Workers across Scotland gather to commemorate international Workers’ Memorial Day


Tory Government cuts and driving back of health and safety ‘red tape’ results in rising industrial accidents TUC says

WORKERS have met in 17 towns and cities across Scotland to commemorate those who are killed in industrial accidents.

Scots gathered in smaller and larger groups from Glasgow and Aberdeen to Inverness and Kircaldy to Orkney, to commemorate all those killed around the world in the pursuit of greater profits for the owners of industry. 

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 144 workers were killed at work in 2015-16.

Worker’s safety reached its peak in 2013 but since then has steadily declined. In 2014 the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) warned that cuts planned to the HSE and the abolishment of some health and safety regulations would lead to an increase in workplace deaths. 

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “On Tuesday at our Congress in Aviemore we heard of the shocking accident record on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route construction project, over 100 injuries since the project commenced; we believe these incidents are directly as a result of consistent failures to consult trade unions, failure to have adequate health and safety representation and the prominent use of agency workers who are too frightened to report safety issues.

Opinion – Yvonne Ridley: Remember Aberfan…and the complicit establishment

“The growing gig economy and the changing world of work each provide significant challenges in delivering safe and healthy work environments for all workers, a challenge only trade unions can deliver, research from across the world shows that where trade unions are present workers are less likely to suffer injury or ill health as a result of work and we will be focusing our effort on making our workplaces, fairer, safer and healthier in future.

“HSE figures show that 144 workers lost their lives in 2015-16, a figure that only scratches the surface of the real picture, many thousands more die as a result of occupational cancers, hundreds as a result of work-related road traffic accidents and there is growing concern around suicide linked to work.

“International Workers’ Memorial Day allows us to spend some time reflecting and remembering the victims of health and safety failures and committing to fighting back against ideological attacks on health and safety enforcement by the United Kingdom Government, and the continued undermining of health and safety by certain media outlets only too willing to promote the Government’s position.”

The UK Government has argued it needs to reduce health and safety provision to make industry more profitable.

No one knows the full figure for work-related deaths, as companies and governments often cover the true figure up. But the International Labour Organization estimates the figure to be 2.2 million per year.

Picture courtesy of Savannah River Site

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.