unsafe workplaces.

The event will bring together some 400 persons from all regions of the country representing the sectoral federations within the Confederation. Joining them will be representatives from the Labour Inspectorate.

CNSM President, Mr. Leonid Manea, will deliver a speech on this occasion outlining the international and national priorities established by trade unions under the 2008 theme, “Good Occupational Health for All Workers”.

The Women’s Organisation within the Confederation have already carried out a round table on the subject of women’s health protection in the workplace.

CNSM is biggest branch federations, bringing together: the trade union “Sanatatea” (health workers), National Federation of Trade Unions of Food and Agriculture of Moldova “Agroindsind”, Building Trade Union Federation “SINDICONS” .

Global Union Federations, envisage meetings, round tables, seminars on HIV/AIDS and labour accident prevention.

Contact: Nina Zghibarta

Source: ITUC

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New Zealand


Services and rallies are the ingredients for New Zealand 28 April

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) has already planned 28 April activities in four communities to draw attention to the plight of hundreds of New Zealand workers who still die every year as a result of their work and reinvigorate the fight for rights of the living.

A marker placed on the NZCTU website directs members to a Workers' Memorial Day page to keep them updated about additional events that will be organized nationally and regionally in New Zealand.

Like many other national centres, the NZCTU has adopted the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) priority for 28 April, which is "Good Occupational Health for All Workers".

NZCTU members are reminded that the workplace can present a hostile environment towards a worker’s health and safety, and that there can never be enough laws and safeguards protecting workers’ health and safety. The fight to strengthen those laws, the bulletin says, must continue.

Some local centres have already informed the NZCTU of events in their areas, and these are posted on the site. Other events will be added as they are organised. Posted events include:

Hamilton Monday 28th April
2 pm Unions Waikato will host a commemmoration for fallen workers at the American Garden, down at the Hamilton Gardens (off Cobham Drive) A special tribute will be made to the memory of a RMTU member recently killed.

Tauranga/Mt Maunganui Saturday 3rd May
11am at RMTU and MUNZ will host a service commemorating fallen workers at The Seafarers Centre, Hull Rd, Mt Maunganui

Palmerston North Monday 28 April
12:15 – 12:45pm Unions Manawatu have organised an event on the Corner of The Square and Coleman Mall
Meet the 99 year old retired bank worker who was involved in an armed robbery in August 1933 and hear about workers’ health and safety in the Depression years. All Union Members and supporters are invited.

Wellington Monday 28th April
8am Rally on the waterfront near Te Papa and Circa Theatre Speakers: Ross Wilson ACC Chair, Carol Beaumont NZCTU Secretary

Hutt Valley Monday 28th April
12 Midday RMTU will host a service commemorating fallen workers at Hutt Valley Workshops Elizabeth St, Moera Speaker: CTU President, Helen Kelly

Christchurch Monday 28th April
11.30 – 12.30
Science Alive Park
Behind Hoyts 9 Theatre
Moorhouse Ave

Opening Prayer: Richard Tankerlsey
MC: Karena Brown
Guest Speakers:Darien Fenton - MP,Ged O’Connell - EPMU, Jani Yohanson - Christchurch City Councillor

Click here to download a flyer for the Christchurch event (PDF doc 80 kb)

Contact Renee Habluetzel

Sources: ITUC and Hazards

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Unions in Niger plan seminars and public awareness for 28 April

The 'Confédération Nigérienne du Travail’ (Nigerien Confederation of Labour, CNT) is organising a number of activities for Workers' Memorial Day in the Republic Niger.

The CNT is holding a workers’ assembly under the international 28 April theme for 2008, "Good occupational health for all workers" to discuss occupational health and safety, during which a moment of silence will be observed

In addition, it is organizing two seminars that will focus on health and safety issues in Niger’s informal economic sector; one for the public and one for the country’s private and mixed sectors. To draw attention to the 28 April themes, messages will be broadcast on the country’s TV and radio stations, and a special Confédération publication will be prepared for distribution on May Day.

