Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths has issued the following message to mark Workers Memorial Day on April 28.
“It is vital to continue marking Workers’ Memorial Day, because the carnage of deaths, diseases and injuries at work continues unabated Before the coronavirus shut-downs, one worker was killed and more than 5,300 injured every two working days. Although the fatality rate had been slowly falling, the injury rate was increasing.
Then came the coronavirus crisis and disastrous British government decisions to impose workplace lockdowns too late and end them too early. That’s why there have been 32,500 reports of Covid-19 workplace infections in the workplace over the past 12 months, killing more than 388 workers.
These grim statistics not only represent very real human tragedies for victims, workmates, families and friends. They also reflect the criminal complacency shown by successive governments, the Health and Safety Executive and numerous employers both big and small when it comes to enforcing health and safety standards at work. The reduction in the number of workplace inspectors by one-third since 2010 must be reversed. Most importantly, too, workers need to join a trade union, elect their own health and safety representatives and ensure that employers abide by the letter and spirit of the law – or else industrial action will follow.
We know that unionised workplaces are safer workplaces – not only for workers and employers, but for customers and the general public as well. This should be the paramount message of this year’s Workers Memorial Day.”