ALMOST three people are killed at work every week, trade unionists warned as they marked Workers’ Memorial Day today, with 142 workers dying on the job in 2014-15.
Workers will rally and lay a wreath at the statue of the unknown building worker at Tower Hill in central London from 10.30am today.
Trade unionists condemned the government’s cuts to health and safety budgets and the savage Trade Union Bill.
“Tory ministers driven by ideology, coupled with unscrupulous bosses trying to circumvent the regulations, are putting the lives of workers at risk,” said Unite leader Len McCluskey.
“At least two workers a week are dying in the workplace across the UK — this is simply not acceptable in 2016.
“It is a fact that unionised workplaces are safer, yet the government is hell-bent on trying to block unions from protecting the health and safety of our members.”
He warned: “We will see more deaths in the workplace” if the government continues to limit training for health and safety reps and more restrictions on the right to strike.
“International Workers’ Memorial Day is about recognising the loss of those who don’t make it home at the end of their working day,” added Mr McCluskey.
“It’s a hard fact to swallow that more people are killed in work than in wars.”
The death toll is on top of the 1.2 million people who suffered work-related illnesses, according to Health and Safety Executive data.
Mr McCluskey will also be joined at the rally by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady and construction union Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye.
Ucatt warned that the HSE will have had its budget cut by half by 2020 — sabotaging essential site inspections.
Ucatt London region secretary Jerry Swain said: “Workers’ Memorial Day is when construction workers come together to pause and remember fellow workers who have been killed and injured at work.
“It is the day when workers say enough is enough and demand that no more workers die because companies are more interested in profits rather than protecting lives. Our safety laws have been weakened and government cuts have reduced the level of enforcement undertaken by the HSE.
“Without the presence of strong unions, workers are placed in even greater danger when working on site.”
Events will take place across Britain under the banner “Strong laws, strong enforcement and strong unions.”