WAC-MAAN is marking Workers’ Memorial Day on the April 28th to remember the victims of work-place accidents and to struggle for the living.
Fatal work accidents in Israel up 67%
Trade unions worldwide have marked April 28thas Workers’ Memorial Day for victims of accidents on the job. This day has become a day for promoting health and safety at work.
While the struggle of organised workers for health and safety and for a fair wage takes centre stage in China, Egypt, UK, Bangladesh and many other countries, here in Israel we are witnessing a dangerous regression, with the number of fatal accidents increasing.
Statistical analysis by professional bodies shows that in the first three months of 2014, in the construction and general industrial sector, 25 people have been killed in work-related accidents. If this trend continues, the number will rise to 100—67% more fatalities than the multi-annual average (about 60 per annum).
Construction is the most dangerous part of the industrial sector. Despite the fact that it contains only 6% of the total workforce, the proportion of fatalities amounts to half. This fact is no doubt related to another: most construction workers are Arab or foreign, two groups that are discriminated against in Israel. The sector is plagued by neglect.
WAC-MAAN, the independent Trade Union Centre, considers the number of work-place accidents to be a direct consequence of this neglect and lack of regulation. We refuse to see such accidents as a matter of bad luck. Accidents are preventable. Dozens of deaths each year are a human tragedy and a travesty of justice against the workers and their families.
In the construction industry, during the past few years, organised labour has completely disappeared, and there is no job training. Yet construction is central to our economy, providing contractors with fat profits. There is no reason for it to be a hell for workers.
It is time for construction workers to stand up and demand their right to fair conditions and safety. WAC-MAAN is the leading force that cooperates with many others to guarantee fair conditions and safety on the job.