Container_safety

International Workers’ Memorial Day – 28 April Transport unions taking action on fumigation and toxic gas - Reports

Belgium
BTB-ABVV organised action at Brussels North train station during the morning rush hour to raise awareness among the public about the dangers of toxic gases in containers. Union representatives organised a short “play” in the main square outside the station which they repeated several times. The play showed workers collapsing after entering a container with toxic gases and then being saved by specialist workers in gas masks. Union representatives also leafleted commuters inside the station. Claire Clarke, ITF Inland Transport Sections, joined the event. (Email report by John Reynaert and Claire Clarke)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/collections/72157651842097560/

Bulgaria
FTTUB held a meeting with dockers at the port of Varna. The ILO/IMO/UNECE Code of Practice on packing Cargo Transport Units was presented and a discussion was held on fumigation and toxic gases in containers. The ITF checklist on toxic gases was distributed, along with other campaign materials. In Sofia, a service was held at St. Ap. Andrei Parvozaniy church in memory of transport worker victims of workplace accidents in 2014. At national level, FTTUB sent a letter to the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications requesting that a meeting of the Sectoral Council for Tripartite Cooperation be held on 28 April – at the last moment, the meeting was postponed. Following the agreement reached with the Ministry in October 2014 to work together on container safety, FTTUB plans to present the Code of Practice to the Ministry and lobby for its swift incorporation into Bulgarian legislation. (Email report by Daniela Zlatkova)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157650040849024/

Canada
Unifor and their members across Canada participated in community activities organised by Labour Councils. The message about container gases ‎was included in speeches on workplace dangers and the hazards in specific industries. Speeches were given by labour leaders, politicians and injured workers.  Many of the events were held at Worker Memorial monuments. (Email and phone report by Sari Sairanen)

Denmark
On 25-26 April, 3F held a meeting with dockers from all over Denmark at its union education centre in Silkeborg. One of the issues discussed was International Workers' Memorial Day and how to work safely when inspecting, loading or unloading containers. Leaflets and information about the issue were distributed to encourage discussion among dockers and warehouse workers. Information about the ITF campaign and activities by 3F on container safety was also sent to all union branches, health & safety representatives and shop stewards handling containers. (Email report by Karsten Kristensen)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157649892695883/

Egypt
The Egyptian General Seafarers’ Union organised a seminar for its members to raise awareness on container safety and toxic gases in containers and the measures to be taken to avoid dangers that may occur during loading and opening containers. Participants exchanged their experiences and ideas regarding the issues and committed to share information from the seminar with their colleagues. The union translated the ITF campaign material into Arabic which was distributed to seminar participants. The union also publicized the seminar on its Facebook page. The event was very popular so the union organised another seminar on 2 May. (Email report by Kamal Fathi)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157651915576937/ 

Estonia
EMSA organised lunchtime meetings on container safety and International Workers’ Memorial Day for 70 port workers at several terminals in Muuga. There have recently been two accidents, resulting in the deaths of workers. The union translated the ITF materials into Russian. Workers received flyers about toxic gases in containers, safety measures and accidents in ports as well as a fruit parcel and a union scarf. At a meeting in front of the Seamen’s Mission of Estonia, workers and union members gathered for a moment of silence. Candles were lit. The union plans to continue activities during the week. The union also sent a letter on container safety to the Estonian Government. (Email report by Aleksander Meier)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157649931034503/

Finland
Finnish dockers stopped work for one hour at all ports - the morning shift stopped work half an hour before the end of the shift and the night shift began work half an hour after the start. The aim was to draw attention to safety and remind people that all workers dealing with containers are exposed to hazardous gases on a daily basis. AKT called for safety throughout the entire transport chain, including complete and accurate information on the contents of containers, and better training on container safety. There was good media coverage. (Email report by Hilkka Ahde)

India
The Tamilnadu Road Transport Workers' HMS Federation marked the action day at the Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR) in Tondiyarpet, Chennai with a workplace meeting. Around 110 CONCOR employees participated in the meeting, which discussed various topics including packing of containers, inadequate securing of cargo, overloading, fumigation and declaration of contents. Representatives from the union addressed the meeting. (Email report by M.Subramonia pillai)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157649931034503/

