Category Archives: 2017

BWI: 28 April Unions make work safer!

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

    We will post all these materials on the BWI website.

    Amandla! Power to the Workers.

USA 2017 Workers Memorial Day materials are ready

The 2017 Workers Memorial Day materials are ready. The theme this year is “Safe. Jobs. Every Worker’s Right.” The materials have been posted on the AFL-CIO website.

Multiple copies of materials are available for ordering (order form available on the AFL-CIO website). I urge you to distribute the materials widely and to organize or participate in Workers Memorial Day events. (A website for posting and listing events will be available shortly).

After years of struggle we won new rules to protect workers from deadly silica dust and beryllium, a tougher coal dust standard for miners and stronger anti-retaliation protections for workers who report job injuries. But these hard-won gains are now threatened. The Trump administration has launched an all-out assault on regulations. The president has ordered that for every new protection, two existing safeguards must be removed from the books. At the same time Republicans in Congress have moved quickly to overturn new rules issued by the Obama administration.  Agency budgets and enforcement programs are on the chopping block. The safety and health of workers and the public are in danger.

We need to organize and fight back. Please get involved and organize actions, activities, or observances in your workplaces and communities to highlight the toll of job injuries and deaths. Demand that elected officials put workers’ well-being above corporate interests. And demand jobs that are safe and healthy and pay fair wages. Make it clear that the labor movement will defend the right of every worker to a safe job and fight until that promise is fulfilled.

For additional information and to order copies of materials, please contact the AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department at 202-637-5366, or visit the AFL-CIO website at:

In Solidarity,

Peg Seminario
Safety and Health Director

USA: Study exposes racial inequalities in work injuries

Fewer economic opportunities may be exposing black and Hispanic workers in the US to an increased risk of workplace injury, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Southern California and Boston University found that even after adjusting for variables such as education, sex and age, black and foreign-born Hispanic workers often worked in jobs with the highest injury risks and as a result experienced higher rates of work-related disabilities.

Seth A Seabury, Sophie Terp and Leslie I Boden. Racial and ethnic differences in the frequency Of workplace injuries And prevalence of work-related disability, Health Affairs, volume 36, number 2, pages 266-273, February 2017. The Pump Handle. Risks 789

28 April theme – unsafe and unfair, discrimination on the job hurts us all

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has confirmed the broad theme for Workers’ Memorial Day this year will be ‘Unsafe and unfair –discrimination on the job hurts us all’. The global trade union body is urging unions to examine in their campaign activities for the 28 April event the “measures needed to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our workplaces, due among others, to gender, origins, class and/or sexual orientation.”

ITUC/Hazards 28 April 2017 website and global events listing. Twitter: #iwmd17. 28 April global activities facebook page.
Sign up for ITUC 28 April updates!
TUC 28 April 2017 webpages and events listing. Risks 789

Britain: TUC Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 webpages go live!

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.

Thème du 28 avril 2017 CONFIRME : Dangereux et injuste – la discrimination au travail est une nuisance pour tou(te)s

Bonjour à toutes et à tous

Tout d’abord je voudrais vous remercie pour les réactions positives a notre suggestion pour le thème de cette année. Cette fois donc, et toujours sous le chapeau du slogan « les syndicats rendent le travail plus sur » nous allons inviter le mouvement syndical à considérer les actions nécessaires pour protéger ceux les plus vulnérables sur les lieux de travail, à cause entre autres, de leur genre, leurs origines, classe ou orientation sexuelle. Nous vous serions très reconnaissants si vous puissiez nous envoyer des documents produits par votre syndicat sur ces sujets pour nourrir le document international de référence sur le sujet.

Nous avons donné quelques exemples de slogans en anglais, mais j’invite les francophones intéressés à m’appeler pour qu’on trouve ensemble des phrases d’accroche qui marchent en français.

Nous avons déjà reçu la confirmation du TUC du Royaume Uni   sur leur volonté de reprendre notre thème et appeler à protéger « ceux pour lesquels la sécurité est cachée » et se focaliser sur l’économie des plateformes, les risques auxquels les migrants et les femmes font face.

L’AFLCIO aux Etats Unis a déjà lancé un poster qui reprend aussi notre thème.

Réseaux sociaux: vous pouvez désormais utiliser le #iwmd17
 sur Twitter et poster des nouvelles sur Facebook.

