Category Archives: 2020 Australia

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.

Australia: So many suffer so much in the name of corporate greed [Poem]

So many suffer so much
in the name of corporate greed.
Too many lives are lost
This is not chance,
There is no need.
While grieving families weep
The legal system sweeps
Justice underneath
A tissue made of lies
Facts are stolen,
Truth sickens and dies.

But however long it takes
This much we know
When working men and women
Stand together,
Shoulder to shoulder
Millions strong
There is no wrong
That can survive
Against the light
Of unity love and justice
That’s why we fight.

Dedicated to the memory of all workers killed on construction sites.
And to the families who mourn them.


Australia: NSW nurses union remember their colleagues – [Video]

NSW nurses union remember their colleagues who have died at work over the past year.  NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association

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 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.

Australia: ACTU Secretary’s 28 April video message

Sally McManus Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions “Mourn the dead, fight like hell for the living”

Australia: International Workers Memorial Day Ceremony – VTHC

Today is International Workers’ Memorial Day. Join us, and some special guests, as we pay our respects to workers killed in the workplace over the past year. Every worker deserves to come home safely at the end of the day, and on this day we pledge to remember the dead and fight like hell for the living.

Current circumstances preclude us from being together on this day of remembrance, but we are together in spirit and in solidarity as we conduct this year’s ceremony online. VTHC


Tasmania: Every worker deserves a safe workplace, teachers too

As the debate about schools rage, it’s worth noting Tuesday is International Workers’ Memorial Day when we remember workers who didn’t come home.

Tasmania: Unions to commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day – Tasmanian Unions

Union and community members are being urged to tune in online on 28 April this year as the Covid-19 pandemic prevents face to face commemorative services being held to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. Read the details here

Australia: Stop the pandemic, protect health and safety, save lives – ACTU

ACTU Assistant Secretary, Liam O’Brien has sent the following message regarding International Workers’ Memorial Day:

Every worker has the right to safe, healthy and respectful work. In times like COVID-19, these rights are more important than ever.

Next Tuesday on International Workers’ Memorial Day, we remember those who weren’t afforded this right. We remember those who were tragically injured and lost their lives at work.

This year’s global theme for International Workers’ Memorial Day is Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives. This is an important opportunity to highlight what must be done to ensure workers’ health is protected during COVID-19, including psychological health.

Here’s some ways that you can get involved:

  1. Remember the dead, fight for the living

Attend an online International Worker’s Day memorial event on Tuesday 28 April.Click here to find your local event or activity.

  1. Remember those who passed away and acknowledge today’s struggle

Share your story on social media and use the hashtag #IWMD2020 [and #IWMD20]. It could be memories of someone close to you or a shout out to an essential worker.

  1. Fight for the future

Stay connected, join your union and continue the fight for health and safety, whether at work or working from home.

Everyone has a right to be safe and healthy, have a good, secure job and return to their family and friends at the end of the day. Australian Unions will never give up this fight.

In solidarity,

Liam O’Brien, Assistant Secretary

Australia: ACTU shareables and pointers on 28 April events

International Workers’ Memorial Day takes place annually around the world on April 28 – it is an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, Trades and Labour Councils (TLCs) around Australia will be holding their events online this year.

You can find details of the various TLC events here.

The ACTU has also prepared some shareables that all are welcome to use.

Australian Council of Trade Unions
Level 4/365 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
t (03) 9664-7340 f (03) 9600-0050
e w
Facebook /AustralianUnions
Twitter @UnionsAustralia
Instagram @AusUnions