Stand up for workers’ lives


Stand up for workers’ lives on April 28

Prospect members across the UK will be supporting the TUC's day of action on Saturday (28 April) to mark Workers' Memorial Day.

The TUC is calling on unions and other campaigners to make this a day of action to defend health and safety from attacks by the press, politicians and employers.

It is concerned that the UK's workplace safety record could be about to get worse as a direct result of government policies.

Not only do funding cuts – both to the Health and Safety Executive and to local authorities – mean there will be fewer inspections, the government has also said that workplaces like shops, offices and schools no longer need to be routinely visited by safety inspectors.

On Saturday campaigners are being urged to remind those attacking health and safety what the law is really about – not pointless regulation but necessary protection to stop employers taking risks with workplace safety and preventing people from being killed, injured or made ill as a result of their work.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The government says we don't need any more regulation, that the UK is a safe place to work. If only this were the case. With the UK 20th in a list of 34 developed nations, we've hardly got a safety record to be proud of.

“Sensible employers who are happy to work closely with unions improving safety and occupational health at work don't see safety regulation as an intrusive burden. But rogue employers, who are happy to cut corners and take risks with their employees’ safety, do.”

So far events have been organised in over 70 towns and cities from Aberdeen to Penzance. These include a rally in London's East End to commemorate the Watney Market sewer disaster in 1990; a march in the Prime Minister’s Witney constituency to remember Altin Balla, a building worker who died in 2008, and a wreath-laying in Newcastle to remember construction worker Joe Willis.

Prospect members at the National Trust in Northern Ireland will conduct a tree-planting ceremony. At Devonport Royal Dockyard, Plymouth, workers will mark the day on Monday 30 April by stopping work at 10.45am to lay a wreath.

For details of all events, see the TUC website.