Contact Sako Mamadou

Source: ITUC

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Pakistan Workers’ Federation

The Pakistan Workers’ Federation is the first national centre to report on its activities for Internatinal Workers' Memorial Day 2008.

General Secretary Khurshid Ahmed has announced ambitious plans that include conferences in major cities across Pakistan, to which government and employers' representatives will be invited, as well as ILO representatives. In addition, he has promised to publish the 28 April 2008 Backgrounder and reports of 28 April activities in their local language for wider dissemination.

In his announcement, Ahmed noted that, although Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of its labour force, numerous occupational health and safety problems exist because of weak safety culture, a lack of training, and inadequate labour inspection. In the electrical sector, for instance, more than 200 workers die every year due to fatal accidents and far more become disabled due to non-fatal accidents at the workplace.

The PWF is responding with an extensive Workers Education and Training Programme, publication of safety and health material and posters for creating awareness on safety and health and promotion, as well as pressing the Government for enforcement of safety laws and more education for workers and management. The Federation and its affiliated trade unions are also pressing for a comprehensive labour inspection and labour protection machinery in manufacturing industries, services and agriculture, to include ratification of ILO Conventions, particularly Convention No.155 on Safety and Health.

Although Pakistan has a Social Security Scheme for prevention of accidents and occupational diseases and provision of medical facilities, says Ahmed, the PWF is lobbying policy makers to allocate more resources for prevention of occupational diseases and accidents by creating awareness on safety and health both for management and developing adequate facilities for welfare of the workers in case of accident.

Source: ITUC

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Palestine Unions in Palestine commemorate 28 April in every district On 28 April the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) is planning one central activity in Nablus, which will be duplicated in all districts of the country as numerous commemorations to dead and injured workers.

In addition the PGFTU will produce analyses of number of worksite accidents in the country, number of dead and injured people, compared to similar incidents all over the world. They will produce materials to highlight the importance of securing health and safety measures in all worksites and of the importance of forming a national committee; engaging in legal activities and in organisng, training and the education of workers.

Contact Ghada Abu Ghalyoon

Further information: www.pgftu.orgIn Arabic

UPDATE - Shown below is a picture of the PGFTU General Secretary Shaher Saeed adressing a Workers' Memorial Day meeting in Nablus on 28 April 2008. The Nablus mayor and Government delegates were in attendance as well as international delegates from from Belgium, Italy and Hungary.

Source: Hazards Magazine

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Philippines unions press for action on asbestos and occupational health

Forums, working groups, ceremonies and press conferences are to be held across the Philippines.

In the Philippines, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) is cooperating with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) to organise a joint candle lighting ceremony and forum on Asbestos. They will issue a Declaration in support of a Senate Bill to ban asbestos and will form a Technical Working Group to oversee progress on this issue.

In addition, the National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW) is planning activities (including all NUBCW chapters) that will begin with a press conference in Subic on 27 April to publicise the Hanjin campaign for good occupational health & safety. This will be followed by a dialogue with legislators in Subic, and a mass mobilisation proceeding from the Quezon City Hall to the OHS Center in the Quezon City Chapter Chapter assembly to raise public awareness and support for victims of works accidents in Hanjin Shipyard building sites in Subic.

Contact Fiona Murie

Source: ITUC and Hazards

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Unions in Philippines kick off asbestos campaign

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) will join the Associated Labour Unions (ALU-TUCP), and the Building Woodworkers International (BWI) to observe International Workers'Memorial Day.

The Commemoration in front of the Labour Centre in Manila will begin with the unveiling of a huge mural depicting the “Ban Asbestos Now!” Campaign, followed by speeches providing the rationale for the campaign and the ICD itself, as well as messages from the TUCP, ALU and BWI. Hundreds of trade union and OSH activists will then light candles and offer a minute of prayerful silence, after which they will display their commitment to the Campaign by placing palm marks on the Ban Asbestos mural

The occasion will launch a country-wide campaign to Ban Asbestos that will focus on policy advocacy to urge legislators to adopt a policy that would put a stop to the import and use of asbestos in the Philippines. Advocacy will be undertaken at various levels; at the plant level, the Bureau of Working Conditions of the Department of Labour and Employment (BWC-DOLE), the House of Representative and Senate, and the Executive Branch of government.

