Tag Archives: Global

Global: Health and Safety must be a fundamental principle and right at work | IndustriALL

IndustriALL news release – 14 March, 2022

As the 344th Session of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) commences on 14 March 2022, global unions are calling for an amendment to the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work that will lead to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) being considered a fundamental principle and right at work.

The amendment would see OHS joining the four fundamental principles and rights at work that the Declaration currently recognizes: freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively; the prohibition of forced labour; prohibition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in employment.

The Governing Body meets three times a year, in March, June and November. It takes decisions on ILO policy, decides the agenda of the International Labour Conference, adopts the draft programme and budget of the organization for submission to the conference, and elects the Director-General.

The call by global unions’ is consistent with the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration on the future of work and a global campaign for OHS to be added to the fundamental principles and rights at work. In June 2019, UN experts urged the ILO to immediately recognize and adopt safe and healthy working conditions as one of its fundamental principles and rights at work. A follow-up to the resolution on the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work called for proposals, including safe and healthy working conditions, to be added to the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.

According to the first joint WHO/ILO monitoring report, released on 27 September 2021, at least 1.9 million workers lose their lives every year due to the work-related diseases and injuries. However, when adding causes of death by risk factors not included and filling in information gaps from poor record-keeping, the number is closer to a staggering three million deaths.

“Health and safety at work is neither a perk to be bargained for nor a favour to be asked. It is our right,” said IndustriALL mining director and OHS lead, Glen Mpufane.

“No wage is worth our health or our life, and no remedy can be granted by an arbitrator that will restore our health or our life, once it is lost.”

At the November 2021 meeting of the ILO Governing Body, global unions finally secured agreement that the agenda for the 2022 International Labour Conference would include an amendment to the ILO 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work to achieve this.

On the back of this achievement, and to maintain the momentum and ensure that the  ILO Governing Body takes the decisions workers need on OHS, IndustriALL Global Union calls on its over 50 million members and affiliates to amplify the call by the ITUC to call on governments and employers:

  • To designate Convention 155 on OHS as a fundamental right at work, as it is the main convention setting out what governments need to do.
  • To designate ILO Convention 161 on Occupational Health Services a complimentary fundamental right at work. ILO Convention 161 on Occupational Health Services requires governments to ensure that workers have access to an occupational health service, either in their workplace or through the public health system.
  • To allow the broadest interpretation of health and safety, urge Governments to support the term “working environment” as reference in the fundamental principle and right at work.
  • To ensure that should be no international competition over OHS standards in trade agreements.

“The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights include a duty and responsibility to protect the health and safety of workers. With the United Nations’ resolution recognizing access to a healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right, another historic moment awaits the Governing Body to make the correct decision,” said IndustriALL assistant general secretary, Kan Matsuzaki.



Global: Respect Occupational Health and Workplace Safety as Fundamental Rights at Work – PSI

Baba Aye

We remember the workers who have died at work every April 28 and rededicate ourselves to fight like hell for the living.The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the critical importance of workplace safety for the physical and mental health of workers.

  • Read this in: ENFR • ES

The health worker death toll due to the pandemic is at least 17,000. This means more than one health worker dies every 30 minutes. Workers across all other sectors have also been impacted to different extents.

“Every 12 seconds, there is a work-related death somewhere in the world”

Millions of workers continue to die due to lack of adequate workplace safety. Every 12 seconds, there is a work-related death somewhere in the world. Many more suffer chronic or acute diseases. Stress and burnout also contribute significantly to undermining the mental health of overworked and often underpaid working people.

This worrisome situation must stop. Despite the formal inclusion of occupational safety and health as a core aspect of the decent work concept, it is not yet an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work (FRAW).

ILO’s recognition of workplace safety as a key FRAW would lead to its inclusion along with freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and conventions against child labour and forced labour as components of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW). In remembering the dead we will fight to win this recognition today, and until victory.

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Global: IT’S FUNDAMENTAL | Making work safety an ILO Fundamental Right at Work – Hazards magazine

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

Global: PSI statement on Workers’ Memorial Day [Video]

Continue reading Global: PSI statement on Workers’ Memorial Day [Video]

Global: Workers’ Memorial Day Message from UNI GS Christy Hoffman | UNI Global Union

UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman has issued an International Workers’ Memorial Day message calling on us to honour the workers we have lost during the Covid-19 crisis, but to “fight like hell for the living.”

Using her personal experience and examples from UNI affiliates, GS Hoffman stresses the importance that unions play in establishing safe workplaces and holding employers accountable:

There are valuable lessons we must learn from this crisis.

And one that we must remember is the difference a union can make in terms of health and safety. And it is not only about negotiating the conditions of safe work — it is about representation and a voice on the job lead by rank and file workers. A union health and safety committee is a watchdog, making sure that employers don’t cut corners or require a pace of production that is too fast to be safe. They enable workers, those who are closest to the problem, to expose the hazards and recommend solutions.

Read the full message here. 

