Today marks International Workers’ Memorial Day, when the labour movement comes together to remember those who have lost their lives at work. Every year more people are killed at work than in wars.
It is an occasion to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace disturbances and ill health and to support campaigns and union organisation in the fight for advancements in workplace safety.
In recognition of the memorial day Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Member of Parliament for Streatham, has urged the Government to tackle unsafe working conditions and chronic low pay.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Member of Parliament for Streatham, said: “With many workers currently forced to go into unsafe working environments on a daily basis and the tragic deaths of over 100 NHS staff since March, coronavirus is showing us more clearly than ever how some UK workers put their lives at risk when they go to work.
Safety is a right
“Safety at work is a right, not a privilege but you wouldn’t know this from the way the Government has handled the coronavirus crisis, whether it’s failing to stockpile the life-saving equipment that they need to safely do their jobs or not giving some workers the financial support they need to self-isolate.
“We must protect and respect all workers. The best way for the Government to honour all those who have died from work-related illness or injury is to ensure the safety and dignity of their colleagues.
“Respect starts with offering basic protection in the here and now. That means getting a grip over PPE supplies, ensuring testing targets are met and being transparent with key workers.
“But the current crisis is also an important reminder that there’s no such thing as low-skilled work, just low-paid work. We cannot go back to a situation where we undervalue the people we’re currently praising as key workers. That means paying everyone properly and always listening to them about the things they need to do their jobs safely.”