It will be supported by OHS education and training for workers using the Participation-Oriented Safety Improvements by Trade Union Initiative (POSITIVE) Approach for improving working conditions and full compliance to OSH and other labour standards. As well, the media will be engaged to publicise the need for insurance coverage for asbestos-related illnesses and deaths and to support collective bargaining for the elimination of asbestos at the workplace and compensation for victims.

The Commemoration will be followed by a 3-hour policy forum to discuss pending bills, particularly Senate Bill 741 “An Act Banning the Importation, Manufacture, and Processing or Distribution in Commerce of Asbestos Containing Products” that will be presented to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who will be one of the the main resource speakers.

Parallel discussions will focus on a Labour Standards Enforcement Framework (LSEF) and HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control at the Workplace. There will also be a focus group discussion on banning asbestos with participants from government, academia and other trade union federations not affiliated with the TUCP and BWI.

Contact Fiona Murie

Source: ITUC and Hazards

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Rwanda unions target workplace OHS for Workers' Memorial Day

For 28 April, ‘La Centrale des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Rwanda (CESTRAR), along with a national trade union counterpart from Belgium, ‘La Fédération du Travail de Belgique (FGTB)’ and others, will host a national conference, «Safe and Healthy Workplaces».

The conference will provide a general overview of the laws and practice regarding the environmental and OHS situation in the Rwanda, with a special emphasis on available data about possible control measures.

A candle lighting ceremony will take place to commemorate the loss of life and illness due to accidents and unsafe workplaces.

The occupational health risks in the construction and tea production sectors will be reviewed with a focus on lessons learnt by trade unions in Belgium.
Conference participants will also discuss how to reduce workplace accidents and HIV/AIDS.

Rwanda has a workplace accident rate, more than twice that of China – making it one of the highest in the world and 8.9 per cent of the adult population are HIV infected.

Trade unions from the private and public sectors throughout the country will participate, as will representatives from regional and international trade union bodies. Joining them will be reprentatives from the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Health, along with others from national institutions and the ILO, WHO and non-governmental organisations, as well as inspection authorities.

Contact Yolanda Lamas or

Source: ITUC

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San Marino


San Marino unions join 28 April efforts The General Secretaries of the ‘Confederazione Samarinese del Lavoro (CSdL)’ and ‘Confederazione Democratica Lavoratori Sammarinnesi (CDLS)’ have announced that their union organisations will be prioritising public awareness when they prepare for 28 April International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD).

According to its CSDdL General Secretary Giovanni Ghiotti and CDSL General Secretary Marco Beccari, they are preparing public presentations intended to make citizens of San Marino more aware of the serious problem of accidents and deaths in working places, and of the need to ensure that workplaces provide the highest standards of security and respect for health.

Contact Lucy Santolini

Source: ITUC

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Day-long tripartite meeting organised in Sénégal for 28 April

A day-long tripartite meeting will be hosted by a body that unites all the national trade union centres of Senegal, the Intersyndicale Santé Sécurité et Environnement au Sénégal, along with the country’s social security authority, la Caisse de Sécurité Sociale and the organisaton of employers.

Senegal is among the group of countries with the highest workplace accident fatality rates in the world.

The meeting will take place in the Capital Dakar under the theme, ‘Good Occupational Health For all Workers. It will also focus on industrial risks and prevention.

the Republic of Senegal, is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa. Senegal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south.

Contact Elimane DIOUF

Source: ITUC

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Serbian unions intensify focus on occupational health and safety and prevention

Serbian trade union members will observe 28 April International Workers' Memorial Day in the Republic of Serbia by holding a ceremony in which they will renew their commitment to better health and safety for all the country’s workers.

Branislav Canak, President of TUC “Nezavisnost” will deliver a tatement entitled “Safe & Healthy Working Conditions for All Workers – Our Strategy & our Goal” at a ceremony held in the capital city, Novi Beograd, at a construction site where a worker lost his life in March 2008.

