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WFTU Statement on the occasion of the World Day for Health and Safety at Work

The World Federation of Trade Unions on behalf of its105 million workers who live, work, and struggle in 133 countries all over the globe, expresses its internationalist solidarity with the workers in the length and breadth of the world who are suffering, faced with the criminal impact of lack of protective health and safety measures at the workplace, on the occasion of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the 28th April 2023.

According to ILO’s data, every year approximately 2.3 million people lose their lives from work-related accidents or diseases, while 374 million people are injured or get sick in cases related to occupational safety and health, many of those injuries are chronic disabilities or diseases.

The World Federation of Trade Unions strongly believes that trade unions should have a main role in overseeing the implementation of health and safety measures at the workplace, the trade unions must not be excluded from the procedures of reporting and investigating work-related accidents, this role can’t be played by the employers that put profits over the lives, health and safety of workers.

It is obvious that the annual recurrences of occupational injuries, deaths, and contraction of work-related diseases by working people can no longer be understood as workplace accidents. These incidents are not accidents; they are evidence of the conscious sacrifices of workers for the sake of profit.

Last year the ILO adopted a new resolution to include occupational safety and health (OSH) as one of their Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work during the 110th International Labour Conference. After this decision, OSH became the fifth category which makes its implementation mandatory for all the ILO member-states regardless of whether they had ratified it or not. Of course, this is a positive development but the workers need measures and not words.  Health and safety should be implemented in practice, in all workplaces and countries, instead of being just empty words on paper such as the rest 4 fundamental rights of ILO are proven to be in many cases.

Since its establishment in 1945, the WFTU remains the militant international voice for the working class against capitalist barbarity and the employer’s bulimia that prioritizes profits above the health, safety, and -in many cases- the very life of the workers. The WFTU calls upon class-oriented trade unions all over the globe to strengthen their struggle for adequate health and safety measures in all aspects of people’s lives.

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