Category Archives: 2023 Europe

Scotland: Fatalities at work double – #iwmd23

New information revealed by the Scottish TUC and Scottish Hazards show those dying as a result of work has reached its highest levels since 2019, prompting urgent calls for reform of corporate homicide legislation.

The STUC, Scotland’s largest trade union body and Scottish Hazards, the national charity for safety at work, published the information today on International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Provisional data from the organisations show that 21 workers died as a result of industrial harm this past year, almost doubling the 2019 total (11). Scottish Hazards believe the number is far higher when encompassing road traffic accidents connected to work, occupational disease and workplace related suicides.

The move has prompted calls from the bodies for the Scottish Government to replace the Corporate Homicide Act (2007), reforming legislation to introduce new statutory offences to hold companies and corporations to account for workplace deaths. Since the Act was introduced, over 300 workers have died, but there have been no prosecutions recorded or justice served for bereaved families.

International Workers’ Memorial Day is the national day of recognition for all those who have died at work. STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer called the data “galling” and called for further protections for those at work.

Commenting, Ms Foyer said:

“It’s incumbent on Scotland’s trade union movement to remember all those who have died at work and pledge to make the workplace safer in their honour.

“It’s unacceptable and frankly galling that the amount of workers in Scotland who have died at work has increased.

“Bosses are ultimately responsible for workers health and safety and they must be held accountable.

“We cannot allow this to pass unchecked and on International Workers’ Memorial Day, the STUC reiterate our call to remember the dead whilst fighting for the living.”

Ian Tasker, Scottish Hazards Chief Executive added

“In January 2021, Humza Yousaf, then Cabinet Secretary for Justice said in a Scottish Parliament debate that he wanted to work with bereaved families to develop culpable homicide proposals that addressed reserved matters.

“Sadly, nothing happened and it was no more than warm words in a debate.

“Scottish Hazards wants corporate killing legislation that is seen as a deterrent. Businesses cannot so wilfully put workers lives at risk. We need a just and proper punishment for those who, through corporate negligence and neglect, put workers’ lives at risk in the workplace.”

Scotland: Unions call for Injuries Council on International Workers Memorial Day – STUC

Trade unions from across Scotland have backed the calls from an MSP to establish a new expert council to support the delivery of a Scottish social security benefit to be paid to workers injured as a result of industrial harm.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress – Scotland’s largest trade union body – in addition to affiliated trade unions from across the country have backed the Scottish Employment Injuries Advisory Council Members’ Bill from Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin. The bill seeks to use new social security powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament to establish an independent council with permanent, independent trade union representation. The council would have powers to research workplace injury and diseases and recommend to government it pays specific welfare benefits to be paid to those injured as a result of workplace incidents.

Writing to the Scottish Government, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer has called for workers to be “put at the heart” of any new benefit.

The call comes today on International Workers’ Memorial Day, the national day of reflection for all those who have died at work throughout the past year. Statistics from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) show that over 2.3 million workers succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year.

Commenting, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: “International Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those who have died at work. We cannot let their memory fade as we strive to build safer, more secure workplaces.

“By backing Mark Griffin’s Bill on introducing an Employment Injuries Advisory Council, we can achieve that safer future for Scotland’s workforce. We must use the full powers of our parliament to increase the voice of Scotland’s workers who have been injured as a result of their work.

“We owe it to those workers who, inexplicably and cruelly, didn’t make it home at the end of their shifts. We must fight for a better future. We hope the Scottish Government will work constructively with Mark and all other MSPs backing the Bill to achieve this. Commenting, Mark Griffin MSP:

“It is workers who know their workplaces best seeing day in day out the risks to their health and lives, so it is vital their voice is central to the newly devolved industrial injuries benefit.

“The strength of support for this bill from trade unions and affiliates across the labour movement is hugely welcome.”

Tony Slaven, Chair of the STUC Disabled Workers Committee:

“Thousands of people are living daily with disabilities as a direct consequence of an injury or disease caused from work.

“The pandemic has starkly and tragically highlighted that the industrial injuries benefit system needs overhauled to make it reflect modern and new diseases which can be contracted in the workplace.

“Disabled workers are not just overlooked – we are deliberately discriminated against. Establishing a Scottish Industrial Injuries Advisory Council could be transformational for disabled people and provide workers facing the worst with some justice and the support from the state they deserve.”


Greece: Federation of Technical Business Associations of Greece activities for 28 April

The Federation of Technical Business Associations of Greece (OSETEE) in collaboration with Workers’ Associations of the regions. held a busy program of events to mark 28 April.

