Remember the dead, fight for the living on Workers Memorial Day
28 April 2015
Paul Holleran, NUJ health and safety officer
Health and Safety is a matter of life and death and as the UK public prepare for a very important general election we need to recognise where our political support lies in protecting and even improving our current legislation.
There are two major health and safety issues impacting on our members that are major challenges for the NUJ. They are the slaughter of journalists around the globe in major conflicts and among journalists covering stories of major crime and political strife.
Secondly, our officials on a daily basis see among the NUJ membership the massive increase in work related stress cases in newsrooms across the industry, which is devastating in its own way to those individuals and their families.
The union continues to work closely with the IFJ in trying to ensure our members are trained and provided with maximum protection, support and escape mechanisms in the various wars and conflicts and are heavily involved in the IFJ end impunity campaign demanding action from governments and agencies around the world as record numbers of journalists and media workers are killed and murdered just for doing their job.
In respect of stress-itself a killer- and certainly a debilitating condition which can destroy lives and livelihoods we are to the fore in the trade union movement. We are fighting the causes, some which include bullying, unsustainable workloads tied into poor technological support and poor staffing levels following widespread redundancies in print and broadcasting.
In some cases we have seen members take their own lives in some of the most damaging cases.
It is our duty as a trade union to protect and where possible improve working conditions for our members, in many places it is becoming a matter of life and death.
That is why we should commemorate Workers Memorial Day and raise awareness of the importance of health and safety particularly in the face of political opposition in some circles and the government driven austerity which only damages the most vulnerable in our society and causes serious problems in workplaces where corporate management ignore their responsibilities and duty of care.