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

On the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the World Federation of Trade Unions, reaffirms its commitment to the struggle for safe and healthy working conditions. Every worker has the right to return home unharmed at the end of the day. On behalf of its 105 million workers who live, work and struggle in 133 countries all over the globe, the WFTU expresses its internationalist solidarity with the workers of the world who are suffering, faced with the criminal impact of lack of protective health and safety measures at the workplace.

The ILO estimates that some 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work related accidents or diseases every year; this corresponds to over 6000 thousand deaths every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually

Safe and healthy working conditions are not a privilege, but a fundamental right. Yet, millions of workers worldwide continue to work in hazardous conditions, risking their health and lives. We call upon governments, employers and international bodies to prioritize workers’ health and safety, to enforce stringent safety standards, and to hold those who violate these standards accountable.

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 procedure of reporting and investigating work related accidents. This role cannot be played by the employers that put profits over the lives, health and safety of the workers.

For capitalism profit is sacred and the ruthless competition appears as a necessary end that sanctifies the means. It is no coincidence that with these priorities the safety and health of the workers is put on the sidelines. whatever creates a cost, whatever takes away from the profits, is a “burden” that cannot be lifted.

It is obvious that the annual recurrences of occupational injuries, deaths and contraction of work-related diseases 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.

Since its establishment in 1945, the WFTU remains the militant international voice of the working class against capitalist barbarity and the employer’s greed that prioritize 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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