Workers Memorial Day 28 April 2016 - "Strong Laws - Strong Enforcement - Strong Unions"

The CWU Health, Safety and Envornment Department is urging all union members to support the annual Worker's Memorial Day event held every 28th April.

Dave Joyce, the Union's National Health, Safety & Environment Officer has written to the Union's branches giving details of the event. Here Dave provides the background to the annual event:

'International Workers Memorial Day takes place annually around the world on April 28 every year. On this day, the CWU along with other Unions across the World remember those workers, especially CWU members, who have died at work. Trade unionists around the world join together to mark this day of mourning.

This worldwide day of reflection is a day of remembrance for workers killed, injured or made ill by their work was designated to honour the workers who have died at work of occupational injuries or illnesses and those injured or made ill by work every year. It is also a day on which workers call for safer workplaces and working conditions.

The Workers Memorial Day purpose and slogan behind Workers Memorial Day is “Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living”.

Workers' Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.  

The TUC, all UK Trade Unions along with those in Europe and across the World will be focusing on these areas, by considering commemoration events or memorials to remember all those killed through work but at the same time committing to fight to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building strong trade union organisation, representation and campaigning for stricter enforcement of safety laws and standards with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws. Decades of struggle by workers and their Unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions.

But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous. Each year, 2 million workers die due to unsafe or unhealthy work and workplaces around the globe. Millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs. Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents".

They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers.

The TUC and CWU believe that we should use the day to highlight the need for strong regulation at national, European and global level. We need to stop companies in the UK from benefitting from the lack of health and safety standards that lead to disasters:-

  • Every 15 Seconds a worker dies somewhere in the World.
  • Every 15 Seconds 150 Workers have an accident at work.

We also need a strong strategy on health and safety from the European Commission which will raise standards throughout Europe, while in the UK we need an end to the cuts in enforcement and regulation and instead take action to tackle the huge number of occupational diseases and injuries.'

The full letter to branches contains a full briefing on the day, and is a valuable document that can be used by all CWU branches to promote the day and memorial events which take place across the country.

The letter to branches (LTB231/2016) which consists of the following, can be downloaded here:

  • Theme
  • WMD History
  • International Statistics
  • UK Statistics
  • Work-Related Road Deaths
  • Suicides
  • Work-related Illness Deaths
  • CWU Conference & International Workers Memorial Day 2016
  • WMD Events
  • Resources - Ribbons and Car Stickers etc.
  • Damage to Health and Safety by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government 2010-15 and Conservative Government 2015 to date
  • Threat from EU International Trade Deals
  • "CWU Protect Health & Safety Campaign" - Health & Safety Election Manifesto:
  • Labour Party

Source: CWU