This year, the International Day is dedicated to the adoption of the concept of Health and Safety at Work as a fundamental right by the International Labor Organization

7.15 am Interview of Andreas Stoimenidis, President of OSETEE and the European Organization for Health and Safety at Work, with journalists Giorgos Psaltis and Popis Hatzidimitriou on the Real Fm radio station
9.00 am Visit of Andreas Stoimenidis to the Department of Health and Safety at Work of the Ministry of Labour 11.00 am Press conference at the TMEDE building, at Pl. Claithmonus 12.30 p.m. Laying of a wreath in Klathmonos Square, in memory of the workers who lost their lives at work.
1.30 p.m. Awareness and Memorial event of the Employees Association ERGA OSE SA and the Technical Employees Association of Greece in the building that houses ERGA OSE at Karolou 27. There will be short speeches by the President of the S.E. of ERGA OSE co. Dafni Provopoulou and co.Andreas Stoimenidis, discussion with the employees of the Company, while afterwards the participants will write in a book their thoughts about occupational accidents that have been etched in their memory. We all have to be active in matters of Health and Safety at Work on a daily basis. We are at the disposal of our colleagues to support any initiative.
We call on our union colleagues to highlight the Day of Awareness and Memorial

Sweden: Right to health and safe work is always a priority for the Swedish Painters’ Union – #iwmd23

The Swedish painters’ union is in the middle of negotiations for a new collective agreement. We risk ending up in a no-deal situation with possible conflict. As a result, we will do everything possible to avoid this happening.
The right to a safe and healthy working environment is always high on the union’s agenda. We have taken many battles throughout the years to ensure that our members do not risk suffering accidents that prevent them from coming home from work in the end of the working day.
The occupational health and safety issue is constantly relevant both in Sweden and all around the world.
Today is International Workers’ Memorial Day and through our delegation for collective bargaining, we want to contribute and highlight that occupational health and safety is a fundamental principle and right at work.

Georgia: Labourstart conference starts with a minute’s silence to honour fallen workers – #iwmd23

Trade unionists and labour activist started Labour Start Conference in Georgia with minute of silence to remember everyone who did not come back from work.

UK: Health and Safety is won through struggle – FBU – #iwmd23

Remember the dead, fight for the living

On International Workers’ Memorial day, FBU National Officer Riccardo La Torre reflects on how health and safety has been won by struggle and solidarity, not gifted by bosses. 

If you visit the Fire Brigades Union head office and climb the stairs to the top floor, you will find yourself pausing in front of a wall covered with a long list of names. For those of us who work in the building, this list is a daily reminder of why we’re there and why the union exists. Each of these two thousand plus names belongs to a firefighter killed in service. It is in their memory that we continue to organise and fight for our lives.

If we had a national record of every firefighter death from cancer or other workplace diseases, there would be thousands more names to add. In 2022, the World Health Organisation confirmed what many of us in the FBU already knew from tragic experience: firefighting is a cancer-causing occupation.

Every year on April 28th, we come together for International Workers Memorial Day, to remember each of these, and all workers’, lives lost. If you work in the fire service, you will know that our memorials are not reflections on a distant past. The fight for safety and our future is sadly still very much an ongoing struggle which shapes our lives now.

For many, ‘health and safety’ conjures up images of top-down clipboard tapping, high vis vests and managerial risk assessments. In truth, workers have had to fight ferociously to protect our health at work, and for our safety from injury and harm. Nothing has been handed to us, nothing has been gifted by bosses. The history of health and safety is of organised, radical class action. In the memory of every worker who hasn’t returned home from a shift, what we demand for ourselves and our colleagues must stay rooted in this tradition.

Take breathing apparatus (BA): arguably one of the most iconic symbols of firefighter safety. The cylinder, set and mask are what allow firefighters to breathe safely during firefighting and rescue operations. But the BA sets we now wear on our backs were hard won. Following the deaths of two firefighters at the 1958 Smithfield fire, the FBU launched demands for modernised BA that would protect lives. As a line from the union magazine at the time read, “this is the age which has launched the Sputnik. But in the fire service our breathing apparatus set has remained substantially unchanged for over 40 years.”

We won that campaign and have continued to fight to keep improving our BA ever since. During my time as the union’s Health and Safety lead, I’ve seen bosses try to take BA away from firefighters attending high-rise building fires. I’ve seen them attempt to stop PCR-covid testing for firefighters at the peak of the pandemic, and to deny the link between firefighting and cancers.

These constant attacks are why FBU health and safety reps work tirelessly across fire services every single day. On the ground, our reps know that we cannot allow the rights we have won to be rolled back or blocked.

