International Day of Mourning

The International Day of Mourning is April 28. Originating in Canada almost 20 years ago, it commemorates workers who have been killed or injured on the job; to “mourn for the dead and fight for the living”.

Australian construction unions commemorate International Day of Mourning.
Music: Kevin McLeod

Each year over 140,000 Australians are seriously injured at work, more than 250 are killed and it is estimated that over 2000 die as a result of work-related disease. The social and economic costs are immense — as is the contribution of all this activity to the size of The Economy (which is really the most important thing for Working Families).

Union cash threat in bid to muzzle building watchdog
Lauren Wilson
The Australian
April 29, 2009

CONSTRUCTION unions yesterday began a ramped-up industrial campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission that could see political donations to ALP candidates who support the industry watchdog cut off.

On what was labelled an international day of mourning for lives lost on building sites, workers across the country stopped work and observed a minute’s silence in honour of lost colleagues.

More than 10,000 union members and supporters in Melbourne marched from Victoria’s Trades Hall to the offices of the Master Builders Association, while thousands more workers gathered in other capital cities…

In Victoria, the national secretary of the construction arm of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Dave Noonan… said the CFMEU — which gave “appropriate and disclosed” financial donations to some ALP candidates in 2007 — might review its donation policy before the next federal election…

Hmmm. In FY2007/08, the CFMEU Mining & Energy Division donated $700,000 to the Federal ALP; the Maritime Union of Australia (Sydney Branch) $500,000; and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union $270,000. In Victoria, in FY2007/08, the Victorian branch of the ALP received $112,647.46 from the CFMEU Construction & General Division.

In other news:

Unionists protest over pay dispute
Reko Rennie
The Age
April 29, 2009

Around 500 unionists have gathered near Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge to protest over a long-running dispute with engineering firm John Holland…

John Holland donated $50,000 to the Federal Tory Party in December 2007, a measly $7,772.73 to the Federal ALP in September 2007, but gave nothing to the Victorian ALP.

Dunno… but maybe the money could be better spent. As for workplace safety, the swiftest means of improving it would be to introduce better legislation; that is, imposing harsh penalties, including jail terms, on bosses who fail to provide safe workplaces and whose negligence results in serious injury or death.

Of course, legislation is one thing; enforcement, another.

See also : National OHS Review.


Hear also : Parts One & Two of Dissident Island radio’s G20 coverage.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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