Gibraltar may be a few thousand kilometres away from the UK but we managed a suitably traditional long damp weekend holiday.
What a dutiful British Overseas Territory we are.
Although, somewhat differently, we commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 with a public holiday on May 30, followed by another holiday on May 1 – Labour Day/International Workers’ Day – hence our long weekend a week ahead of the UK.
I like holidays that are actually celebrated on the day and not bumped forwards or backwards to the nearest Monday.
Regardless of which, it was wet. I took the rare opportunity to take wet photos. And caught a cold. Literally. I am sure the two are not connected as I was wearing my leaking Goretex.
Ironically and unintentionally this post continues the theme of the last one….
Unite the Union Gibraltar Branch renew our commitment to, and demand once more, safe and healthy work for all.
Society no-longer finds drink-driving or domestic violence acceptable. It is time for work-related ill-health, injury, and death to also become unacceptable rather than a tragic but accepted part of the world of work.
Unite the Union Gibraltar Branch has declared 28 April 2012 a Day of Action to Defend health and safety. Unite the Union Gibraltar since 2008 have held Workers Memorial Day events and have finally influenced the Gibraltar Government to recognise Workers Memorial Day.
Every year we make clear the link between deaths and illness caused by work: most workers do not die of mystery ailments, or in tragic ‘accidents’. But because an employer decided their safety or health wasn’t that important a priority.
Unlike those dying in war or major incidents, they are not publicly remembered yet over 2.3 million people are killed by work worldwide each year – more than by wars or AIDS
Can you believe that? What appalling statistics. So, meanwhile as I was saying on the other post about trainees wearing safety gear on site…..
But moving swiftly on, our Chief Minister was busy unveiling a plaque on Workers’ Memorial Day, and sending out an inspiring message to Gibraltarians:
It is now also the GSLP, with our Liberal partners, who are introducing Workers Memorial Day as an annual bank holiday. As the grandson of a man who died in an industrial accident, it has been hugely satisfactory for me to introduce this commemorative holiday as a long weekend at the end of April. I recognise the work of Unite (in particular Gilbert McCarthy and Christian Duo) in raising the profile of this day.
Workers die around the world everyday whilst they labour to earn a living. Just last year a man lost his life working in Gibraltar.
We can therefore never be too careful when it comes to the protection of life in the workplace. That is why I adopt the phrase “remember the dead and fight for the living” which Unite is promoting as part of the events of 28th April co-sponsored by the Government and to which people from across the Community and across the political divide have been invited.
I have heard criticism of the fact that we are declaring a bank holiday to commemorate those who have died at work. Surprisingly, no-one criticised bank holidays given to celebrate royal weddings or winning court cases later lost on appeal. This day is much more poignant, enduring and relevant and I am hugely proud to have been able to declare it a holiday.
Finally, if you are going to take advantage of the fact that this year will be an extra long holiday weekend to go away – wherever you are, spare a thought for the events and sacrifices that give rise to these holidays. Enjoy –but do not forget.
While I may sound sarcastic, I am not. I think those are very valid sentiments, and my sympathies go out to the Chief Minister’s family and everyone else who who knows someone, whether family, or friend, who died at work or through a work-related disease.
I hope Unite’s calls for action are heard and implemented. There is more to workers’ rights than unveiling a plaque, fine words and a public holiday. Hopefully this government will be able to strengthen health and safety for those who work in Gibraltar.
Maybe even clamp down on that odd bit of illegal working that goes on? Cross-border workers trying to earn a pittance. No cover. Risking their lives. And sadly, so are the employers who knowingly take them on as illegal employees.
Unite the Union Gibraltar Branch is calling for:
1. No reduction in the legal protection for workers and the Gibraltarian community on health and safety.
2. Those who create risk must be held accountable.
3. No freedom from inspections and an increase in inspector number.
4. Recognition and support for the role that union safety representatives play.
5. More action to prevent occupational diseases.
Meanwhile some more damp pics from my sick bed and the obligatory slideshow.