Category Archives: Events listing

Canada: CUPE calls for full asbestos ban

On April 28, the Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job, CUPE is renewing its call for a comprehensive ban on asbestos in Canada—the number one cause of occupational death in Canada.

It’s estimated that asbestos-related diseases kill more than 2,000 people ever year in Canada. Many Canadians, including CUPE members, go to work every day in hospitals, schools, and other buildings that contain the deadly substance. Despite these facts, Canada continues to import asbestos in products like brake pads and cement pipes. In fact, just last year before losing power the Harper government actually made it easier to import products containing asbestos.

“The Harper government showed a repeated disregard for the health and safety of Canadians. This Liberal government now has an opportunity to show that they do care—that the lives of countless workers across Canada matter to them,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “It’s time to catch up with the rest of the world. On April 28, we’re calling on the Trudeau government to ban the import, export and use of asbestos in Canada.”

The federal government recently announced that they have banned the use of asbestos in the construction or renovation of federal buildings, but Hancock says if they’re serious, the government must go further.

“We’re happy to see progress on this issue, but unless they ban it completely, banning it in federal buildings alone just creates a sad double-standard,” said Hancock. “Banning asbestos isn’t hard! Fifty-six countries around the world have done it. All workers deserve this basic protection.”

Beyond failing to impose a domestic ban, Canada has long been one of a small handful of countries that opposed adding chrysotile asbestos to the hazardous chemical list covered by the United Nations Rotterdam Convention. Including asbestos in the convention would help protect workers both here in Canada and abroad by making it more difficult to import and export the deadly product.

Take action:

Attachments Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

Pakistan and Bangladesh: Rana Plaza anniversary

On 24 April 2016 workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan remembered the dead and demanded improved factory safety and punishment to those responsible for the tragedy. IndustriALL website

Read more: Workers demand justice on third anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse


Ukraine: Construction union presents report to Government on 28 April

BWI affiliate, Construction and Building Materials Industry Workers’ Union in Ukraine “Profbud” has prepared a critique of current legislation on H&S in the Ukraine construction industry. The 90 page report will be presented to government and industry on 28th April in an International Workers Memorial Day event, with a strong recommendation to ratify C167. The report will then be translated and submitted to the ILO.

Next year at the ILC there will be a discussion, in the Committee for Application of Standards, on ILO C167 on H&S in construction. The BWI has alerted affiliates and advised on comments for the ILC discussion.

Hazards at Work – get your copy now!

Ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day the TUC has published the new edition of their  best-selling guide to health and safety at work.

It is used by reps, officers, employers, professionals in the field and even enforcement officers.

This fifth edition is published at a time when the regulations that underpin workers’ protection are still under government scrutiny. It is no secret that cost-cutting and an obsession with ‘red tape’ lie behind the motives for reducing the impact of some laws, or even repealing others completely.

That is why trade union reps, officers and anyone with a practical interest in health and safety matters should have a copy of the 2016 edition of Hazards at Work. It explains the way unions organise to improve health, safety and welfare, how the law has changed in recent years and gives full details of the key legal provisions and how they are enforced.

As in previous editions, the ever-popular core of the book is the 24-chapter section on the common hazards and causes of ill health at work, and how to assess and prevent them.

The book is an A4 size, 368-page, single volume softback, with a section on people in ‘special’ categories, such as young workers, casual workers, agency workers and disabled workers. The book also contains HSE and other guidance, extensive checklists, case studies and web resources.

“There are still too many people living with, and dying of, workplace injuries and illnesses. This book is the TUC’s most comprehensive tool for understanding, assessing and dealing with workplace hazards.”
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary

Order your copy now!

There are two ways you can get hold of your copy of Hazards at Work:


On 28 April Norwegian unions will engage with social partners and the administration on OHS

For this 28th April, Norwegian national center LO and educational association AOF  are organizing a meeting to focus on occupational health and safety challenges for Norwegian workers, while also looking into the international picture. The program includes posts about work and health, work-related diseases and injuries, and work life/work environment issues, seen from the social partners’ side as well as from the Labour Inspectorate.

The full programme can be downloaded here

Slovenia: Unions demand new regulations on occupational health

Ljubljana, 22 April – The ZSSS trade union confederation has called on the government to adopt better regulations on occupational safety and health as it expressed support for a campaign to amend the directive on protection of workers from risks related to the exposure to carcinogens or mutagens.

Canada: CUPE events in Alberta


Every day, workers around the world are injured and killed while trying to earn a living. In Alberta, workplace deaths number in the hundreds per year.

On April 28th we pause to remember those injured and killed while working, and re-commit to improving conditions so further deaths will not occur.

