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.
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.