Remember the dead and fight for the living.
That’s what we say each year on International Workers’ Memorial Day. And we will say it again today. But sentiment alone is insufficient.
Up to 50,000 people still die each year in the UK as a result of work-related ill health and incidents. Fortunately few of those are UNISON members, yet too many are still suffering from poor workplace conditions that cause work-related ill health, including: stress, back pain or RSI, hazardous substances, bullying or harassment, and workplace violence.
In 2016 we should be able to design workplaces where no-one has to die as a result of their job, and no-one has to suffer ill physical or mental health to care for themselves and their families.
I’m proud of the work our union has done on health and safety – the lives that we’ve been able to help save and the accidents we’ve been able to help avoid. We know that the key to providing a good and safe service is well-trained employees who have the time and protective equipment to do their job properly; along with strong laws, strong enforcement, and strong unions.
That’s why this year – and every year – I’ll be supporting International Workers’ Memorial Day. But it’s also why I’ll continue to fight on this day and every other day for a world that’s safe for working people.