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Date: 26 April 2012

International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April: UNISON calls for stronger regulation and enforcement

Cuts cost lives, says UNISON as it calls for stronger regulations and enforcement to make workplaces safer.

UNISON’s message comes ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day – held annually on April 28 – which aims to remember those who have died and fight to defend health and safety for workers.

There are events taking place throughout Scotland on the day to mark the occasion, including a remembrance ceremony in George Square, Glasgow on Saturday (April 28). Organised by the STUC, the event will see people from across the city gather to remember those who have died as a result of their work.

Scott Donohoe, chair of UNISON’s Health and Safety Committee, said: “At a time when health and safety is set to get worse, the spending cuts are also reducing the ability of enforcement authorities to inspect and enforce on health and safety.

“There needs to be a cultural change in the way deaths, injuries and ill health caused by work are seen by employers, the public and the government. We need stronger regulation and enforcement to make workplaces safer.

“The sad reality is that cuts cost lives and we have to fight to make sure that employers take their health and safety obligations seriously.”

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said:

“No one should be put at unnecessary risk at work. UNISON believes that work-related deaths, ill health and ‘accidents’ are not acceptable. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that work doesn’t cause harm to their employees – it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the law.

“Our branches and activists will be supporting the many events organised across Scotland to both remember those who have died and campaign for a change to the culture where employers feel they can avoid responsibility for their workers’ safety.”


Notes to editors

A full programme of events that are taking place on International Workers’ Memorial Day throughout Scotland can be found on the STUC’s website http://www.stuc.org.uk/international-workers-memorial-day

For more information contact:
Scott Donohoe, chair of UNISON’s Health and Safety Committee, on 07866 952 765.