The ITUC and its Global Unions partners are calling for COVID-19 to be classified as an occupational disease in order to ensure stronger workplace protections and access to compensation as well as to medical care. The call is being made today [28 April], on International Workers’ Memorial Day.
“While there are many aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which are yet unclear, one thing that is clear is that most transmission is occurring in workplaces such as hospitals and care facilities, as well as in workplaces where transmission can occur between workers with the public.
“There is already evidence that in numerous countries, protective workplace measures such as distancing and personal equipment are insufficient or even absent. Workers are being made to take risks that shouldn’t be taken, and in some cases, such as in Amazon warehouses, they face sanctions or dismissal for raising safety concerns. Bringing COVID-19 into occupational disease classification is crucial to stopping this and reducing the spread of the virus. This is becoming even more urgent as countries begin to relax restrictions on economic sectors and public spaces,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
Occupational disease classification would mean that where workers are infected with the virus, the presumption would be that it is workplace-related unless conclusive evidence is presented to the contrary. It would also reinforce public health measures which are in place and which will evolve in the coming months and years.
“We are also calling for occupational health and safety to be given the status of a fundamental right at the International Labour Organization. This is a long-overdue measure which would give workers’ protection from death and disease the same priority as freedom of association, collective bargaining and protection from discrimination, forced labour and child labour,” said Burrow.
Council of Global Unions Statement on Recognition of COVID-19 as an Occupational Disease * ITUC news release * COVID-19 Pandemic: News from unions
Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) has requested the Nepal government recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease.
Call for information: Covid-19 compensation and official recognition as an occupational disease by country
CEPHED notes a number of countries have already recognised Covid-19 as an occupational disease and agreed that work-related cases of Covid-19 must be reported to the authorities and now qualify for workers’ compensation. In some examples, cases of Covid-19 in frontline workers are presumed by the compensation authorities to be caused by the job (with ‘frontline workers’ covering a wide-range of job categories).
CEPHED wishes to make available information on best practice. and is seeking information from with regard to:
a) compensation (and if possible any conditions/restrictions on eligibility)
b) official recognition of Covid-19 as an occupational disease, and any related reporting/recording requirements.
Thank you for your assistance. It will be extremely helpful in our efforts to secure prevention of Covid-19 and justice for all affected workers.
CEPHED initiative of COVID 19 in Nepal
Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED)
Ward No.2, Lalitpur ,
In Bangladesh, BBWWF and BSBWWF will organise a demonstration at Khulna district headquarters seeking fair compensation for the victims’ and families of Mongla cement factory collapse, followed by a submission of a memorandum to the District Collector*
* The two affiliates in Bangladesh have launched a signature campaign in support of union petition to improve working conditions at the workplace. On 1st May 2015 they shall submit this petition to the Government of Bangladesh at the national capital Dhaka and this shall be followed by a Press Conference.