Here are the first photos of Workers Memorial Day events:
York Trades Council gathering at the National Centre for Early Music to hear Ken Loach speak and show his film Riff Raff
Trade Unionists in Leeds gather for the unveiling and dedication of the new Workers Memorial Stone outside the library.
The new stone with wreaths
There is still time to visit the exhibition of relevant material compiled from the Leeds Library and Information Service Local and Family History collection on the first floor of Leeds Central Library. This will run until Friday 5th May so do have a look if you are in Leeds this week as it is very interesting and informative.
Less than one in three women are given protective clothing specifically designed for women, according to a report published by the TUC today (Friday). more
Campaign and support group Families Against Corporate Killers has released a statement ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day calling on the UK government to recognise work related suicide:
“If we’re to effectively fight for the living, we must recognise work-related suicide – just as they do in Japan, Australia and France – and work to eliminate the causes. We must resist the move to resilience as a means of tackling stress, and instead focus on removing or fixing the hazards, rather than fixating on fixing the worker.”
The TUC has published a new guide for trade union representatives to help them take gender differences between men and women into account when identifying health and safety concerns at work.
Gender in occupational health and safety says that historically the health and safety needs of men in the workplace have been prioritised over women. Risk prevention has focused on visibly dangerous work – largely carried out by men – in industries like construction and mining, with an assumption that the kind of work that women do is safer.
However, the guidance argues that a gender-stereotyped or ‘one size fits all’ approach is now out-of-date. It has been issued in the run up to International Workers’ Memorial Day next week (Friday 28 April), the theme of which this year is ‘good health and safety for all workers – whoever they are’.
Where the differences between men and women are taken into account when assessing risk and deciding suitable risk control solutions, there is a greater chance of ensuring that the health, safety and welfare of all workers is protected, says the TUC.
The new guide outlines some of the main health and safety risks women can face at work:
- Back pain: Women tend to suffer more from pain in the upper back and limbs as a result of repetitive work in both manufacturing and offices, while men tend to suffer more from lower-back pain from exerting high force at work.
- Violence and harassment: Women tend to work in lower-paid and low-status jobs where bullying and harassment are more common, while men predominate in better-paid, higher status jobs and supervisory positions.
- Not having the right tools: Women working in male professions like construction, engineering and the emergency services are at risk from inappropriately designed tools.
The handbook also provides a checklist for trade union representatives to help them pursue issues around gender at work – including questions about whether sex and gender differences are taken into account in manual handling risk assessments, and in assessments of postural problems including prolonged standing or sitting.
The findings should help union reps encourage employers to take action on the issues that will make a real difference to the health, safety and welfare of women in their workplaces.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People come in all shapes and sizes and when it comes to health and safety, the ‘one size fits all’ approach is old-fashioned and dangerous. Nowhere is that clearer then when looking at gender.
“Pressing for healthy, safe workplaces for everyone is part and parcel of the union rep’s role, and the TUC’s new gender checklist will help reps to pursue issues around gender in the workplace, and make sure that all workers have the best possible protection from illness or injury.
“Safety studies show that workers are twice as likely to be seriously injured in a non-unionised workplace. I would urge any man or woman worried about their health and safety at work to join a union, to make sure that their concerns are heard and that their interests are protected.”
Notes to Editors:
– Gender in occupational health and safety is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Gender%202017.docx
– Trade unions have been at the forefront of a number of campaigns to ensure that women’s health and safety at work is taken seriously, including:
- Toilets for train drivers: ASLEF campaigned for the proper provision of toilets. Male drivers had endured poor provisions by coping with containers, this was plainly very difficult for female drivers. Station facilities for all staff were upgraded as a result.
- Violence against women: USDAW has run the Freedom from Fear campaign for shop workers – who are predominantly women – since 2002, working with major retail employers, the police and politicians to make workplaces safer for all staff and customers.
