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    Unions tribute to victims of accidents in the workplace

    WORKERS Memorial Day is when all working people should pause for thought and remember workers who have died at work, and the families whose lives have been changed forever.

    Worker’s Memorial Day is on April 28 each year, and all over the world workers and their representatives hold events, demonstrations, vigils and a host of other activities to mark the day.

    It is also intended to serve as a rallying cry to not only remember the dead, but fight for the living.

    The TUC co-ordinates activities across the country, publishing a comprehensive list of events and suggestions.Ian Ducat, regional secretary of UNISON SW, said: “The Trade Union movement can claim credit for its role in many successful campaigns that have improved life in Britain.

    “Universal suffrage, the end of child labour, equal pay, a decent pension and an end to discrimination on grounds of race, age and sexual orientation come easily to mind.

    “But probably none is more important that the work we have done to improve health and safety at work. People are immeasurably safer at work now because unions have fought to make every workplace safer and healthier.

    He added: “The list is too long to begin to mention them all.

    “We have campaigned to make machinery safer, ban dangerous substances, improve the working environment and eliminate hazards of all sorts.

    “Even in these more progressive times our work is not done. We continue to champion the cause of welfare and health at work on issues such as bullying and stress related sickness.

    “We also continue to take legal action against callous and negligent employers, winning millions of pounds in damages every year for injured members.”

    Workers’ Memorial Day is an excellent opportunity to remember the victims of poor safety and to pay tribute to the work of the Trade Union pioneers and the thousands of safety representatives who still fight to make it unacceptable to neglect the safety, health and welfare of workers.

    Workers’ Memorial Day has been a global day of action since 1996, when it was taken up by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

    It is now marked in more than a hundred countries.

    Kevin Beazer, CWU SW regional secretary, said: “The Communication Workers’ Union is proud to support Workers’ Memorial Day, our union members are well aware of the potential dangers they may face at work whether out on deliveries in the postal sector, or dealing with technical faults in the telecommunications industry.

    “Although we have good health and safety legislation at the moment, this must be protected for the future of workers.. Unfortunately, even with decent health and safety rules this has not meant we have eradicated people dying or being injured at work.

    “The CWU is resolute in its determination to prevent circumstances where workers lives and their health are put at risk when they are at work.

    “A place of work should always be a safe one and this event is a stark reminder of how people are still losing their lives.”

    For help and advice at work, go to UNISON’S Help at Work site.

    Bristol Evening Post 28.4.10