In paying respect to the deceased worker, he will draw attention to the poor level of occupational safety and health in the country, and dedicate the union to working with government agencies and organisations, as well as employers’ organisations, to provide for safe and healthy working conditions in the Republic.

The statement says that TUC “Nezavisnost” will respond to the rising number of fatal injuries by intensifying efforts to protect workers’ life and health. Amongst other measures, it will insist that work on the National Strategy for Safety and Health at Work be completed as soon as possible, that preventive measures are intensified and rendered more strict, and that the Law on Safety and Health at Work, as well as the National Policy that was prepared with participation of all social partners be fully implemented.

Following 28 April, TUC “Nezavisnost” will pursue measures that include: shifting the focus in occupational safety and health to preventive action; clearly identifying rights, obligations and responsibilities of employees and their representatives, employers and government authorities at all levels; incorporating basic measures and standards into the national safety and health policy and into concrete instruments for practical implementation; promoting the development of a safety and health culture at the workplace; and providing protection to employees by minimsing hazards and risks.

Contact Branislav Canak

Source: ITUC

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South Africa


South African unions focus on safe work and managing risks International Workers' Memorial Day events in South Africa will take place nationally on 9 May under the auspices of the Government’s Department of Labour and will involve all economic sectors in Port Elizabeth and Eastern Cape, the home of the motor manufacturing industry.

The theme of the event will be: ‘Managing Risk in the Work Environment’ accompanied by: ‘My Life, My Work, My Safe Work’ as a slogan.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is expected to mobilize its constituency for the event and speak on behalf of organised workers.

The construction, mining and manufacturing sectors are bedevilled by frequent incidences of occupational fatalities and injuries. The estimated fatalities due to occupational accidents in South Africa are among the highest in the world at 19 workers per 100 thousand. In addition about 20 per cent of the adult population are HIV infected.

In a speech delivered last December Mr. Bheki Ntshalintshali, the COSATU Deputy General Secretary said “we must never forget those who lost their lives, both those struggling for democracy and freedom and those who died, and continue to die, in fatal accidents”. He said that almost daily, families hear the news that a husband, a father, a brother - a breadwinner - has been suddenly taken from them, as a result of accidents, most of which could and should have been prevented.

An average of 200 workers are killed every year. 199 died in 2006, 202 in 2005, and in just the first seven months of 2007, 122 workers had already been killed. “The deaths are continuing almost daily, swelling the number of families left destitute by the loss of their breadwinners and loved ones”.

He said the position is even worse in the construction sector, where Department of labour officials repeatedly uncover breaches of the Health and Safety laws, when they make their all too few inspections of building sites. The result is a totally unacceptable level of accidents, many of them fatal. “This carnage in the mines and on the sites has to stop, and stop now!”

Contact Pelelo

Source: ITUC

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South Korea


South Korean unions organising for International Workers' memorial Day

Rallies are to held across South Korea.

The Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) is organising a series of campaign events, including a national OSH Tour and a National Workers’ Rally on 28th April, International Workers' Memorial Day. Their goal is to publicize unsafe and indecent working conditions facing workers, to raise the awareness in the general public, and to advocate for legislations and policies ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for workers.

Contact Fiona Murie

Source: ITUC and Hazards

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Swedish tradeunions plan nine Workers'Memorial Day Conferences

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO Sweden) and its affiliates have announced plans for a series of health and safety conferences focused on the theme of risk analysis in solitary work and workload to lead up to 28 April 2008 International Workers' Memorial Day..

According to Christina Järnstedt, trade union official, health and safety for LO Sweden, the aim of these conferences will be to increase knowledge among principal safety representatives and regional safety representatives concerning risk analyses for solitary work. The first of nine regional health and safety conferences is scheduled for 11 April with the last taking place on 28 April 2008.

Conferences will include presentations by the Swedish Work Environment Authority, which on methods, legislation and regulations it employs for risk analysis and solitary work. These will be followed, in each conference, by sessions in which the Social Democratic members of the Riksdag in various counties will join safety representatives to give their view of work environment policy and contribute their experiences concerning what is needed for a sustainable work environment policy.

