Hunter Workers to commemorate dead as worker fatalities rise

28 Apr 2022

PRESS RELEASE

On Thursday 28th April, 12 pm, Hunter Workers will be holding a commemorative gathering at Foreshore Park for International Workers Memorial Day.

This event pays respects to workers who have lost their lives in the last year, including approximately 17,000 health workers who have died from Covid-19 internationally.

A report released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) revealed that Scott Morrison has overseen an appalling 32 per cent increase in workplace fatalities and 8 per cent increase in workplace injuries from 2018 to the most recent data set, which covers 2020.

Prior to the Coalition Government coming to power in 2013, the numbers of workplace fatalities were steadily dropping.

The increases in fatalities and injuries can be credited to a number of failures by the government.
Despite recommendations from a review into work health and safety laws, the Morrison government opposed the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws which ensured bosses who cut corners that result in the death of workers face serious consequences.

The Morrison government aided the proliferation of insecure work in this country, leaving workers more unsafe on many fronts.

Insecure workers are more likely to experience mental illness and stress as well as being deprived of sick leave, a life-saving entitlement amid a deadly pandemic.

Additionally, insecure workers report they fear retaliation if they are to report health and safety issues at work, putting themselves and their workplaces at increased risk.

Speakers at the event will include Mark Cross, CFMEU C&G organiser; Leanne Holmes, Chair of the Hunter Workers Women’s Committee; Lynne Russell, HSU state secretary; and Tim Ferguson, AMWU organiser.

Quotes by Leigh Shears, Hunter Workers Secretary:
“International Workers Memorial Day is a day to commemorate workers killed, and to continue campaigning for safer workplaces.
The increase of deaths of workers under the Morrison government should be a wakeup call to Australians. We can’t afford a government who prioritises corporations over workers.
The fact that workplace deaths and injuries are increasing is absolutely unacceptable and this government needs to be condemned for their inaction.”