As a community with an industrial past and living with the impact of industrial disease such as asbestos, today at Greenock’s Clyde Square we marked International Workers’ Memorial Day.
The memorial day has been held here in Inverclyde for over 20 years. Of course, the clue is in the title, this is an event to remember not only friends and family who sadly lost their lives locally, it is also held to remember workers who have been killed in industrial disasters throughout the world.
This week also marks the one year anniversary of the Bangladesh factory collapse which killed over 1,100 workers. Tragedies such as this show that we still have a long way to go to ensure that all workers throughout the world are treated with proper regard, and that the fundamental human right to work in a safe and healthy environment is upheld.
Campaigners believe there are a number of things that must be done to try and prevent such disasters from ever happening again.
First, we need stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws to send out a clear message that failings will not be tolerated.
Second, we need to support organised Labour movements throughout the world who will stand up for workers and drive changes for the better.
Third, we need to prevent companies in the UK from benefitting from the lack of health and safety standards that lead to disasters such as the Bangladesh factory collapse.
And finally, we – the consumers – also have a role to play, by sending out a clear message to the big brands that we will not accept people being forced to work for on poor wages and in dangerous conditions.