Affiliates from across the African region joined the IUF Africa April 28th International Workers Memorial Day on-line event to put on record that occupational health and safety must be recognized as a fundamental right at work.
- Opening the event Regional Secretary Gabriel Babalola quoted from the ITUC IWMD statement: “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 and not a priority.”
- A stark reminder of the urgency of the situation came from Kenya with a participant reporting that a worker at Kibos Sugar and Allied industries had lost his life the week before in a crushing incident that could have been prevented. The worker left a young family
- A number of participants spoke of the importance of ensuring that occupational health and safety issues always be examined through a gender lens and that gender based violence was an occupational health and safety issue
- Other issues discussed in the webinar included banning dangerous pesticides and supporting agro-ecology; access to potable water and sanitary facilities; the impact of manual lifting; menstrual health; childcare facilities; and collective bargaining as a tool to promote occupational health and safety
IUF affiliates from around the world marked International Workers Memorial Day with strong demonstrations of support for occupational health and safety to be recognized as a fundamental right at work and for COVID-19 to be classified as an occupational disease. In Europe, EFFAT issued a statement on the right to occupational health and safety as did Rel-UITA Regional Secretary Gerardo Iglesias in Latin America.
Mopholosi Morokong, IUF Occupational Health & Safety Regional Project Coordinator for Africa, stated: “The IUF Africa Region supports, without any reservation, the global call to make health and safety a fundamental right at work. It is the solemn tribute to workers who died, injured or fell ill due to exposure to preventable workplace risks.”