On the occasion of the World Day of Health and Safety at Work 2020, on April 28th, amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the World Federation of Trade Unions reiterates its demand for immediate full protection measures against COVID-19 at workplaces for all workers.
Every year 6.300 people lose their life due to occupational “accidents”, full majority of which are employers’ crimes, while more than 2.3 million deaths of workers occur from work-related diseases. 317 million “accidents” take place in the workplaces annually. This year, the workers are also faced with the threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic which spreads quickly inside crowded offices, factories, warehouses, mines, cruises and other workplaces, or public transport that workers use to go to their work. Tens of thousands of workers have been infected and thousands of them have died because of the tragic lack of health and safety measures, personal protective equipment, safety distance. The delay or denial of capitalist states and employers to close down big production units where workers crowd in had tragic results in the North of Italy, in the USA, in Turkey and many other places and now they are starting to reopen them. Even the workers who are in the frontline of the struggle against the Coronavirus pandemic, doctors, nurses, healthcare staff and staff of other irreplaceable services, are left unarmed, with tragic shortages in proper PPE, adequate medical equipment and structures, understaffed and ill Public Health Systems, which among others resulted to infection of a high percentage of doctors and healthcare staff.
In the exploitative capitalist system where the profits of the monopolies are always above workers’ health, where health is treated as a cost, where scientific research is ruled by the antagonisms of the health industries, the workers and the popular strata are the first to pay the price in general and during this Pandemic crisis in particular. The World Federation of Trade Unions, its 100 million militant members who work and struggle in 132 countries of the world, urge all workers to continue and strengthen our fight for health and safety measures in the workplaces, for free and safe vaccine for the peoples, for Public Free and High Quality Health services, doctors inside the workplaces. Workers health and safety over profits!