Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 52 Number 9, May 1, 2022 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Workers' Memorial Day, April 28, 2022

Our Safety and Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!

Sheffield marking International Workers' Memorial Day

April 28 marked the annual International Workers' Memorial Day for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made ill through their conditions of work. Memorial Day 2022 comes at a time when the anti-social offensive continues, the lives, livelihoods and conditions of the entire working class are under threat. The threat to the population's security by war and inflation, caused by the financial oligarchy, governments of the rich and global imperialism, reflect the need for fundamental change. A change in the direction of the economy and for anti-war government, a change that enables and empowers the workers to control their destiny and take the big decisions in their own name and not the rule of the elite, a change so that they can establish new authority.


Workers' Memorial Day is a day when workers across the world, their trade unions and other fighting organisations, participate in ceremonies and meetings and observe a moment of silence to mourn the dead and fight for the rights, safety and well-being of the living. The day also expresses the demand for compensation and treatment for the consequences of poor working conditions.

We express our deepest sympathies to the families of those essential workers who have lost their lives while performing their duties without adequate protection. Those working in elementary occupations, workers employed as process, plant and machine operatives, and health, care and leisure service workers who all suffered significantly higher rates of illness and death than the average population.

Workers' Memorial Day came this year with added difficulties. The government removed all measures and guidelines to defeat the pandemic even though it reached new peaks threatening the lives of significant numbers and made no adjustments to alleviate the dangers posed by new variants of coronavirus. In doing so new peaks were made in infections and practically the entire population went down with the virus at some point. No plans are made for any new pandemic.

This year, for the second year, Hazards Campaign has also included the estimated number of workers who have died because of Covid-19. More than 60,000 workers are now estimated to have died last year because of work-related harm. [1]


Instead, the conditions of essential workers and their contribution was pushed aside. Pay and conditions have deteriorated. Workers have seen the elimination of the furlough scheme and the government is bent on paying back the loans to the financial oligarchy to service the rich. The workers were taxed through increases in the National Insurance scheme. Caps were lifted on energy bills. Workers continued to be dismissed under "fire and rehire" that the government failed to inhibit. Workers at P&O were simply fired and new labour under poorer working conditions were put in their jobs. Now workers who have worked at home for so long are being told to return to their offices, forcing more people to commute. Already dangerous conditions are forced on workers that demanded improvements during pandemic such as at DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority). Front-line workers in hospitals, communities, care homes, transport, as well as all those workers who ensured that society did not come to a complete standstill have been treated in the most disgusting way.

How can injuries, sickness and death be prevented? They can only be prevented when workers have control over their conditions, their lives and livelihoods. Accidents and disease can be prevented by making sure the workers are put in charge of the conditions and preventative safety measures they require at work. Furthermore, sick pay and industrial injury compensation systems must properly and adequately compensate workers and their families.

Workers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety. They have the right to refuse work that could endanger their health and safety or that of others. Any attempt to intimidate or criminalise workers for exercising this right should be dealt with severely as should the wilful neglect of workers' health and safety by governments and employers.

International Workers' Memorial Day is an occasion marked by workers in speaking in their own name. The working class and people cannot hand over their trust to those who claim to speak, represent, or govern in their name. The working class and people must take up the fight for new arrangements that guarantee their interests and their right to decide on a safe human-centred system. Fight for a future where the working class and people decide how the economy is organised, how things are done, and what they need to serve the interests of everyone in society! Our safety and security lies in our fight for the rights of all.

Defend workers' rights! Defend the rights of all!



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