International Workers' Memorial Day 2021
Mourn the dead, and here’s how to fight for the living: let’s make occupational health and safety a fundamental right
On April 28th, International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD), the ITF remembers all those across the world killed at or around their place of work.
The ITF supports the campaign led by the International Trade Union Confederation calling on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to recognise occupational health and safety as a fundamental right at work. This would fulfil a pledge made at the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration, adopted unanimously, to ensure OSH for all workers.
#IWMD21 is especially poignant this year as it comes amid a devastating surge in global Covid-19 infections. Last week over 5.8 million new cases of Covid-19 were registered globally, the highest number to date. Many of these infections will have been caught at, or on the commute to or from, people’s workplaces.
But even before Covid-19, thousands of transport workers were vulnerable to injury or death in the workplace. The pandemic has simply exposed just how urgently occupational health and safety measures are needed.
“Every death at work is a death too many: the ILO, governments and employers must take greater action to halt preventable workplace deaths. Recognition of occupational health and safety as an ILO Fundamental Right at Work would be a strong step in the right direction.” – Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary
Governments and employers also have a responsibility to protect workers from violence and harassment in the workplace, which disproportionately impacts women workers. ITF affiliates, activists and Global Union Federations were instrumental in enacting global legislation against violence and harassment in the world of work.
ILO Convention 190, along with other instruments, must be signed onto by government to protect all workers from violence and harassment at work including the commute.