An ILO Governing Body decision on 23 March 2021 was a ‘significant step’ towards making occupational health and safety a fundamental workers’ right, global union confederation ITUC has said. The influential committee comprised of government, employer and union delegates overwhelmingly supported a call from worker members to move ahead with the process. It is expected that the decision will be formalised at the ILO Conference in 2022. The net.
The next step in the campaign is International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April 2021, when ITUC says “unions can send a message that health and safety protection at work must be recognised as a right for all. Whether it is Covid or occupational cancers, or workplace injuries and industrial diseases, every worker should have a right to a voice and a right to protection. No-one should have to die to make a living.”
According to ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow: “We will keep up the pressure, on International Workers’ Memorial Day and beyond.” The union-driven move was supported by occupational medicine organisations the Collegium Ramazzini and the Society of Occupational Medicine and leading workplace safety bodies the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH). Unions had success at the ILO Governing Body meeting with another health and safety priority, striking an agreement that a Biological Hazards Convention will follow after occupational health and safety in ILO’s ruling making priorities.
It’s Fundamental: Making work safety an ILO Fundamental Right at Work – Hazards magazine, April 2021