N’oubliez pas de nous envoyer vos activités, documents et posters pour le 28 Avril. Et rappelez vous de nous donner votre email pour qu’on vous ajoute à la liste électronique du 28 avril si vous ne recevez pas encore les emails directement.

Liste d’envoi 28 Avril: Inscrivez-vous sur notre liste d’envoi

Merci encore pour votre soutien !

Rory, Jawad and Anabella (l’équipe du 28 avril)

Tema para el 28 de Abril 2017 CONFIRMADO: Inseguro e injusto – la discriminación en el trabajo nos daña a todos/as

Hola a todos y todas

Antes que nada, agradecerles a todos por sus reacciones positivas al tema sugerido para el 28 de Abril 2017. Esta vez, y como siembre bajo el lema genérico “los sindicatos hacen el trabajo mas seguro”, estaremos invitando a los sindicatos a poner énfasis en las acciones necesarias para proteger la salud y seguridad de aquellos mas vulnerables en los lugares de trabajo, sea entre otras por razones de género, origen, clase u orientación sexual. Nos encantaría recibir documentación que hayan desarrollado en el sindicato sobre estos temas para alimentar el documento internacional de referencia sobre el tema para el 28 de abril.

Pusimos ejemplos de slogans en inglés, pero invito a los hispanohablantes interesados a que me llamen y que busquemos juntos slogans que funcionan en castellano.

Ya recibimos confirmación de parte del TUC de Reino Unido  sobre su voluntad de retomar el tema y focalizarse en “proteger a los que están escondidos de la seguridad” y focalizarse en los trabajadores “ocultos” y los de la economía de plataformas, así como los migrantes y las cuestiones de género.

La AFLCIO de Estados Unidos ya ha puesto en circulación un poster para el día que se refiere a nuestro tema común.

Redes sociales: ya pueden empezar a usar el #iwmd17
en Twitter y colgar actividades en Facebook

No duden en enviarme detalles de sus actividades, materiales o posters que produzcan para el 28 de Abril. Y recuerden, denos su dirección de email para que lo incluyamos en la lista electrónica del 28 de abril.

Lista de envío 28 Abril: Suscribirse a nuestra lista de envío

Les agradezco una vez más por su compromiso

Rory, Jawad y Anabella (el equipo del 28 de abril)


28 April 2017 theme CONFIRMED: Unsafe and unfair –discrimination on the job hurts us all

Dear friends,

Thanks a lot for your positive feedback on the theme for 28th April 2017. This time, and always under the broad umbrella of “unions make work safer”, we are inviting trade unions to consider addressing all actions needed to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our workplaces, due among others, to gender, origins, class and/or sexual orientation. We’d be very pleased to get any background documents/research on these issues you might have developed in your union to help elaborating the international background document for the day.

Here are some suggested taglines:

  • Inequality is a pain in the workplace
  • Safe work for women, safe work for all
    Workplace safety is a class issue
  • Occupational disease is a class issue
  • Profit and loss: When irresponsible firms put production first, workers can pay a deadly price
  • Racism hurts at work
  • Fair enough? We are all sickened by inequality at work
  • Inequality at work makes us sick
  • United we stand: Divided we cough, ache, limp, itch, wheeze and die

We have already received confirmation from the TUC UK  on their willingness to take on this issue calling to “protect those hidden from safety” and focus on the hidden and new GIG economies, the risks faced by migrant workers and the issue of gender.

The AFL-CIO in the US has already released a poster that refers to our common theme as well:

Social media: you can start using #iwmd17
in Twitter and posting news in the Facebook Group

Please ensure you send me details of your planned activities, any resources and artwork you produce for 28 April 2017. And please remember to give us your email to be included in the 28th April e-list.

28 April mailing list: Subscribe to our mailing list

Thanks again to you all for your commitment!

Rory, Jawad and Anabella (the 28th April team)

If you work in a safe workplace and want everyone to know, AFL-CIO has the sign for you

If you work in a safe workplace and want everyone to know, AFL-CIO has the sign(s) for you! Anxiety and fear are on the rise, and one way to combat them is to let people know that the workplace they are in is a place that doesn’t tolerate hate and harassment. The sign makes it clear that your workplace will not tolerate racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia or transphobia.

Download the sign in English and in Spanish (the Spanish version is on page 2 of the document).