Africa: The march to demand OHS as a fundamental right is on in Africa


IUF Africa Region, under the challenging environment of COVID-19 that has devasted jobs and livelihood of workers, marks the International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) with a Webinar.  The event will be a rededication to the struggle to push employers across the IUF sectors in Africa to invest in elimination of health and safety risks at work in the midst of COVID-19. It will be an event where IUF affiliates across the region will send a clear message that health and safety should not be relegated to the peripheries of fundamental rights but rather must be made a fundamental right at work. This demand is made with no apology.  It will be held virtually from 15h00 – 17h00 (CET).

The theme of the Webinar is “We choose to fight for an effective OHS system, amidst Covid -19, based on recognition of health and safety as a fundamental right at work: Together we shall win!!” It is an undeniable fact that the fundamental right to life is denied by poor working environment.  The tombs of millions of workers who lost their lives bear testimony to this sad fact. HEALTH BEFORE PROFIT IS STILL OUR DEMAND!! On this day, as the region remembers those who died, suffered injuries and il-heath as a result of preventable workplace hazards, demand an effective OHS system that puts the worker first and profits last. The region shall fight for the living as it demands that health and safety must be a fundamental right at work. The only choice to fight and win is what the region makes.

As the region remembers workers who lost their lives due to poor working environment, argues that any health and safety system that is not based on human rights, and hence lacking a strong voice of workers as a key element, will not be effective. IUF Africa holds the belief that core-determination on matters affecting workers, including health and safety, must be a principle underpinning an effective health and safety system. Other elements such hierarchy of hazard control and risk assessment become non-negotiable part of the system, and thus putting to shame the concept of Behaviour-Based Safety programmes.

The IUF AFRICA Region, support, without any reservation, the global call to make health and safety a fundamental right at work. It is the solemn tribute to workers who died, injured or fell ill due to exposure to preventable workplace risks.