Tag Archives: 28 april

Australia: Workers have the power to make work safer – MUA

Jake Field, the Maritime Union of Australia national safety and training officer. Photo: MUA

Every year on April 28 workers around the world commemorate the lives of their workmates, loved ones and friends who have been tragically killed or had the trajectory of their lives thrown off course by a serious work-related injury or illness.

This year is no different.

During COVID-19 workers are still suffering; they are still dying and they are being injured and maimed on the job.

The statistics still reflect the inaction of governments and regulators and the callousness and greed of employers, who know they are never going to be at risk of a physical, mental or emotional injury from the work they do.

More in Green Left.

UK: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do – Unison

Blog: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do

by Dave Prentis, Genreal Secretary, Unison

… the nation will fall silent at 11am to honour and remember all of the health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

It’s an opportunity for us all to take a moment to pay our respects and give thanks to for the lives of those who saved lives, kept key services running and the rest of the country safe. It’s also a further opportunity to show our love to their families, and to remind everyone of the real danger that key workers are placing themselves in to keep our country going and our communities safe.

Our union has been leading the calls for this commemoration which takes place on International Workers Memorial Day. Every year, this is an important date for our union – but never more so than this year. The risk of death should never be something which any of us have to consider as part of our working lives, but for too many workers that is the ongoing reality of the fight against COVID-19.So while we pay our respects to those who have lost their lives, we continue to fight for better protection at work for everyone who needs it – whether those at risk during the current crisis, or any worker whose life is put at risk by their working conditions.

This virus has had a profound impact on all of our lives, but there are clearly those who are particularly affected. This virus has had a disproportionate impact on older people, Black communities and those with prior health conditions. It has also had a huge impact on those whose vital work means they cannot stay at home, including so many UNISON members – taking care of our loved ones, educating our children, keeping our streets safe or making sure that vital food and supplies are delivered – who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all.

Every minute this pandemic continues, people are making extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe and run our vital services.

That’s why we’ve issued this call for the whole country to take part and remember the sacrifices key workers have made. So wherever you are – at home or at work – please join us in a moment of silence at 11am tomorrow. To say thank you. To remember. To show our solidarity. To remember the dead, but also on International Workers Memorial Day, to fight for the living.

After all that key workers have already given to us all throughout this crisis, it is the very least that we can do.

Blog: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do | General secretary’s blog, News | News | UNISON National

Global: Workers’ Memorial Day Message from UNI GS Christy Hoffman | UNI Global Union

UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman has issued an International Workers’ Memorial Day message calling on us to honour the workers we have lost during the Covid-19 crisis, but to “fight like hell for the living.”

Using her personal experience and examples from UNI affiliates, GS Hoffman stresses the importance that unions play in establishing safe workplaces and holding employers accountable:

There are valuable lessons we must learn from this crisis.

And one that we must remember is the difference a union can make in terms of health and safety. And it is not only about negotiating the conditions of safe work — it is about representation and a voice on the job lead by rank and file workers. A union health and safety committee is a watchdog, making sure that employers don’t cut corners or require a pace of production that is too fast to be safe. They enable workers, those who are closest to the problem, to expose the hazards and recommend solutions.

Read the full message here. 

Additionally, UNI is joining the ITUC and other global unions in calling on governments and occupational health and safety bodies around the world to recognise Covid-19 first, as an occupational hazard and also an occupational disease.

https://www.uniglobalunion.org/news/workers-memorial-day-message-uni-gs-christy-hoffman

Australia: Unions call for compulsory Mental Health Code of Practice

Queensland Unions are calling for an enforceable mental health code of practice for all Queensland workplaces as communities confront challenges from the psychosocial hazards at work compounded by the psychological impact of coronavirus and bushfires.

This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April will focus on ensuring private and public sector workplaces acknowledge that they play a crucial role in the mental health of workers and their communities.

Workers Memorial Day in 2020 will be observed online, with a Facebook service at www.facebook.com/QueenslandUnions with prayers and messages of remembrance.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said the mental health impacts of coronavirus and associated work pressures, as well as the bushfire season, is already leading to heightened anxiety and concern among workers, many of whom are particularly worried about their ongoing employment security.

“A mental health code of practice is as important as any specific industry code, like managing risks of falls from heights, working in confined spaces, or manual handling tasks.

“A code of practice will reinforce to employers their current duty of care to ensure psychological health under the Work Health and Safety Act in Queensland and provide important guidance on how to eliminate or minimise the risk of psychosocial hazards.

“Managing psychosocial hazards like client abuse or workload anxiety is just as important as managing physical hazards like falls from heights,” he said.

Research by mental health support service Beyond Blue says one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.

Mr Clifford said mental ill-health also hurt employers, with a KPMG report in 2018 finding mental ill-health in the workplace costs an average of $3,200 per employee with mental illness, and up to $5,600 for employees with severe mental illness.

Suicide is also the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age.

Mr Clifford said there was an increased focus on psychosocial issues in workplaces.

For example, in some FIFO workplaces extended shifts are generating added stresses to workers and their families through social isolation and lack of support.

“Employers making changes to rosters and work practices can needlessly elevate stress and anxiety among workers, and also increase the risk of physical injury.”

Other workers are facing increased customer aggression within the COVID-19 environment escalating stress and anxiety levels for many frontline staff.

“It’s been a difficult year already in Queensland and Australia,” he said, “with loss of life and property experienced in the bushfires and now workers across many industries risking their health and safety to keep their communities safe and supplied.”

Last year 168 Australians were killed at work, and as at 17 April this year, 52 workplace fatalities have been recorded across the nation.

“Unions have always fought for stronger health and safety laws to make workplaces safer for workers and the public,” he said.

“Unions successfully called for industrial manslaughter laws in Queensland so that dodgy bosses go to jail if a worker dies in an unsafe workplace.

“There was a successful prosecution this year after a worker died in a forklift accident in Brisbane.

“With so many people experiencing rises in mental health illnesses such as anxiety from their work, a mental health code of practice will be just as important to ensure stronger workplace safety laws,” he said.

https://www.queenslandunions.org/unions-call-for-compulsory-mental-health-code-of-practice/

Global: Workers around the world send their 28 April messages [Video]

Italy: Cgil, Cisl and Uil say health and safety – and therefore prevention- as a right of all

The national secretaries of Cgil, Cisl and Uil Rossana Dettori, Angelo Colombini and Silvana Roseto remember on this April 28 #iwmd20 that “The first of the values of work and the essential condition for which it can fully deploy its potential is health and safety – and therefore prevention- as a right of all”. https://bit.ly/2WajOUG