All posts by Jawad

Philippines: ALU and BWI to hold 28 April ceremonies at the gutted Kentex factory where 74 workers died

The Philippine government and businesses often brag of the country’s sustained impressive economic growth in the last five years, yet working Filipinos— many of which are young workers in the formal and informal sectors— who helped made this wealth possible remain measly-waged, accorded with inadequate social protection benefits, and are working in unhealthy and unsafe working conditions.

The Filipino working people’s unfortunate status is demonstrated by the May 13, 2015 Kentex factory fire incident in Valenzuela City which killed 74 workers—majority of which are young workers.  A post incident official government investigation showed grave violations of the general labour and occupational safety and health standards committed by Kentex employer despite a recent Certificate of Compliance (COC) inspection issued by government’s labor law compliance officers.The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and its global union federation partner Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) deem that this economic affluence must be equitably shared with Filipino workers and their families through existing laws and established social protection mechanism. It is also an opportunity to improve working conditions to avoid risks to workplace accidents and deaths.

However, Philippine government statistics show both the government’s enforcement and the employers’ compliance efforts in making these levers work are inefficient. In the Labor Law Compliance System (LLCS) accomplishment for 2015, General Labour Standard (GLS) compliance in the country was only at 73.18 percent while the Occupational Safety and Health Standards compliance was at 66.94 percent covering a total of 50,161 establishments out of the more than 900,000 registered establishments nationwide.

This widespread employer irresponsibility and recurring government inconsistency is encouraging further labor and safety and health rights of workers at greater risk to the worst forms of exploitation and abuse. The weak enforcement and selective compliance with labour regulations exposes workers to underpayment of wages, non-payment of social protection benefits and imperils the lives of workers to unsafe and hazardous elements and conditions.

It is, therefore, timely for ALU and BWI to hold this year’s International Workers Memorial Day on April 28thcandle-lighting memorial ceremonies at the Kentex factory in Valenzuela City for ALU and BWI to send a strong message to government on the need for them to strongly enforce labor laws and make violators accountable.The gathering of unions at the site where workers died due to negligence of Kentex employers will also a call for the recalcitrant Filipino employers to faithfully comply with the established Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and General Labour Standards (GLS).

Every candle that will be lighted, each poem that will be recited, each prayer that will be said by members of the union by the gate and walls of the gutted Kentex factory are actions symbolizing unions are vigilant and will always stood up for workers’ rights. The union-led commemoration at Kentex factory echoes BWI’s worldwide unions’ very urgent call for “Strong Laws, Strong Enforcement, and Strong Unions.”

Belgian unions highlight the harassment of sick workers to mark 28 April

On 28th April, the Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB) – Charleroi and the Centre de Défense et d’Action pour la Santé des Travailleurs (C-DAST) will organise a seminar in the Bois du Cazier. The seminar title is ‘After harassing the unemployed, now they harass the sick’. It will count with presentations on several occupational diseases and risks, as well as first hand testimonies of workers having suffered harassment after declaring occupational diseases. The event location is symbolic: a restored coal mine in which 262 miners died in 1956 following a technical accident.

You can download the programme here

For more information on FGTB Charleroi activities for this 28th April, please contact Philippe Vigneron,

Indonesia: Local Initiative for OSH Network will mark 28 April in central Jakarta

Local Initiative for OSH Network (LION), BWI’s partner for “Ban Asbestos” in Indonesia initiated workers’ Memorial Day gathering at traffic circle of Hotel Indonesia (Bundaran HI), the landmark of the Central Jakarta.  The gathering will engage groups of Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network (INA-BAN) and port workers and building material unions. In this gathering, the groups will pay respect to the OSH victims and reminding people the hazard of asbestos that has been used massively in Indonesia to construct the buildings. The campaign tagline is paying respect to the construction workers who built the city. The poster and flyers with the slogan: “workplace is not a cemetery” reminds people that construction sector is still the most hazardous work in Indonesia that contributes to 32 percent of the occupational accident in the country.

