Tag Archives: Union effect

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

UK: Unions are vital for future workplace safety | Prospect

“We will never forget 2020. Not just for the way the virus turned our lives upside down and taken many people away from us too soon. We will also remember it for re-calibrating our perception of what is important and who our key workers are.

“This is the year when people from different walks of life put their lives on the line to keep vital services running. Too many of them have lost their lives, and we will remember them on International Workers’ Memorial Day.

“Every year on 28 April, millions of trade unionists across the world come together to remember those who have died at work and fight for the rights of the living.

“This year will be particularly poignant. Wherever we are working, with a minute’s silence at 11am, we will commemorate the workers who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, and show our solidarity with those who continue to do vital work at great risk.

“Many Prospect members are working under the cloud of the virus, keeping the lights on, ensuring we are safe and running our public services. As a union, we send our thoughts to all members working at this difficult time.

Learning lessons

“28 April is not a day to point a finger at those who should have done more to protect those at risk, or to ask why our country has been caught unprepared for the pandemic. But those questions will be asked, and we must learn the lessons from this crisis. We must ensure there will not be the loss of life like this again.

“International Workers’ Memorial Day reminds us of the vital role of union health and safety representatives.

“Up and down the country, dedicated trade unionists continue to use their professional expertise to keep their workplaces and colleagues safe. This will only become more important in the weeks and months ahead as we emerge from the crisis and return to something that resembles normal.

“For many, returning to the workplace will be a considerable source of anxiety. It will be hard to roll back the mind-set we have formed to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.

“That is why we will always follow the best scientific advice. We will draw on this as we represent members, and apply its rigour in ensuring that risks are managed.

“We know that, as the lockdown is lifted, social distancing will need to be retained. Many work tasks will need to be changed to ensure they can be carried out safely.

“In doing so, there is much that can be learnt from our members who have continued to go into work during this crisis. But this can only happen following constructive engagement between employers and unions. We have already made the case directly to government to ensure the economy can recover when work resumes.

“We expect the same seat at the table to negotiate a safe return to work with all the employers we deal with. We want to extend this hand of partnership into other areas where Prospect members are working, but maybe not currently recognised.

Engaging in good faith

“A return to work after this unprecedented lockdown will require great skill and reassurance. More than ever, it will be vital that employers are honest and transparent in their plans, and engage with the union in good faith.

“New work routines will be required and the same innovation shown during the lockdown will be needed as offices reopen. The workplace may never look quite the same as it did before.

However it changes, and whatever challenges it throws up, we will provide the pragmatic, sensible advice and representation needed based on our years of experience as the leading health and safety union.

“We should remember, too, that many members will return to the workplace having experienced the loss of loved ones, be that family, friends or colleagues. Employers will need to have appropriate support in place to help them through the difficult times, and we will work with them to do that.

“There has never been a more important time for employers to recognise the valuable knowledge of its workforce. This will needed as never before if we are to beat this terrible virus.”

Mike Clancy is Prospect general secretary.


Scotland: Unionised workers have more safety and security | STUC

Results from a survey of over 1,500 workers in Scotland have revealed the advantages enjoyed by unionised workers over un-unionised workers during the pandemic.

In terms of security, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) study reveals that unionised workers are half as likely to feel their job is at risk than those who are not in unions, and that almost two-thirds of un-unionised workers are worried about paying bills compared to a third of unionised workers.

Unionised workers also feel safer, have some degree of better access to PPE, and are working in places with clearer policies on dealing with the virus.

STUC general secretary designate, Rozanne Foyer, said  “the results of this survey are clear. During exceptional times and periods of crisis, when the music stops, those who are in unions find they have the support, security and safety that many other workers can only dream about.

“It is a hard time for all workers, but life is made a little easier when you know that you are part of a collective. The statistics speak for themselves. Now it’s time for people in unions to speak with friends and family about why it matters to get yourself in a union before you go back to work.”

Among the statistics are:

  • Those who aren’t members of a trade union are twice as likely to say their job is at risk than those in a trade union (37% of non-trade union members compared to 19% of trade union members)
  • 59% of non-trade union members are worried about paying the bills compared to only 33% of trade union members.
  • 57% of non-trade union members who are still working do not feel safe at work, compared to 48% of trade union members.
  • 44% of non-trade union members reported not having access to PPE compared to 39% of trade union members.
  • 40% of non-trade union members reported that their employer was not good at keeping them informed as the situation changes, compared to 22% of trade union members.
  • 29% of non-trade union members reported that their employer did not have a clear policy on Covid-19 compared to 18% of trade union members.
  • Only 35% of non-trade union members have been told they will be paid in full if they are off-sick with covid-19, compared to 62% of trade union members.

Full STUC news release and survey findings.

Global/Kenya: Podcast – The impact of Covid-19 on informal transport workers | ITF

In a special show about how the Covid-19 response is affecting working people in public transport, ITF urban transport director Alana Dave has spoken to Dan Mihadi.

Dan Mihadi is the general secretary of the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (TAWU), Kenya, and he explains how daily life has changed in Nairobi and the challenges face by informal and formal public transport workers in his union.

But he has hope for the future: “We are demanding that this crisis leads to public transport coming into public hands, providing decent jobs, and training. This is an opportunity to make things better for working people,” he said.

As part of the ITF’s Our Public Transport programme, a statement and set of demands has been published in response to Covid-19, and a joint statement with employers.


BWI: 28 April Unions make work safer!

Each year on the 28th April trade unions around the world organise events to celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day. This year, the BWI is pleased to confirm the international theme “Unions Make Work Safer.”

Considerable responsibility falls on trade unions to ensure that employers take steps to avoid health risks and save workers’ lives as workers continue to be killed, injured and made sick whilst carrying out routine jobs. The hazards are well known and so are the prevention measures. The overwhelming majority of “accidents” are absolutely predictable and preventable. They are caused by failure to manage risks, or by straightforward negligence on the part of the employer.

Against this background, BWI affiliates all over the world are encouraged to campaign and pick up one or several sub themes hereunder:

  • cement, construction and wood: “One death is too many”. BWI’s recent survey on cement stresses that 83% of fatalities in the cement sector are taking place in subcontracted operations. 30% of the cement plants surveyed report at least one death over the last 3 years and 60% recognize occupational diseases. Figures that contrast with managerial practices since 20% of the plants still do not have regular medical visits for workers. In construction and wood industries, for almost all key risks – chemicals, dusts, manual handling, physical hazards, and psychosocial hazards – exposures are routine and excessive. Sawmills are by far the most dangerous workplaces, and are increasingly subcontracted and informal, leading to deteriorating conditions for workers.
  • migrants: “No to xenophobia at work”. In many countries throughout the world, migrant workers are faced with unsafe, dirty, and dangerous working conditions. At the same time, they fall victim to racism and xenophobia particularly more so due to the rise of anti-migrant and xenophobic rhetoric.
  • women: “No to gender based violence at work”. More than 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Between 40% and 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
  • asbestos kills: “Ban asbestos – the killer dust”. At least 100,000 people die from asbestos diseases every year, according to international estimates. The real figure is certainly even higher than that as there is no reliable recording of the medical cases in many countries. Furthermore, many victims do not know that they were exposed to asbestos and, because of the long time lag between exposure and the emergence of the symptoms, asbestos diseases are not correctly diagnosed, treated, compensated or, most importantly, prevented.

    Please ensure you send us the details of your planned activities, any resources and artwork you produce for 28 April 2017. You are invited to send them to us by email info@bwint.org

    We will post all these materials on the BWI website.

    Amandla! Power to the Workers.