Theme announcement #iwmd16: Strong laws. Strong enforcement. Strong unions.

Dear friends and colleagues

We are pleased to confirm the international theme for the upcoming 28th April, International Day of Commemoration of Dead and Injured Workers – or Workers’ Memorial Day,

“At work, your health and safety depends on  Strong laws. Strong enforcement. Strong unions.”

The reason why these concepts are highlighted is clear for most of us working on occupational health and safety:

Strong laws
because across the world workers either have inadequate legal protection from potentially deadly risks to their health at work, or existing safety protection is under threat from governments intent on deregulation. There are also moves to “privatise” regulation through the use of health and safety standards set by private bodies such as ISO.

Strong enforcement
because we know that, even if we have health and safety laws in place, these are of no use if they are not enforced. Many countries pay lip service to legislation but allow employers to ignore their obligations and put the health and safety of their workforce at risk. The degradation of labour inspectorates is part of these worrying trends.

Strong unions
because they are the best protection for workers. Workplaces that have strong union representation typically have much lower fatality, injury and ill-health rates than those that do not. Yet many countries are bringing in anti-union laws, are trying to replace unions with in-house “staff associations” hand-picked by employers or introducing other forms of “participation” as a way of keeping out unions.

 Let the world know!

Please ensure you send details of your planned activities, any resources and artwork you produce for 28 April 2015. You are invited to post them directly in the 28th April Facebook group by typing Workers’ Memorial Day or clicking here:

You can also send them to us by email

We will post all these materials in the joint ITUC/Hazards 2016 28th April website,

Twitter: you are also invited to post pics, posters or announcements of your activities using the hashtag (we know, it’s cryptic for the outside public, but it’s short and helps us for the twitterfeed in the website, and its 2015 equivalent [#iwmd15] proved a success, ‘trending’ at times in more than one country)

Background ITUC materials will be produced for the day. If you have concrete cases, experiences related to the theme that you would like to see in our materials, please send them as soon as possible.

Thanks again for your work and commitment!

Rory, Jawad and Anabella – the 28th April team