Unions’ role on health and safety spreads across construction sites in AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, ASIA and LATIN AMERICA

With affiliates from more than thirty countries running activities this April 28th, the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) sets a high bar for other global union federations! From awareness raising actions in worksites to training and debates with Builders’ associations, from candle lighting ceremonies to rallies, this years’ 28th April counts with a strong mobilisation of construction workers.

As the list is growing as we write this post, stay tuned to the website for updates. For more information on BWI events, please contact


In Burkina Faso  FTBBF union activists will organise an awareness raising activity in an interchange construction site in Ouagadougou.

In Gabon, UTBTPBSP union activists will highlight links between occupational health and safety and greening workplaces.

In Ghana Timber and Woodworkers’ Union (TWU) activists will engage in dialogue and health and safety management and participation training with companies on 27 and 28  April. The Construction and Building Material Workers’ union (CBMWU) activists will raise health and safety issues in the context of an activity on trade unions’ role on development and peacekeeping.

In Malawi, the BCCEAWU will organise a press briefing and a rally on OHS In Mauritius CMWEU plans to organise a public debate and campaign on OHS, including distribution of pamphlets calling for “health before profits”.

In Mozambique  SINTICIM plans to raise awareness of occupational safety and health issues in Chinese companies.

In Namibia MANWU plans to raise awareness of occupational safety and health issues in the workplace distributing banners calling for enforcing compliance with OHS standards.

In Nigeria, the CCESSA will run a public conference on OHS in construction and the NUCEFWW will launch an awareness raising campaign on OHS.

In Senegal, the SNTC/BTP will run a seminar on OHS in the construction sector.

In Uganda, the UBCCEAWU will organise a campaign on compliance with OHS standards in Chinese multinationals In Zimbabwe, CLAWUZ and ZCATWU will run awareness raising campaigns on OHS


A regional OHS campaign is to be launched in Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Yemen and Bahrain. Details on activities are forthcoming.


In Bangladesh, BBWWF will organise a candle light procession on OHS at Dhaka followed by a public meeting at the Press Club.

In India, activities are being run in different States Tamil Nadu: TKTMS will organise a public meeting of construction workers in Villupuram

Gujarat: BMS will run a workshop on health and safety in partnership with the Contractors Association, Builders Association (Gujarat chapter) to be attended by OHS victims and their families. Unions will also file compensation cases for some victims and organise a road show on OHS at Ahmenabad.

Rajasthan: AHBWU will organise a silicosis awareness-medical check up camp for workers in three locations.

Kerala: KKNTC will organise a public meeting for construction workrs and distribute OHS awareness raising materials. The union will also submit a memorandum to the Mayor at Ernakulam.

Uttar Pradesh: CFBWU will run an awareness raising workshop followed by a candle vigil at Allahabad.

Karnataka State: KKNTC will organise a demonstration in front of the Labour Commissioner’s office for better OHS for construction workers, followed by the submission of a memorandum and a press conference.

In Nepal, the BWI Nepal Affiliates Committee will run health and Safety awareness activities and demonstrate protective equipment usage at a construction site of a member-contractor of Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN). In addition, CUPPEC will run an OHS awareness rally in five districts and CAWUN will organise a meeting in some construction sites.

In Pakistan, the PFBWW will be holding a health and safety seminar public meeting at the Tarbela Dam Extension Project located in Haripur district. The PCF will run a seminar on OHS for district leadership in Karachi.

In Sri Lanka, the NTUF will organise health and safety awareness sessions in three construction sites in Colombo.


In Brazil, several BWI affiliates will be mobilised for the day. SITICOMFLORIPA will organise an event with other unions in Brusque, Santa Catarina State, and will distribute flyers on OHS. SINTRAICCCM is running a month-long awareness campaign on OHS, which will conclude on April 28th with flyer distribution in an important square, run in conjunction with SINTECOMP.  SINTRACONST-ES will organise a workshop on mental health in working relationships. SITICOM-Chapeco will be running the Fourth edition of the National Seminar on work accidents’ prevention and workers’ health.

