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ITF unions act on container safety on Workers’ Memorial Day

30 Apr 2015
Unions took action to raise awareness on toxic gases in containers
Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living. That’s the slogan for International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) and it was taken to heart by ITF unions this week when they took action around toxic gases and fumigation in containers.

Members from the dockers’, road transport workers, railway workers and seafarers’ sections were part of 28 April activities highlighting the ITF container safety campaign. The issue of toxic gases in containers tied in with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) theme for IWMD - removing exposure to hazardous substances at work.

The container safety campaign also looks at misdeclaration of contents, container weights, and improper packing.

ITF president and chair of the dockers’ section Paddy Crumlin said: “Unsafe containers affect workers in every section of the transport chain-that makes it a trade union issue. Dockers, seafarers, truck drivers, railway workers and warehouse workers are potentially at risk because they often don’t have accurate information about the vital statistics of a container; what’s in it, how much does it weigh, has it been loaded properly, has it been tested for toxic substances?

“So for us this is about regulation, it’s about giving workers accurate information about the containers they’re handling so they can do their jobs and still make it home at the end of the day.”

There’s more from Paddy Crumlin in his blog article for Equal Times >>

In India, Japan, The Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark, Belgium, Uganda and many more, raising awareness with members and the general public was key in union activities. See transport workers in action >>

Unions are being encouraged to continue their work around container safety by lobbying their national governments to implement the code of practice on packing of cargo transport units which was endorsed by The International Labour Organization (ILO) , Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) last year and adopt the provisions into national legislation. The ITF would also like to see more legislation around mandatory weighing of containers and a system to measure levels of harmful gases.

Find out more on the container safety campaign:

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