Category Archives: 2019 Scotland

Scotland: International Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 – remember the dead, fight for the living

Staff at UNISON Scotland gathered on Monday 29 April to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day 2019.

Each year on International Workers’ Memorial Day (April 28) we remember the dead and fight for the living. This year’s theme is ‘dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace’.

Around the world one worker dies every 15 seconds. Up to 50,000 people die each year in the UK. Although few UNISON members die in workplace incidents many suffer injuries and work related ill health, from stress or back pain to RSI, bullying, harassment, and workplace violence. These affect them and their families.

Health and safety in our workplaces protects those at work. It also protects those in the wider community. Whether it is a hospital, school or care home, our elderly and vulnerable relatives, our children and our communities are also protected by measures intended to keep everyone safe from harm.

UNISON knows that the key to providing a good and safe service is well-trained employees who have the time and protective equipment to do their job properly.

Today we remember all those killed through work and at the same time continue to work to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated. We will do that by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws. It is a day to remember those who have died or been injured at work.

Unison Scotland

UK: Work cancer risk warning after government safety cuts

New evidence confirming a cancer risk to tyre and rubber workers may go ignored because of the UK government’s safety deregulation and cuts, the union Unite has warned. The union was commented after research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that workers in the tyre and rubber industry remain at significant risk of developing cancers caused by exposure to N-nitrosamines and rubber dust.

Unite noted the study findings were “particularly timely as it comes just before International Workers’ Memorial Day as the theme for this year’s event is dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace,” with the 28 April global event having a particular focus on occupational cancer prevention. The union, which represents thousands of workers in the industry, says it is unable to properly address the new health concerns as there is no longer an effective body where it can raise such issues. It charges that this “is a result of the Conservative government’s attacks on safety laws.”

The union says the  UK government safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), previously had a Tyre and Rubber Industries Safety Action Group (TRISAG), with active involvement of both employers and unions, where safety concerns could be raised and dealt with. “However TRISAG has been scrapped as a result of government pressure and no similar body has replaced its work,” Unite says.

The new study confirms earlier findings that “N-nitrosamines exposures are associated with mortality from cancers of the bladder, lung, stomach, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, oesophagus, prostate, pancreas and liver.”

Unite national officer for the rubber industry Tony Devlin said: “This authoritative study is a stark reminder of the long-term health implications of being exposed to rubber. These dangers are being neglected as a direct result of the government’s cuts which are denying workers an effective voice in the corridors of power.” He added: “The lack of an effective forum to deal with exposure to cancer causing substances is another example of how the government has washed it hands of workplace health and safety. Cancer deaths will not be reduced unless effective measures are taken to cut exposure levels to N-nitrosamines and rubber dust.”

Unite news release. Mira Hidajat and others. Lifetime exposure to rubber dusts, fumes and N-nitrosamines and cancer mortality in a cohort of British rubber workers with 49 years follow-up, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 76, number 4, pages 250-258, April 2019. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105181
Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish.

Scotland: 28 April map and events listing from Scottish Hazards

Scottish Hazards has developed a map of memorials established across Scotland to commemorate International Workers Memorial Day as well as recording other memorials commemorating workers who have lost their lives in workplace tragedies and individuals who have left for work never to return to their families.

Pictures of memorials and individual cases will be added to in the coming weeks and months and if you know of any family who would like their story told please  contact Scottish Hazards.

Likewise if you know of a memorial in your community that marks an incident where workers have been killed at work please send details to info@scottishhazards.org

AberdeenPersley Walled Garden, Bridge of DonSunday 28th April12.30pm for 1.00pm
AlexandriaMemorial Tree, Christie ParkSaturday 27th April,1.00pm
AlloaWorkers Memorial adjacent to Clackmannanshire Council HeadquartersFriday 26th April10.30am
BathgateWorkers Memorial, Bathgate Sports Centre, Torpichen RoadSunday 28th April12.30pm
BonnyriggMichael McGahey Memorial, George V Park, BonnyrigSunday, 28 April12.30pm
ClydebankTruth and Justice Square,  Dumbarton RoadSaturday 27 April11.00am
CoatbridgeSummerlee Industrial Museum, Heritage Way, CoatbridgeSunday 28th April12 noon
DundeeMemorial Tree, adjacent to Discovery Point, Riverside DriveSunday 28th April12 noon
EdinburghMemorial and Tree, West Princes Street GardensSunday 28th April1.00pm
FalkirkMunicipal Buildings, West Bridge Street, FalkirkSunday 28th April12 noon
FifeMemorial Tree, Beveridge ParkSaturday  27th April11.00am
GreenockGrand Hall, Inverclyde Council HQ followed by wreath laying in Clyde SquareFriday 27th April11.45am
GlasgowWorkers Memorial, People’s Palace/ Winter Gardens, Glasgow GreenSunday, 28th April12 noon
HamiltonTownhouse, Beckford StreetSunday, 28th April,11.45am
InvernessWorkers Memorial Friar’s Shott/Huntly Street, InvernessSaturday 27th April12.45pm for 1.00pm
IrvineMemorial Garden, Kilwinning RoadThursday 25th April6.30pm
KilmarnockMemorial Tree, Dean Country ParkSaturday 27th April10.45am for 11.00am
PaisleyWorkers Memorial , Renfrewshire House, Cotton StreetSunday 28th  April1.00pm
RenfrewWorkers Memorial Cairn, Robertson Park, Paisley RoadSunday  28th April11.00am
StirlingInternational Workers Memorial Tree, Viewforth, Pitt TerraceThursday 25 April1.20pm at the tree