Tue 27 April 2010
Further action must be taken to combat "unacceptable levels" of deaths at work, and of work-related injuries and illnesses. That’s the message from UNISON on International Workers Memorial Day.
In a move welcomed by UNISON, International Workers Memorial Day, held annually on 28 April, is being officially recognised by the UK Government for the first time.
UNISON Scottish Secretary, Matt Smith will attend the main Workers Memorial Day ceremony in Glasgow's George Square, where he will lay a wreath on behalf of UNISON Scotland's 170,000 members in memory of all workers who have died as a result of their work.
Speaking ahead of the ceremony he said;
"70% of workplace accidents are due to poor management on health and safety. This means deaths at work are avoidable. But the alarming cuts in public spending which all the main parties have been proposing can only result in more danger for people at work.
"We welcome the official recognition of International Workers Memorial Day by the UK Government. Formal recognition reinforces the significance of the Day and raises awareness of the number of people who are killed, disabled, injured or made unwell through their work.
"We know, however, that recognition of International Workers Memorial Day will only be of value if it results in greater awareness of the unacceptable levels of deaths at work, and of work-related injuries and illnesses - and in practical action to combat these."
Scott Donohoe, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health & Safety Committee said:
“At a time when business and other vested interests are campaigning for proper health and safety laws to be replaced by deregulation, with companies being allowed to carry out their own health & safety audits, trade unions need to ensure that these hard-fought for rights are not eroded when employers campaign against red tape. Health & safety rules and regulations are an essential protection from employers who would put profit above the safety of their staff and the public.”
UNISON branches across Scotland will take part in ceremonies organised by local Trade Union Councils, and some will participate in activity organised jointly with local authorities.
UNISON Staff and members will hold a minute's silence at UNISON offices across Scotland.
Notes for editors
Full details of these events can be found at www.stuc.org.uk, the website of the Scottish TUC which is co-ordinating International Workers Memorial Day in Scotland.