There will also be a follow-up on fatal accidents that have taken place in 2008, with discussions of what can be done to further increase knowledge and risk assessment in preventive health and safety work. In addition, the LO will participate in the Swedish ILO Committee’s health and safety conference which will focus on preventive health and safety work in schools.

Contact Christina Järnstedt

Source: ITUC

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New Zealand


Services and rallies are the ingredients for New Zealand 28 April

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) has already planned 28 April activities in four communities to draw attention to the plight of hundreds of New Zealand workers who still die every year as a result of their work and reinvigorate the fight for rights of the living.

A marker placed on the NZCTU website directs members to a Workers' Memorial Day page to keep them updated about additional events that will be organized nationally and regionally in New Zealand.

Like many other national centres, the NZCTU has adopted the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) priority for 28 April, which is "Good Occupational Health for All Workers".

NZCTU members are reminded that the workplace can present a hostile environment towards a worker’s health and safety, and that there can never be enough laws and safeguards protecting workers’ health and safety. The fight to strengthen those laws, the bulletin says, must continue.

Some local centres have already informed the NZCTU of events in their areas, and these are posted on the site. Other events will be added as they are organized. Posted events include:

Christchurch Monday 28 April
11.30 AM at the Science Alive Park

Tauranga/Mt Maunganui Monday 5 May
11:00 AM at the Seafarers Centre, Hull Rd, Mt Maunganui

Wellington Monday 28 April
8:00 AM Rally on waterfront by Te Papa followed by event at Circa Theatre.

Hutt Valley Monday 28th April
12:00 Noon Service at Hutt Valley & workshops at Elizabeth St, Moera

Contact Renee Habluetzel

Source: ITUC

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Ukranian unions participate in safe and decent labour conditions forum

FPU: The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) will take part in a Forum on April 22 targeting Safe and Decent Labour Conditions in Kiev within the framework of the joint ILO/Federation of Employers of Ukraine project “ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work in Coalmining Industry of Ukraine”.

The forum will be attended by President of the Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko, Prime-Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers Antonio Peñalosa, FPU President Oleksandr Yurkin, as well as numerous representatives of the ILO, employers’ and workers’ organisations. The Ukraine is among the countries to have an ILO Decent Work Programme (DWCP).

The event follows a January 2008 meeting between trade union leaders and the Ukrainian President which looked at effective social dialogue to enable trade unions to be more active in the development of the state's social and economic policy, including occupational health and safety. A disaster last November in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine resulted in the death of 88 miners with at least 12 more missing. It followed mine disasters in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

The FPU, formed after the Ukraine achieved independence in 1990, is the largest trade union confederation in the country with more than 10 million members.

The Forum will be held on April 22 from 10.00 till 16.00 in the Hyatt Regency Kiev hotel: 5a Tarasova Street, Kiev.

Contact Oleksandr Yurkin

Source: ITUC

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United States


U.S. Unions Primed For 28 April

The U.S. trade union movement has once again kicked off preparations for the observance of 28 April in centers across the United States, where activities are usually quite extensive.

The U.S. trade union movement has once again kicked off preparations for the observance of 28 April in centers across the United States, where activities are usually quite extensive.

In its latest Safety & Health Update, the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO) provides a website in which it tells its affiliates to begin preparing for Workers Memorial Day.

The bulletin reminds that while decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements, the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains high.

Not only do millions of workers have no protection from the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA); penalties for violation are weak, with criminal penalties limited only to ‘willful violation’. There have been no new Workplace Safety and Health rules by OSHA, with employer voluntary programs, partnerships and alliances favored over enforcement and largely excluding unions. Employer-friendly officials now dominate both OSHA and the U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), and workplace injuries are underreported with workers discouraged from reporting.

This years 28 April Workers Memorial Day is particularly important for these reasons, and gives meaning to activities that commemorate the thousands of workers killed and the millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.

