Health & Safety
Wolverhampton Workers' Memorial Day
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60 people came to Wolverhampton 23rd annual Workers' Memorial Day
Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living.
Monday 28th April 2014 @12.30pm at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square Wolverhampton WV1 1TS speakers:
Stuart Baker UCATT,
Satinder Bains Irwin Mitchell solicitors,
Rob Marris LP prospective parliamentary candidate W’ton SW,
Rev. Bill Mash, Industrial Chaplain,
Nick Kelleher, Secretary WB&DTUC & wreath laying ceremony
TOXIC, CORROSIVE AND HAZARDOUS - THE GOVERNMENT’S RECORD ON HEALTH AND SAFETY - TUC report http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Government%20record%202014.pdf
Wolverhampton' 23rd annual Workers' Memorial Day 28 April 2014
Work – its existence or absence, helps define a person.
If we're lucky, it brings in enough to pay the bills. If we're really lucky we have work which we enjoy.
Work also helps make a place. Our industrial past has shaped this town. And all the people who work in Wolverhampton make it the town we're proud of now whether we're council or health workers, factory workers or teachers, builders, posties, carers or fire-fighters.
It's tragic then, when work brings about the end of life; when it contributes to the breakdown of families & fracturing of communities. But it should never be an expected part of working life.
Sadly, Wolverhampton has seen its fair share of such tragedy – from the days of our industrial past to more recent workplace accidents.
Last year, the government said 148 Britons died in their workplace; 14 in the West Midlands and three from Wolverhampton: [reference 1]
But it's estimated that another 79 people died early in Wolverhampton from job-related injuries and illnesses last year. [reference 2]
That's 82 local families missing more than just a breadwinner – missing their father or son, mother or daughter. Local communities bear the knock on effects – the grief, mental health problems, and financial & social pressures.
Over a million working people in Britain are currently suffering from a workplace illness.
More people die at work every year around the world than in wars.
That's why we all have a responsibility to show H&S as more than just a nice add-on to everyday business, or a bureaucratic tick list to be checked.
We must ALL take responsibility for ourselves and those around us, for making sure we look after one another and don't make work a risky business.
We can achieve this when we are organised in the workplace, when we join together in trade unions to campaign for safer working conditions.
Trade Unions have a long, proud history of not only helping their members when tragedy and hardship strike, but also of using our collective voice to ensure that these awful accidents never happen in the first place.
The ConDem government however, is happy to put profit before people.
Due to government cuts, the H&S Executive can only prosecute 1 in a thousand breaches of H&S law. [reference3]. Council cuts will cut inspections and prosecutions.
They believe our H&S laws are red tape. Better red tape than red bandages.
So today we join with others holding commemorations in Walsall, Dudley, Stoke, Birmingham & around the world to remember those who have been killed, made ill, or injured by their own or someone else's work.
And we renew our commitment to demanding safe and healthy work for all.
Let us remember the dead and fight for the living.
– NickKelleher [reference 4]
Reference 2- 2011 Census: Wolverhampton & United Kingdom Population Estimates http://wolverhamptoncityboard.org.uk/newsdetail.php?id=50 and http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/population-and-household-estimates-for-the-united-kingdom/stb-2011-census--population-estimates-for-the-united-kingdom.html
Wolverhampton population (249,500) / UK population (63.2million) x 20,000 deaths = 79 estimated premature deaths in Wolverhampton due to work.
Reference 3 - Lords Hansard 14 Jan 2013 Column GC160 Baroness Donaghy http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130114-gc0001.htm
Reference 4 -article has been heavily quoted from a 2013 WMDay speech by Dan Jarvis MP for Barnsley http://www.danjarvismp.co.uk/news/speeches-articles/dans-speech-on-workers-memorial-day-2013-in-barnsley
Workers and families of people killed and injured by work love red tape because it’s far better than the alternative which is even more bloody bandages and workers made sick often to death. We all know no-one died of too much regulation and enforcement but from far too little. Their pointless red tape is our lifeline and especially for young people who are at more risk.
IWMD is a day to utterly reject the government’s business-led destruction of health and safety regulation and enforcement based on the lie that it is a ‘burden on business’, useless red tape strangling business. David Cameron has called health and safety an albatross and a millstone round the neck of business, and made it his New Year resolution to kill off health and safety culture. Despite all the evidence that there is no such burden on business but a massive burden on the individuals hurt and their families, and on the public purse, this government has used rigged reviews to support their slashing of health and safety regulation and enforcement by cutting the HSE’s budget and role, number of inspectors and inspections, cut regulations and rubbished the system that protects workers from safety and health risks at every opportunity.