The last year has sadly seen its share of workplace deaths and injuries. However, there is some good news. Alberta has joined other provinces in Canada in protecting agricultural workers under labour and health and safety laws. In the first three months of 2016, WCB Alberta has approved 159 applications for compensation from farmworkers – applications that would have been denied last year.

There is still much more to be done. Workplace deaths are preventable. Please keep working to make our jobs safer.

Click here to find out about April 28 events in your area.

On 28 April Brazilian unions will highlight how work accidents and environmental disasters are linked

brazil2016On 28th April, all Brazilian trade union confederations will commemorate the victims of occupational diseases and accidents by highlighting the case of the Mariana industrial accident, where more than sixteen workers died and which represents the biggest environmental catastrophe in Brazilian history. In November 2015, the collapse of a mining dam in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais led to the spread of between 40-62m cubic metres of the water and sediment from iron ore extraction at an open-cast mine operated by Samarco, a joint venture between mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale. The health and environmental consequences of this disaster are huge.

Joining the international theme, trade unions will point out to deficiencies in OHS law and lack of compliance, as well as the need to secure good union representation for workers in the mining sector.

Activities will start tomorrow 26th April, with a visit to the Mariana site, followed by a seminar on the 27th and end on the 28th with a public audience in the Minas Gerais parliament.

The programme and full background for the day can be found here:

For more information please contact Cleonice Caetano Souza, from UGT Brazil

Philippines: ALU and BWI to hold 28 April ceremonies at the gutted Kentex factory where 74 workers died

The Philippine government and businesses often brag of the country’s sustained impressive economic growth in the last five years, yet working Filipinos— many of which are young workers in the formal and informal sectors— who helped made this wealth possible remain measly-waged, accorded with inadequate social protection benefits, and are working in unhealthy and unsafe working conditions.

The Filipino working people’s unfortunate status is demonstrated by the May 13, 2015 Kentex factory fire incident in Valenzuela City which killed 74 workers—majority of which are young workers.  A post incident official government investigation showed grave violations of the general labour and occupational safety and health standards committed by Kentex employer despite a recent Certificate of Compliance (COC) inspection issued by government’s labor law compliance officers.The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and its global union federation partner Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) deem that this economic affluence must be equitably shared with Filipino workers and their families through existing laws and established social protection mechanism. It is also an opportunity to improve working conditions to avoid risks to workplace accidents and deaths.

However, Philippine government statistics show both the government’s enforcement and the employers’ compliance efforts in making these levers work are inefficient. In the Labor Law Compliance System (LLCS) accomplishment for 2015, General Labour Standard (GLS) compliance in the country was only at 73.18 percent while the Occupational Safety and Health Standards compliance was at 66.94 percent covering a total of 50,161 establishments out of the more than 900,000 registered establishments nationwide.

This widespread employer irresponsibility and recurring government inconsistency is encouraging further labor and safety and health rights of workers at greater risk to the worst forms of exploitation and abuse. The weak enforcement and selective compliance with labour regulations exposes workers to underpayment of wages, non-payment of social protection benefits and imperils the lives of workers to unsafe and hazardous elements and conditions.

It is, therefore, timely for ALU and BWI to hold this year’s International Workers Memorial Day on April 28thcandle-lighting memorial ceremonies at the Kentex factory in Valenzuela City for ALU and BWI to send a strong message to government on the need for them to strongly enforce labor laws and make violators accountable.The gathering of unions at the site where workers died due to negligence of Kentex employers will also a call for the recalcitrant Filipino employers to faithfully comply with the established Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and General Labour Standards (GLS).

Every candle that will be lighted, each poem that will be recited, each prayer that will be said by members of the union by the gate and walls of the gutted Kentex factory are actions symbolizing unions are vigilant and will always stood up for workers’ rights. The union-led commemoration at Kentex factory echoes BWI’s worldwide unions’ very urgent call for “Strong Laws, Strong Enforcement, and Strong Unions.”

Belgian unions highlight the harassment of sick workers to mark 28 April

On 28th April, the Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB) – Charleroi and the Centre de Défense et d’Action pour la Santé des Travailleurs (C-DAST) will organise a seminar in the Bois du Cazier. The seminar title is ‘After harassing the unemployed, now they harass the sick’. It will count with presentations on several occupational diseases and risks, as well as first hand testimonies of workers having suffered harassment after declaring occupational diseases. The event location is symbolic: a restored coal mine in which 262 miners died in 1956 following a technical accident.

You can download the programme here

For more information on FGTB Charleroi activities for this 28th April, please contact Philippe Vigneron,