UNISON marks International Workers’ Memorial Day with call for safer workplaces

Date: Fri 26 April 2013

UNISON today warned that the appalling toll of death and injuries from the collapsed clothes factory in Bangladesh highlights the vital importance of strong health and safety laws.

Trade unionists across Scotland will be marking International Workers Memorial Day (28 April) at a range of events over the next few days.

But UNISON Scotland’s Scott Donohoe said the 21st IWMD comes at a time when the UK Coalition Government is making unprecedented attacks on health and safety at work.

Scott, Health and Safety Committee chair, added: “This week the House of Lords backed a legislative amendment we have been fighting because it puts safety laws back more than 100 years.

“It will make it much harder for people to gain compensation for personal injury.

“Work-related deaths, ill-health and ‘accidents’ are not acceptable. Yet budgets for enforcement have been slashed, employers need report fewer of the injuries to their workers and unannounced inspections of so-called ‘low-risk’ workplaces have been stopped.”

The Health and Safety Executive’s budget has been cut, as has the money from central to local government, which employs environmental health officers, who deal with health and safety.


For information please contact:
Scott Donohoe, Chair of UNISON’s Scottish Health and Safety Committee, 07866 952 765
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877 000


Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland.

2. IWMD events in Scotland are listed on the STUC websitehttp://www.stuc.org.uk/campaigns-and-external-events/international-workers-memorial-day  

3. On Monday (22 April) the House of Lords voted to repeal the law which was established in 1898 which made employers automatically liable to pay compensation to injured workers or bereaved families for breaches of health and safety regulations. This is reported on UNISON’s  law firm Thompsons website www.thompsons.law.co.uk/personal-injury/workers-lives-risked-workers-memorial-day.htm

4. The Scottish Parliament debated IWMD and health and safety at work on Thursday April 25. Official Report www.scottish.parliament.uk/