- Breastfeeding at work: Unite took up cases of cabin crew members who were new mothers whose employer’s rostering was not compatible with their need to breastfeed their babies. This case confirmed working women’s right to continue breastfeeding after returning to work and obligation on employers to accommodate this.
– International Workers’ Memorial Day serves as a reminder to workers across the globe that many of them are at daily risk of accidents, injury and illness at work. The event is an international annual day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled and injured by their work. For more information about the TUC’s involvement in the day please visit www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/workers-memorial-day
Hazards Campaign has produced a set of six large banners based on the 28 April theme ‘Unsafe and unfair – discrimination on the job hurts us all’. The banners will be displayed initially at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, UK – 21st April – 1 May 2017.
Banner 1 Fair enough? We are all sickened by inequality at work
Banner 2 Working women at risk
Banner 3 Racism hurts at work
Banner 4 The gig economy
Banner 5 Exporting inequalities
Banner 6 Unions make work safer
Workers need protection from the upsurge in racist assaults and abuse at work since the Brexit vote last year, the TUC has said. The The ‘shocking results’ of a poll of over 1,000 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) working adults by the TUC and ICM revealed over a third had witnessed or experienced racial abuse in the seven months following the referendum vote and almost one in five (19 per cent) had suffered or witnessed a racial assault.
Each year on the 28th April trade unions around the world organise events to celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day. This year, the BWI is pleased to confirm the international theme “Unions Make Work Safer.”
Considerable responsibility falls on trade unions to ensure that employers take steps to avoid health risks and save workers’ lives as workers continue to be killed, injured and made sick whilst carrying out routine jobs. The hazards are well known and so are the prevention measures. The overwhelming majority of “accidents” are absolutely predictable and preventable. They are caused by failure to manage risks, or by straightforward negligence on the part of the employer.
Against this background, BWI affiliates all over the world are encouraged to campaign and pick up one or several sub themes hereunder:
- cement, construction and wood: “One death is too many”. BWI’s recent survey on cement stresses that 83% of fatalities in the cement sector are taking place in subcontracted operations. 30% of the cement plants surveyed report at least one death over the last 3 years and 60% recognize occupational diseases. Figures that contrast with managerial practices since 20% of the plants still do not have regular medical visits for workers. In construction and wood industries, for almost all key risks – chemicals, dusts, manual handling, physical hazards, and psychosocial hazards – exposures are routine and excessive. Sawmills are by far the most dangerous workplaces, and are increasingly subcontracted and informal, leading to deteriorating conditions for workers.
- migrants: “No to xenophobia at work”. In many countries throughout the world, migrant workers are faced with unsafe, dirty, and dangerous working conditions. At the same time, they fall victim to racism and xenophobia particularly more so due to the rise of anti-migrant and xenophobic rhetoric.
- women: “No to gender based violence at work”. More than 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Between 40% and 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
- asbestos kills: “Ban asbestos – the killer dust”. At least 100,000 people die from asbestos diseases every year, according to international estimates. The real figure is certainly even higher than that as there is no reliable recording of the medical cases in many countries. Furthermore, many victims do not know that they were exposed to asbestos and, because of the long time lag between exposure and the emergence of the symptoms, asbestos diseases are not correctly diagnosed, treated, compensated or, most importantly, prevented.
Please ensure you send us the details of your planned activities, any resources and artwork you produce for 28 April 2017. You are invited to send them to us by email firstname.lastname@example.org
We will post all these materials on the BWI website.
Amandla! Power to the Workers.
The TUC’s webpages for Workers’ Memorial Day have gone live. The 28 April event is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK government. According to the new TUC online resource: “In 2017 the theme for the day is ‘Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are’ and will focus on inequalities in occupational health and the role unions play in narrowing the inequalities gap. The TUC will particularly want to focus on the hidden and new GIG economies, the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and class.” The page includes organising ideas and a listing of planned events around the country – make sure yours isn’t missed off the list.
TUC Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 webpages. Email details of your 28 April event to the TUC health and safety department. ITUC/Hazards global 28 April events and resources page.