India
The AIRF adopted a resolution at its General Council Meeting held in New Delhi on 28 April in support of the ITF campaign and urging management to ensure safeguards against health hazards caused by fumigation and toxic gases in containers. (Email report by Shiva Gopal Mishra)

Japan
Zenkoku-Kowan raised the issue of container safety at a labour-management 'policy committee' meeting on workplace safety in Tokyo on 24 April. The union explained about the ITF campaign and stressed the importance of raising awareness on the possible risks of toxic gases in containers. Both parties agreed to continue discussion on future improvements. (Email report by Akito Taguchi)

Korea
KPTU held a day of action on 21 April to mark the one-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry sinking. KPTU road, rail, aviation, hospital and utilities affiliates joined the victims' families to call on the government to uphold its promise for a fair investigation and to take necessary measures to ensure public safety. Events included a press conference, exhibition, a 'speak-out' about unsafe practices, rally and a flash mob. The union believes that overloading and poor securing of cargo, excessive use of precarious workers, faulty inspection, relaxation of safety-related regulations in the shipping industry and privatisation of rescue operations contributed to the tragedy. Throughout the day, KPTU affiliates raised several safety issues, including poor regulation on overloading and supply chain pressures that lead to overloading of containers and other freight carried by truck drivers, and called on the government and employers to correct these problems. (Email report by Wol-san Liem)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157651915413627/

Namibia
NATAU organised their activities on 1 May in conjunction with International Workers’ Day. The theme of the day was “Stronger Industry for Workers’ Prosperity” with the sub-theme “safety first before profit”. Activities took place in Walvis Bay; all containers designated for countries such as Zambia, Congo DR, Botswana and Gauteng Province in South Africa are docked at ports in Walvis Bay. The Minister of Labour Relations and Employment Creation addressed some 4,000 workers who gathered at the Kuisebmund stadium. The President also delivered a message from the President of Namibia. The workers highlighted safety issues specific to the maritime industry and seafarers. Workers also had opportunity to ask questions on toxic gases in containers during the opening sessions. (Email report by John Kwedhi)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157652364313192/

Netherlands
FNV organised action at the ECT terminal in the Port of Rotterdam in order to raise awareness on toxic gases in containers. 16 activists distributed the ITF checklist on toxic gases in containers in eight languages to truck drivers at the port. (Email report by Edwin Atema).

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157651792893417/

New Zealand
As part of RMTU’s activities to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, a service was held at Napier Port. Around 70-80 people from unions including RMTU, CANZ, MUNZ, FIRST and EPMU gathered at the remembrance tree at 10am. There was testimony in remembrance of two workers who lost their lives while at work in 2005 and 2013. The Operations Manager spoke on the need for diligence around containers, including the importance of knowing what is inside and referred to data on diseases which could be prevented. At midday, Napier Port staff stopped work for one minute. (Email report by Dave Marden)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157652240488822/

Togo
FESYTRAT organised a debate on container safety and toxic gases and fumigation in containers in Lomé to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. The event brought together several ITF affiliates in Togo representing seafarers, dockers, road transport workers and aviation workers. Members of the ITF-Togo women’s network also participated. There was good media coverage. (Email report by Emmanuel Agbenou)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157651840655119/

Turkey
BTS organised a press conference in front of the Haydar Pasa Train Station in Istanbul to raise awareness on container safety and in particular toxic gases and fumigation including their impact on safety and the environment. The union also shared data on occupational accidents in Turkey, underlining that such accidents should not occur. The union publicised the campaign on its website. (Email report by Osman Isci)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157652261087215/

Turkey
TÜMTIS marked International Workers’ Memorial Day by making a statement in front of the picket line at TÜVTÜRK Gebze - 51 workers at workplaces in Gebze, Kosekoy and Osmaniye have been unilaterally dismissed by the management of TÜVTÜRK (a consortium of vehicle inspections firms) since March 2015. The press statement was read by president of the union Gebze branch who emphasized the meaning and importance of International Workers’ Memorial Day and highlighted the ITF global action day on fumigation and toxic gases in containers on 28 April. (Email report by Göknur Mars)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157652383609355/

Uganda
On 28 April, the ATGWU held activities with their members working for Bollore Africa Logistics Uganda under the theme “Container Safety Now”. The main focus of discussion was about container safety within the northern corridor. (Email report by Aziz Kiirya)

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157651846096658/