The AFL/CIO call reminds member unions that its first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989, to coincide with the birth of OSHA, in addition to the fact that it had also been chosen as the commemoration date in Canada.

The website directs member trade unions to a wide range of Workers Memorial Day 2008 materials provided by the AFL/CIO. These include a Workers Memorial Day flier; posters, a Workers Memorial Day clip art in English and Spanish, a Workers Memorial Day events and materials order form, and a Proclamation. A download of ‘Death on the Job’, a report of the workplace toll in the U.S., will be made available later this April, and all updates of activities across the country will be posted regularly.

Contact []

Source: ITUC

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United Kingdom


TUC Workers' Memorial Day - 28th April 2008

The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering memorials to all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws.

What can you do?

  • Get your employer to allow some form of recognition of the day, such as one minute's silence to remember anyone who has died at your workplace;
  • Ask your local council, or any other public body to fly official flags at half-mast on the day; and/or
    Write a letter to the local press;
  • Organising a local meeting on health and safety and the need for more corporate accountability. You could focus on a particular issue of concern where you work, such as violence or lone working;
  • Arranging an event such as planting a memorial tree in a public place, putting up a plaque, dedicating a sculpture, a piece of art, or a bench, to remember workers who have been killed at the workplace or in the community;
  • Asking local religious centres to include Workers' Memorial Day in their worship during the Week;
    Distribute purple 'forget-me-not' ribbons, the symbol of Workers Memorial Day;
  • Finding out what other unions, your local Hazards group, or regional TUC or Trades Council are planning and taking part or organising a joint event;
  • If you are organising an event for Workers Memorial Day and would like it displayed on the TUC pages, then please email through the details to


For resources on Workers Memorial day including ribbons car stickers and posters contact the Greater Manchester Hazards centre or

Source: Hazards magazine

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Zimbabwe trade unions courageously engage in International Workers' Memorial Day activities

Despite the current political turmoil in the country, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) will be asking member trade unions to observe International Workers' Memorial Day by gathering in their workplaces to discuss safety and health strategies and the effect of putting in place sound occupational safety and health management systems.

Preparations are being made in cooperation with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), a public institution dedicated to the social protection to Zimbabwean workers and their families, including the Accident Prevention and Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund (WCIF).

At the same time, the ZCTU is asking its 400,000 members to link 28 April activities to events on 6 June, at which time they will commemorate the 427 miners who were killed in 1972 in the Kamandama Number Two Mine at Wankie Colliery in Hwange. This was one the world’s worst mine disasters, causing major changes in the mining process throughout southern Africa. Officials are hopeful that this year’s commemoration will not be cancelled for political reasons, as it was in previous years.

Trade Union Country Profiles (at left) show that Zimbabwe has a very high occupational accident fatality rate, at 21 deaths per 100,000 workers, and furthermore, that 1/3 of all adults are estimated to be infected by the HIV/AIDS, one of the highest rates in the world. As well, Zimbabwe continues to produce and export asbestos, and the international trade union movement is campaigning for a total ban on the production and use of this substance.

Contact Nathan Banda

Source: ITUC

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My life, my work, my safe work: Managing risk in the work environment

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has initiated its 28 April website for this year, which now includes materials it has produced for its selected themes: “My life, my work, my safe work - Managing risk in the work environment: Managing Risk in the Work Environment”.

A special report on the subject is now available, as well as a poster, bookmark and postcard, produced in English, French and Spanish

International Workers' Memorial Dayk has become an international campaign to promote safe, healthy, and decent work. This year, as in previous years, tripartite events will be taking place world wide. The website invites its government, employer and trade union constituencies to join in and promote this important day.

The ILO says that all managers and workers need to think about how to control and reduce risks in their own workplaces, to prevent injury and protect their own safety and health and it dentifies contributory causes and sectors that need to be addressed. “Managing risks in the work environment reduces both the human and the economic burdens of work-related accidents and ill health”.