Additionally, UNI is joining the ITUC and other global unions in calling on governments and occupational health and safety bodies around the world to recognise Covid-19 first, as an occupational hazard and also an occupational disease.


Global: International Workers Memorial Day 2020 and COVID-19 – mourn for the dead and fight for the living

Education International (EI)

International Workers’ Memorial Day on occupational health and safety, observed the 28th of April every year. The international day was born in 1996 to mourn those who had died on the job and to fight for the living. It has spread to all continents of the world.

On this day, EI mourns all workers, but especially education workers, who have died at work and in the line of duty. We also will fight for their health and lives in the present and for the future.

COVID-19 is a pandemic that is lethal on a large scale. For those in direct contact with others, including many working in education, it is an occupational health and safety challenge. Some deaths, with proper precautions and protections, could have been avoided.

Although in our sectors, many are tele-working or on leave, this will change with the opening of schools. Already, opening dates have been announced in several countries. With re-opening, in addition to the ongoing public health danger to all, exposure at the workplace will become a major, perhaps the major risk.
COVID-19 and other infectious diseases contracted at work, should be recognised. They should be given the same treatment, including compensation, as other occupational diseases.

Every situation is different. In countries where great progress has been made and where tests and protective devices are widely available, reopening may be relatively safe. However, even in those situations, there may be a risk of unleashing a second wave.

Regardless of circumstances, even though more information is becoming available, what is not known about this virus remains more important than what we know. It is another reason that re-opening must be careful and methodical.

Social distancing, a crucial element of the combat against COVID-19, under the best of circumstances, will be difficult in schools and, in some cases, may be impossible. Hallways and staircases in many schools before the pandemic were already too narrow to easily accommodate normal traffic.

For small children, social distancing is bizarre behaviour and hard to understand. Even for older students, it may be difficult to respect due to limits of space, but also because of the normal rush of school life; getting from one class to another, to lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That means that social distancing will require considerable logistical and cultural changes.

To make school reopening as safe as possible, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. They include whether there has been a significant decline in the general risk, the existence of widespread testing and monitoring, the availability of protective devices, regular disinfection, and modifications of physical arrangements and measures such as staggered classes and reduced class sizes. Such protections will be especially challenging in countries with limited possibilities to provide those protections and weak public health systems.

Workers in education, particularly teachers, are often older than the larger population because it has been hard, in recent years, to recruit new talent. That means that teachers may be especially vulnerable to infection. Education personnel, particularly from high-risk groups, should not be required to go back to school. They should be permitted to continue to work from home or make other arrangements.

Work-related stress has become a major issue for teachers in many countries as has been documented by the recent OECD TALIS report. Existing stress factors in education will be aggravated by fear of contamination during re-opening and, perhaps, for months to come.

In some countries where school re-opening has been scheduled, there have been consultations and/or negotiations with education trade unions on the details of occupational health and safety protections. Often, they are the same countries, with strong social dialogue traditions, where there were already discussions of closures.

However, the EI survey of member organisations on COVID-19 showed that the governments that acted correctly at that time were exceptional. Reopening decisions are neither urgent nor abrupt. They are planned. Trade unions should be fully involved in reopening planning and decisions.

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary stated: “For growing numbers of workers in education and other sectors, the worksite will become the greatest source of risk for COVID-19. There is no excuse for not involving the representatives of workers, their trade unions, in reopening decisions and ongoing occupational health and safety vigilance. It is the health and lives of those workers that are most at stake.”

“The reopening of schools can be a massive risk for teachers and other education workers. Every effort should be made to ensure that risks are reduced to the minimum through best practices based on science, not politics, and anchored in cooperation and social dialogue.”

“COVID-19 may be a natural disaster, but avoidable illness and death is human failure. International Workers’ Memorial Day is, in this dark year, not only a way to recognise those who have already sacrificed, but to chart a path that restores trust and hope and gives us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Statement of the Council of Global Unions on the recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease, released on the occasion of International Workers Memorial Day 2020, is also available here


Global: Covid 19 crisis shows the vital role of caregivers in our society – UNI global union

“Home care workers are the first line of defense against #covid19 for millions of elderly & sick patients. This crisis is showing the world the vital role caregivers play in our societies,” said Christy Hoffman General Secretary of UNI Global Union. ⁩
#ProtectHomecareWorkersRead more • UNI Global Union

Global: Workers around the world send their 28 April messages [Video]

Global: Unions demand recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease | IUF UITA IUL

The IUF joins with our sister international union organizations in calling for speedy official recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease by governments and national health and safety bodies. Official recognition of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 as a preventable occupational hazard, and work-related COVID-19 as a work-related disease, would require employers to take necessary measures to protect workers against the risk of exposure, establish liability for failure and provide compensation to workers and their families sickened and killed by COVID-19.

A short policy brief  explains how and why this recognition is needed to protect workers, their families and their communities.


Global: Trade unions across the globe are marking 28 April – ETUC

#IWMD20 Have a look at trade union actions across the world 28april.org

? Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living #Covid19 #Coronavirus