The right wing have never liked health and safety – it’s routinely mocked in the tabloids, and politicians attack it as ‘red tape’ preventing ‘dynamic’ companies from doing business effectively. In the UK, the Conservative government has cut health and safety inspections, claiming this will ‘cut bureaucracy’ and ‘save millions of pounds’.
But this week we’ve seen many tragic reminders of the need for health and safety standards, with inspections carried out by qualified people. First, there was the tragic fires in Pakistani textile factories, leading to the entirely avoidable deaths of 300 works. You can support the IndustriALL and LabourStart campaign here.
And the news stories kept piling up:
- Vietnamese textile workers burned to death in a fire in Moscow
- The death of two chemical workers in Brazil
- And of course, the shocking but unsurprising results of the inquest into the Hillsborough football disaster, which showed systematic failure and police cover ups
For right wing politicians, the business class and their media cheer leaders, profit is always more important than people’s lives. This is why we need to recognise Workers’ Memorial Day each year – because work kills more people than war.
We also need to defend health and safety, and advance it: no one should die at work.
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