Its 28 April report says that risk management techniques can help identify, anticipate and assess hazards and risks and positive action to control and reduce them can be taken:

  • eliminate or minimize risks at source
  • Reduce risks through engineering controls or other physical safeguards
  • Provide safe working procedures to reduce risks further.
  • Provide,wear and maintain personal protective equipment

A major focus of the report is for everyone to assume their role in making workplaces as safe and healthy as possible, including Government, employers and workers. The ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) is highlighted as an essential instrument for states to ratify and for providing workers with training about protective measures, information, on a regular basis about specific dangers at their jobs and about general hazards at their workplaces

The 28 April summary of activities, cited below now provides for each country the status of ratification for most ILO OHS Conventions, including Convention 155

Source: ITUC

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BWI: Ban asbestos appointment for trade union delegation on 28 April 2008 A BWI affiliate in India, has sent a letter (below)to the Canadian Embassy that is typical of appeals sent by the global union federation’s affiliates to embassies of the Canadian, Russian and Zimbabwean governments. The initiative forms part of BWI’s extensive activities for 28 April, Workers’ Memorial Day.

Hon.ble High Commissioner
High Commission
Govt. of Canada
7/8 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110 021


Greetings on behalf of DANMU!

Respected Sir,

We the affiliate of the Building and Wood Workers International appeal to the Canada Government to review its policy in promoting the usage of asbestos, especially in the developing countries. At least one death is reported every 5 minutes, and it will not be wrong to say that some jobs are effectively a death sentence. There is no safe and acceptable level of exposure. This is the preventable industrial health calamity of the modern era.

Canada Government is one of the largest exporters of asbestos and we - the trade unions are concerned about your government's apathy for the occupational and public health of citizens and workers throughout the world. Further the massive advertising campaigns in developing countries to make people believe that asbestos is safe, while the facts state the contrary is unethical.

Whilst forty industrialised countries have banned asbestos, and are using alternative materials, we urge that the Canada Government to also follow suit.

Please allocate time for our union delegation to meet you on 28th April 2008 so as to explain our position on this sensitive issue concerning health and safety of workers.

Yours sincerely,
General Secretary

Cc.For Information
Sis. Anita Normark Gen. Secretary BWI (Geneva)
Sis. Fiona Murie Director-OHS –BWI (Geneva)
Bro. Ambet Yuson Regional Representative A/P-BWI (Malaysia)
Bro. Dr. Rajeev Sharma, Project Director-S.A.O. BWI, New Delhi
Bro. M. A. Gaffar Education Director-S.A.O. -BWI, New Delhi
Bro.Anup Srivastava Project Coordinator-SAO-BWI, New Delhi

(General Secretary)
Delhi Asangathit Nirman Mazdoor Union
Affiliated With INTUC/BWI
New Delhi-110003
Tel: 01120261007 or 9868366532

Source: Hazards magazine

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IUF Workers Memorial Day 2008 – ban Endosulfan and save lives

Every year thousands of agricultural workers and small farmers are killed by pesticides; millions more are made ill. To commemorate Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2008, IUF is joining forces with Pesticides Action Network (PAN) and the Environmental Justice Foundation to target endosulfan.

Endosulfan is primarily used to kill insects and mites on crops including tea, coffee, cotton, fruits, vegetables, soya, rice and grains. It is one of the most widely-used cotton pesticides, and is applied to cotton grown in 28 countries. In India, home to the world’s largest cotton farming community, over 3,000 tonnes is applied to crops annually.

Why is it a problem?

Many cases of poisoning, including fatalities, have been reported - in Benin, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, and USA. It is one of the main causative agents of acute poisoning in Central America, in southern India and other areas.

Endosulfan has caused congenital birth defects, reproductive health problems, cancers, loss of immunity, neurological and neurobehavioural problems amongst villagers in Kerala (India) who were exposed to 26 years of aerial endosulfan spraying on neighbouring cashew nut plantations.

Endosulfan may be the most important source of fatal poisoning among West Africa’s cotton farmers. In Benin’s cotton industry, endosulfan caused 400 accidental poisonings, including 53 deaths, between 2000 and 2003 - 69% of all pesticide poisonings. In a single province in Benin, at least 37 people died from endosulfan poisoning in just one season.

