As part of this year’s commemoration of International Workers Memorial Day the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is urging Scotland to remember the families of the Bangladeshi garment workers who have lost their lives following the collapse of a clothing factory on the outskirts of capital Dhaka.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said
“Every year communities throughout Scotland gather to remember those who have lost their lives, suffered injury, ill health or disease as a result of work. We hesitate to call these accidents as, in the vast majority of cases the circumstances that led to exposure to risk of harm was entirely preventable.
“The reports coming from Bangladesh are particularly horrific and the STUC sends our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and, as always, the thoughts of the STUC and all in the trade union movement are with everyone who has lost loved ones and suffered heartache following workplace injury or occupational disease.
“United Kingdom retailers should be using their purchasing power to drive up health and safety standards in the countries where they source merchandise. It is not acceptable to blame the desire of consumers for cheap food or clothes as an excuse for the deception and failures that we have witnessed recently. Sourcing goods from unregulated labour markets can place the lives of workers at risk and large retail chains could play an important part in delivering safer and healthier working conditions for overseas workers in the garment trade.
“However we should not forget the tragedy that many families continue to face in the United Kingdom as workers continue to suffer fatal workplace injuries and death through occupational disease. We have to remember their loss and continue to fight for safer workplaces, fight against the cuts to the Health and Safety Executive and our health and safety regulation.
“The STUC believes that it is a basic human right that workers should be protected from harm, we also believe that we should all strive to deliver safer and healthier workplaces in Scotland, throughout the United Kingdom and throughout the world. This struggle should go across political boundaries, as well as the geographical and the STUC are deeply disappointed that neither the Scottish Conservatives nor the Scottish Liberal Democrats supported the motion by John Pentland MSP supporting International Workers Memorial Day and debated in the Scottish Parliament on the 25th April.
“Their failure to support and participate will not go unnoticed by trade unions and it is deeply disappointing they appear to have chosen to side with their colleagues in the coalition Government in Westminster who are intent on wrecking our health and safety system rather than remembering those who have lost their lives in Scotland and debating measures that Scottish Parliament could take to prevent workplace fatalities, work related injury and occupational disease.”
For further information contact Ian Tasker 0141 337 8100