Saturday May 8, 2021
For the road ahead

International Workers' Memorial Day (#IWMD21)

27/4/2021

Every year on 28 April, all around the world the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers' Memorial Day (#IWMD21)

We remember those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. We renew our efforts to organise collectively to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work.

International Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.

We remember those we have lost. We organise in their memory.

Theme for 2021: Health and Safety is a fundamental workers' right

Each year, the International Trades Union Congress decides on a theme for Workers' Memorial Day:

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in workplaces worldwide. Workers are routinely denied even basic health and safety protections, including consultation with safety reps and safety committees on ‘Covid-safe' policies and practices, free access to personal protective equipment and protection from victimisation for raising health and safety concerns. These same problems existed before the pandemic and resulted in millions of deaths each year from work-related injuries and diseases.

The pandemic demonstrates why health and safety must be a right for everyone who works. Illness anywhere threatens illness everywhere. Unions secured agreement at the International Labour Conference in 2019 that occupational health and safety should be recognised as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work - the decent, universally accepted and binding rights protecting all workers, everywhere. The ILO Centenary Declaration accepts "safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work".

On 28 April 2021, unions 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.

 

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