Our health and our safety is under attack like never before. All that we have now in terms of safer and healthier working condition was hard won by the collective action of generations of workers and their trade unions over the last 50 to 150 years, is under threat, and standards are being driven backwards. Work is now more intense, harder, longer, and with a ruined safety net. We are in a fight for our lives and we must defend health and safety for our own sake and that of our children and grandchildren who will have to work until they are 67 and beyond before they can retire.
In 2014, after nearly 4 years of economic recession and specific government attacks on health and safety workers and the public are at much greater risk of being hurt by work than ever before. But because of cuts in scrutiny and reporting of injuries, diseases and incidents, we are even less likely to know or hear about it in the press/media. So use IWMD to get our message out: we need health and safety red tape and unions to protect us!
“We Love Red Tape – it’s better than bloody bandages”
WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY events in the Midlands:
Wolverhampton TUC's 23nd annual event
Monday 28th April 12.30pm Cenotaph, St Peter's Sq Wolverhampton WV1 1TS
Birmingham -12.30pm - St Philips Cathedral Grounds Colmore Row B3 2QB
Solihull - 12.30pm Brueton Gardens B91 3DL (opp Barley Mow Pub)
TUC guide on the importance of H&S reps
International Workers' Memorial Day originated in Canada. 28 April was chosen for International Workers Memorial Day as it is the anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the USA and also commemorates the day that 28 people were killed in a construction incident in Connecticut.
The Labour council lowers the Civic flags to half mast, something the Tory/Liberal coalition failed to do when in charge of the council.
Click HERE for details of other events in Britain and background to Workers' Memorial Day from the TUC.
What's Workers Memorial Day?
Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority.
Workers' Memorial Day takes place every April 28th - as an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
The slogan for the day is: "Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living"
The trade union movement "remembers the dead", by organising memorial events all over Britain. It is supported by both the TUC and the government's Health & Safety Commission. Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council and the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission have held events since 1992.
We must also "fight for the living" by ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated:
It is a FACT that you are less likely to get injured or killed in a workplace covered by one of Britain's 200,000 trade union H&S reps.
Greater Manchester Hazards has produced a number of resources see them here
For Background to Workers Memorial Day: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/WMD-Background-leaflet-20141.pdf
For Safety Reps Guide to Workers Memorial Day: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Safety-Reps-Guide-WMD-2014.pdf
For We Love Red Tape leaflet summarizing government attacks, lies and the truth: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/updated-WDVtDaW-Leaflet-NOVEMBEER-+-Red-tape-cover2013.pdf
Many relevant Hazards Magazine articles can be found on http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/
See especially: “It’s your choice Red Tape or more bloody bandages”: http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/citizensane
‘Business says deregulate: The government will obey!’: http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/deregulate.htm
Order Form for Ribbons: Purple Forget-me-knot ribbons £30 per hundred inc. p&p: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/WMD-Order-Form-2014.doc
Order Form for ‘Union Workplaces are Safer Workplaces’ car sticker price £30 per hundred: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wmd-car-sticker-order-form.doc
Order Form for Stationery/lapel stickers for events or mailings: sheets of 12 labels 60p plus p&p http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wmd-sticker-order-form-final.pdf
Order Form for ‘We didn’t vote to die at Work’ and ‘Stop it You’re Killing Us’ T-shirts http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/T-shirt-order-form.pdf sizes s,m,l,.xl,xxl,xxxl and limited number of children’s sizes. Great for those organising and speaking at events, staffing stalls, stewarding marches.
We still have some stocks of ‘We didn’t vote to die at Work’ and ‘Job Killer’ see images at http://www.hazards.org/wmd/images.htm#hazards
Globally every year more people are killed at work than in wars – a minimum of 2.3 million worldwide the International Labour Organisation estimates.
In the UK the Hazards Campaign estimates that in 2012/13 over 1,400 are killed in work-related incidents and up to 50,000 died from work-related diseases (cancers 18,000 [12% of total], heart disease 20,000 [20% of total], lung and other diseases 12.000 [15-20% of total] ).
Hazards Estimates: 140 people a day or 6 per hour are killed by work in Great Britain per year compare this with: 532 murders last year and 620 British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over 11 years.
e.g. Workers' Memorial Day ’Forget-Me-Knot’ Ribbons £30 per 100
Workers' Memorial Day car sticker size 210mm x 60mm £25 per 100
enclose payment with order; cheques payable to:
‘Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Ltd', Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD Bulk orders negotiable – Tel 0161 636 7557