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28 APRIL 2004
Workers Memorial Day construction workers protest at Wembley stadium
STRONG UNIONS +TOUGH SAFETY LAWS =
Patrick O'Sullivan was killed on 15th January this year after falling 100 feet when working on the new Wembley Stadium. This is a £757million project due to be open for the FA Cup Final in 2006.
The Construction Safety Campaign is going to march down Wembley Way and lay a wreath for Patrick on Workers Memorial Day. We hope building workers in London will stop work and join us for a short rally to pay respect to Patrick. We would also like to dedicate the rally to other Construction workers such as Chris Kesterton aged 16 who was killed and whose court case we attended in January with his family; to the memory of Michael Whittard, Martin Burgess, Peter Clark killed in May 2001 in the Canary Wharf Crane crash whose inquest we attended in December; and to Ionut Simionica who was killed on the day of the Construction Safety Summit, whose inquest we attended and whose case comes up in court in June. We should not forget those workers killed abroad, the construction of the Athens Olympic facilities has already claimed the lives of 10 construction workers. They are being built with non-union labour - We want this carnage to be stopped.
At least 59 killed on UK construction sites this year
And the year is not over.
In 2003 the average fine for killing construction workers was less than £30,000 and NO CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYER WENT TO PRISON.
Far from reforming the law on involuntary manslaughter and introducing a new offence of corporate killing, as promised in the New Labour 1997 and 2001 manifestos, they are again about to consult on this legislation and have made it clear their proposals do not involve directors being sent to prison - We want employers who kill workers jailed
Kill a worker get a fine: kill a swan get sent to jail.
The following 'crimes' have been dealt with more severely than death at work. We are not making them up.
Three-months in jail for naked walker Stephen Gough.
Two years in jail for a teenager spray painting graffiti on London Underground.
Six months in jail for a man who bit two police officers on the hand.
Three months jail for a man who killed a swan. The Chairman of the bench at Exeter Magistrates' Court said: "We consider the offence was so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified." Was this magistrate real?
Jailed for fighting for workers rights.
Remember 1984: over 400 Miners pickets jailed
1974: Shrewsbury Builders jailed
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the yearlong battle by the NUM to protect jobs. Despite the inherent dangers, deep coal mining was safer in the UK because of two hundred years of struggle by organised labour. Twenty years on we import coal from Colombia, where children are forced to work in mines, and where trade unionists are murdered by state and multinationals supported right wing gangsters. Also this year marks the 30th anniversary of the jailing of Des Warren, Ricky Tomlinson, Arthur Murray and others whose only crime was to take part in the 1972 Building Workers Strike for decent pay working conditions - We want a full pardon and compensation paid to these workers.
The government have failed to deliver the promised "trade unions roving safety reps". The construction safety advisers are a sad compromise with few powers and no rights to inspect. Trade unions do not have automatic access to all sites with members or potential members as they do in other countries - We want roving safety reps with legal powers of access & to stop dangerous work.
Protect Migrant Workers
Thousands of migrant workers work in London including on London building sites. Their work is vital to the economy. But like the cocklepickers in Morecambe Bay they face the worse conditions and are most at risk of being killed at work. We believe that any deaths of migrant workers are caused not just by exploitation by gangmasters; but are the fault of those at the top levels of the industry who encourage casual employment; and are the fault of the government's right wing asylum policies which prevent asylum seekers from working legally. Until this changes the government has blood on its hands. We want all workers to join trades unions and be united by fighting together for proper safety and conditions at work.
Workers require new asbestos safety regulations
Revised Control of Asbestos regulations were introduced in 2002 with a two year delay which allowed employers to prepare for its introduction. While these new laws dont go far enough, the HSE have just announced that most employers are still not in compliance with these laws. At the same time restrictions continue on Domestic properties, Risk control levels and Contracts compliance. WHAT A SCANDAL as thousands more will continue to die from asbestos contamination.
Assemble across the road from Wembley Park Tube (Olympic Way)
11.30 am, 28th April 2004.
Remember the dead fight for the living
HAZARDS MAGAZINE WORKERS' HEALTH INTERNATIONAL NEWS