In 2016, the Trades Union Congress published The Union Effect, a report finding that the health of a workplace is directly impacted by whether workers are part of a union: ‘organised workplaces are safer workplaces’. In a profession as dangerous and volatile as fire and rescue, we cannot afford to let our organisation slip.

To make sure we return home safely at the end of each shift, we must demand safety committees,  our right to time off for training and facilities. We must use the Brown Book, speaking up for our rights every time they are threatened.

Right now, the need for a strong and fighting membership is as urgent as ever as we demand action on firefighter cancer.

Together we’ve already forced this issue on to the agenda. When the government and employers said there wasn’t enough evidence to act, we set up a lottery to fund and commission the research.

Where fire services fail to provide information on how firefighters can protect themselves from toxic fire effluents, we run our own decontamination training.

While there is currently no health monitoring for firefighters to help detect cancers early, we have now launched the first cancer testing research project for firefighters in the UK.

All progress has been down to firefighters organising and making it happen against the odds. But we’re miles behind other countries when it comes to legislation, protection and support for firefighters facing cancer. The US, Canada, Australia, and Poland, amongst others, all have laws in place that recognise these diseases as occupational – caused by going to work.

The UK government and employers are still failing to take any serious action. It’s our job as organised workers to demand, campaign for and win these protections. We’ve done it throughout our history, and we will do it again.

This Workers Memorial Day, we remember every firefighter who has fallen in the line of duty, and every firefighter killed by a disease or cancer caused by their work.

A failing HSE cut to the bone or NFCC bosses’ committees cannot be relied upon to protect and defend the health, safety and welfare of firefighters, in fact we often see the opposite. As our history demonstrates, it is often down to us, and only us, to organise and do for ourselves and each other.

No one, no one, should get ill or killed for going to work. Today and every day, we remember the dead and fight for the living.

Belgium: La Journée mondiale de la sécurité et de la santé au travail – CGSLB – #iwmd23

En juin 2022, la Conférence internationale du travail (CIT) a décidé d’inclure “un environnement de travail sûr et sain” dans le cadre des principes et droits fondamentaux au travail de l’OIT. Ainsi, cette année, la journée mondiale explorera cette thématique.

Les syndicats comptent recourir à ce nouveau droit fondamental de l’OIT pour réduire le nombre important de victimes en faisant recours à l’organisation afin que sa mise en œuvre ait un effet positif sur la vie quotidienne des travailleurs et des travailleuses. Plus

Slovenia: 28. april, mednarodni delavski dan spomina na umrle na delovnem mestu

Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia – ZSSS 
Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije – ZSSS

OSH dedicated web site of ZSSS:

Since 2006 ZSSS has been on 28 April (IWMD) informing public, media and workers OSH reps on state of OSH in Slovenia. At the same time we call out to national Ministers for Labour and for Health what needs to be done to improve OSH.

Dedicated web site to IWMD since 2006:

E-news with IWMD 2023 messages:

15/2023 e-news ZSSS (19. 4. 2023): ILO ob 28. aprilu 2023 sporoča: “Varno in zdravo delovno okolje je temeljna pravica!”

16/2023 e-news ZSSS (26. 4. 2023): Sporočila ZSSS ob 28. aprilu 2023, mednarodnem delavskem spominskem dnevu

17/2023 e-news ZSSS (28. 4. 2023): ETUC: Žrtve azbestnega poklicnega raka in njihove družine pozivajo voditelje EU

Bulgaria: 28 April report from CITUB

CITUB  National secretary for Health and safety at work and Ecology, Aleksandar Shopov, has sent the following report and photographs describing their 28 April activities.

As every year, on April 28th, CITUB and social partners paid tribute to the memory of those who died by submit flowers and wreaths in front of the memorial plaque placed next to the headquarters of CITUB in Sofia, and a minute of silence.

In memory of the workers who died in accidents, lighted candles in the shape of the sad number 84 were arranged next to the plaque, which is the number of workers who died in Bulgaria in 2022.

The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Prof. Dr. Emil Mingov and the Director of the IA “Main Labor Inspection” Ekaterina Asenova, representatives of the National Institute of Social Sciences, participated in the honour of the day.

CITUB President Plamen Dimitrov recalled that last year the International Labor Conference accepted that safe and healthy working conditions are a basic human right for every worker. This is the first expansion of basic human rights in a quarter of a century.

In Bulgaria, there is a lack of systematic data for monitoring workers exposed to asbestos, the president of CITUB pointed out. The majority of workers at risk carry out activities of demolition, reconstruction or rehabilitation, maintenance of buildings in which there may be asbestos. In 2020, only one occupational disease related to exposure to this substance was recognized in Bulgaria.