Endosulfan is acutely toxic and is readily absorbed by the stomach and lungs and through the skin. Symptoms of acute exposure include central nervous system disorders such as dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. In severe cases, death can result. Long term exposure has been linked to kidney and liver damage and to damage to the developing foetus.
In 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that “Occupational assessment for endosulfan indicates short- and intermediate-term risks for mixers, loaders, and applicators for the majority of uses, even with maximum Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and engineering controls.”

According to PAN International "Effects in survivors include congenital deformities, delayed male sexual maturity, female hormonal disorders, congenital mental retardation, cerebral palsy, psychiatric disturbances, epilepsy, cancers, skin, eye, ear, nose and throat problems, impaired memory, and chronic malaise".

Action plan

2008 year presents two key opportunities to engage the international community in placing greater restrictions on the sale, distribution and use of endosulfan.

From October 13-17, 2008 the POPs Review Committee will be meeting in Geneva to assess the potential to include endosulfan under the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. An affirmative response from the Review Committee would trigger consideration at the political level leading to the potential global elimination of endosulfan in 2009.

Following this, from October 27-31, 2008 the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (PIC CoP4) will convene in Rome to decide on the inclusion of endosulfan in Annex III. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to press the international community to impose greater safeguards on the sale and distribution of endosulfan.

The IUF is calling on affiliates to:

lobby their government ministers to support adopting endosulfan into the Conventions;
help compiling evidence to assist in the campaign by sending any available documentary evidence on the negative health and environmental impacts of endosulfan for submission to the POPs Review Committee before 1 June 2008.

Source: Hazards magazine

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United Kingdom


Workers Memorial Day, London, April 28th 2008

Families, friends, unions and campaigners will
gather to remember those killed, injured and made
unwell by their work and call for action to stop
the damage being done. Representatives from all
groups will be available for interview, filming, photographs etc.

Workers Memorial Day is a global even held
annually. The motto for the day is: "Remember the
dead and fight for the living."


Protest march from Tate Modern to City Hall via
the headquarters of the UK's safety police, the
Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Gather 10.30am, Holland St, SE1 beside Tate Modern.
March to HSE for rally calling for more resources
for HSE and stronger enforcement of the UK's safety laws. March on to the Scoop beside City Hall for a rally 12.30 - 2.00pm (approx).

Speakers will include

  • Matt Wrack - Fire Brigades Union.
  • Family of Michael Alexa from the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group.
  • Bob Crow - RMT (subject to availability on the day).
  • Mike Hutin, father of Andrew Hutin, who died in
    the furnace explosion at Corus in Neath Port
    Talbot in 2001 and representing Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK).
  • Ann Elvin on the twentieth anniversary of the
    death of her son Paul at Euston station.
  • Eileen Beadle - East London Mesothelioma Support.
  • Susan Murray - TUC Gender and Occupational Safety and Health Working Party.
  • Anne Jones on the tenth anniversary of the death of her son Simon.
  • Tony OBrien - Construction Safety Campaign.
  • Speakers representing PCS and Prospect members at HSE.
  • Jim Boumelha - IFJ (subject to availability on the day).
  • Jimmy Parish - GMB Heat and Frost Branch.
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Speakers will talk about the devastating effect of losing a loved one at work; what is happening in their industry (eg. deaths in fire fighting); the continuing problems of asbestos and compensating the sick; how work damages women and men in different ways and the need for those gender differences to be taken into account; government underestimation and inaction on the numbers of cancers caused by work; how journalists globally face death and the criminal safety record of the construction industry. But most importantly speakers will call for government's to act to stop this and for workers to be given rights to protect themselves against dangerous employers.

The Construction Safety Campaign and construction
union UCATT are holding an event at the statue to
the unknown building worker at Tower Hill at 9.15am before joining these events. Other events are being organized around the UK and globally.

For more information contact

Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group - 07490 578 219.
Tony O'Brien. Construction Safety Campaign - 077 477 95954.
Families Against Corporate Killers - 0161 636 7557.

Union speakers can also be contacted through their union offices.

Source: Hazards magazine

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