In Guatemala, the SINCS-G will release a press statement asking for compliance with national OHS law.

In Panama, SUNTRACS has run a month-long OHS campaign visiting worksites and holding debates with workers on OHS, labour inspectorates, organising picket lines and distributing OHS materials.

In Nicaragua, SNSCAASC will run assemblies in worksites on OHS. FITCM-N will organise a workshop on good practices on OSH.

In Dominican Republic, FENTICOMMC will run a capacity building workshop for leadership on Dominican Republic legislation.

In Honduras , SITRAINCEHSA will organise a minute of silence in the union and show posters of April 28th.

In El Salvador, SOICSCES will do an interview on OHS in Radio Arpas and run an awareness raising workshop for workers in a worksite.

In Costa Rica, a work stoppage will be organised so that workers can attend a presentation on OHS.

LO Norway looks at work and health ‘crimes’ on 28 April

LO logoLo and AOF is organising a meeting on this day where we want to focus attention on the challenges for Norwegian workers and also look into the international picture. The program includes posts about work and health, work-related diseases and injuries, and work life/work environment crime seen from both the parties and the Labour Inspectorate. We will also look at the experiences with collocation of the various agencies in the fight against labour crime. Webpage

Finland: A moment’s silence on Finland’s construction sites

Dear friends,

For your information here are the ads in different languages considering the workers memorial day.


yours, Tiina

Tiina Nurmi-Kokko
sosiaalisihteeri – socialsekreterare – social secretary, VTS
Rakennusliitto ry – Byggnadsförbundet rf – Construction Trade Union

Tel:+358 20 774 3082. Fax:+358 20 774 3062

Europe: ETUC calls for new laws

Every year on 28 April, the trade unions stage an event to condemn deaths caused by work. This year, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has chosen to focus on the need to adopt new health and safety laws at EU level. “Workers need better protection. New laws are needed now,” said Esther Lynch, the ETUC Confederal Secretary in charge of occupational health and safety issues.

“The best way to protect workers from disease and injury is through laws at EU and national level. Health protection should not be deregulated or privatised. New technology and innovation have created, and medical research identified, new risks. Strong laws should be backed up by strong enforcement and a strong system of workplace health and safety representatives”, she added.

The ETUC calls more specifically for the European Union to adopt threshold limit values for occupational exposure to 50 carcinogenic substances. The European workers’ movement emphasises that every year 100,000 people die in the EU from cancers developed at work.

Besides dealing with occupational cancers, the ETUC also wants new regulations to be adopted to tackle workers’ exposure to nanoparticles, to psycho-social risks (including stress, violence and harassment) and to the development of musculoskeletal disorders such as neck, back and elbow pain.

To raise awareness, the ETUC will be organising an ‘online action’ from 18 to 28 April alongside trade union leaders who will be demanding new European health and safety regulations.

To find out more:

ETUC online action

USA: Reclaim labor, reclaim lives!


  WorkersMemorialDay_Flyer_Spanish   WorkersMemorialDay_Flyer

Join Worksafe, Street Level Health Project, and Centro Legal de la Raza for an evening of action and remembrance.

4:30 PM — Lake Merritt Amphitheater
Meet and march downtown
5:30-6:30 PM — City Hall
Rally & Memorial program

This year’s Worker’s Memorial Dayevent, Reclaim Labor! Reclaim Lives!is dedicated to honoring all the day laborers, immigrants, and low wage workers whose lives have been lost due to unsafe working conditions. We will come together in mourning and solidarity, and highlight the importance of the continuing fight for workers’ rights.

WorkersMemorialDay_simple4:30pm: Meet at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater (between 12th Street and 1st Ave. on Lake Merritt Blvd. in Downtown Oakland) and then march to City Hall (1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza).
5:30pm: Short memorial program featuring workers, labor, government agencies, and advocates.

A moment of silence will be observed to mourn workers who passed in the workplace in the prior year.

News release English • Spanish  • Website