To help in the fight against asbestos and other hazardous chemical substances, the CITUB has launched a campaign “Stop Cancer in the Workplace”, which aims to encourage employers and workers to implement more effective measures to prevent cancer in the workplace.

According to the National Center for Public Health and Analysis, more than 30,000 new cases of cancer are registered every year. A number of studies show that between 5 and 8% of these are workplace-related. If we assume that only 5% of the total cancer cases are related to the profession, this means that at least 1,500 Bulgarian workers have contracted cancer related to the workplace.

After the submitting of flowers, CITUB also presented its annual awards for 2022, with which it distinguishes employers who have achieved good results in ensuring healthy and safe working conditions.

Austria: Gesunde Arbeit – Gedenktag für verunglückte Bauarbeiter: 15.602 Arbeitsunfälle am Bau in Österreich

Anlässlich des weltweiten Workers´ Memorial Day, des internationalen Tages zum Gedenken an verunglückte Arbeitnehmer:innen, erinnerte die Gewerkschaft Bau-Holz (GBH) im Rahmen einer Gedenkveranstaltung im Beisein von GBH-Bundesvorsitzenden Josef Muchitsch, GBH-Landesvorsitzenden Christian Sambs und GBH-Landesgeschäftsführer Wolfgang Birbamer an das unsägliche Leid, das durch Arbeitsunfälle hervorgerufen wird, und fordert weitere Maßnahmen zum Gesundheitsschutz.
Workers´ Memorial Day
Im Jahr 2003 stiftete die Gewerkschaft Bau-Holz einen Gedenkstein für verunfallte Bau- und Holzarbeiter:innen in Wien, an dem auch heuer in Gedenken an die im Beruf Verunglückten ein Kranz niedergelegt wurde.
GBH-Bundesvorsitzender Josef Muchitsch
GBH-Bundesvorsitzender Josef Muchitsch
Workers´ Memorial Day


Workers´ Memorial Day
Gedenkfeier am Keplerplatz

22 tödliche Arbeitsunfälle15.602 Menschen verunglückten 2022 allein im Baubereich in Österreich bei ihrer Arbeit, 22 von ihnen tödlich. Das ist zwar im Vergleich zu den Vorjahren ein Rückgang, aber mit 53,9 von 1.000 Arbeitnehmer:innen hat der Baubereich immer noch die mit Abstand höchste Unfallrate zu beklagen.

GBH-Bundesvorsitzender Abg.z.NR Josef Muchitsch: „Jeder Arbeitsunfall ist einer zu viel. Jeder Arbeitsunfall bringt für die Betroffenen und ihre Familien unermessliches Leid. Da kann man sich auch angesichts sich leicht bessernder Zahlen nicht zufrieden zurücklehnen. Auch wenn sich die Sicherheitsbedingungen auf den Baustellen und in den Betrieben verbessert haben, gibt es immer noch sehr viel zu tun. Neue Herausforderungen kommen in der Arbeitswelt dazu, Stress und Arbeitsdruck steigen. Deshalb muss an vielen Schrauben gedreht werden – von der Arbeitszeit über die Arbeitsbedingungen bis hin zum direkten ArbeitnehmerInnenschutz. Auch in Hinblick auf die Berufskrankheitenliste gibt es Handlungsbedarf.“

„Jetzt, wo es wärmer wird, sind die Baubeschäftigten zusätzlich durch hohe UV-Strahlung und Hitze belastet. Die GBH ist auch heuer wieder auf Baustellen unterwegs, um Aufklärungsarbeit zu leisten, Sonnenschutz und Mineralwasser zu verteilen. Ich fordere in diesem Zusammenhang auch die Arbeitgeberseite auf, nicht auf ihre Beschäftigten zu vergessen. Sonnen- und Hitzeschutz ist ein wichtiger Teil des Arbeitnehmer:innenschutzes und vor allem muss die Hitzeregelung ab 32,5 Grad, die wir für den Baubereich erreicht haben und die einzigartig ist, auch wirklich gelebt und umgesetzt werden“, fordert GBH-Landesgeschäftsführer Wolfgang Birbamer.

Workers´ Memorial DayDer „Workers´ Memorial Day“ am 28. April hat für die Gewerkschaft Bau-Holz traditionell große Bedeutung. Im Jahr 2003 stiftete die Gewerkschaft Bau-Holz einen Gedenkstein für verunfallte Bau- und Holzarbeiter:innen in Wien, an dem auch heuer in Gedenken an die im Beruf Verunglückten ein Kranz niedergelegt wurde.