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Hazards issue 126, April-June 2014
You can’t ignore International Workers’ Memorial Day
There’s no hiding from Workers’ Memorial Day. The annual 28 April event, where safety campaigners pledge to ‘remember the dead and fight like hell for the living’, this year saw activities worldwide, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The day, coordinated globally by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Hazards, is now far and away the biggest health and safety event in the world. This Hazards photofile gives a flavour of what went on.

SEEING HAZARDS  The 28 April poster produced by Hazards made appearances around the world, from Manchester to Melbourne. It features 9-year-old Australian schoolgirl Jetaime Medina, who lost her father Tony to the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. He was 42. With mum Maitea and brother Javier, 13, and sister Nadine, 11, the family is backing calls for tougher regulation and enforcement of workplace safety standards.

YOUTH ACTION  The youth section of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation (MaSZSZ-Ifi) staged a flash mob, highlighting a sharp rise in fatalities and injuries at work. The union body said “trade unions and trade union youth must act together with the workplace safety representatives to increase the level of prevention and safety culture. Special steps are necessary to raise the level of knowledge and awareness of young workers.”

SELF EVIDENT  The Hazards Campaign encouraged UK campaigners to tweet away their ‘health and selfies’ on 28 April, and thousands took notice. Among them was Kezia Dugdale, a Labour member of the Scottish parliament.

GRAVE MESSAGE  This union procession through New Brunswick was jointly organised by New Labor and the New Jersey Work Environment Council. It was one of thousands of events across the US.

BUILDING ACTION  Global construction union federation BWI has almost certainly done more put 28 April on the map than any other organisation. Its affiliates on every continent took to the streets, negotiated, lit candles, stopped work and arranged training, involving tens of thousands of workers in the process. BWI webpages

COMING HOME  Workers across the UK made this 28 April the most creative safety campaign the country has seen. In Manchester, activists took on the ‘Demented Daleks’ in the government who want to exterminate health and safety. UCATT organiser Mark Martin spoke at an event in Bradford, where workers on three large construction sites downed tools for two minutes respectful silence. In London, the sign said it all.

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There’s no hiding from International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Further information
See the ITUC/Hazards webpage

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