04/16/2007

What is April 28th about?

28 April is the Day on which we remember the over 2 million workers who die,
the more than 1.2 million who are injured, and the more than 160 million who
fall ill each year due to unsafe, unhealthy, or unsustainable work and
workplaces.

Historically, International Commemoration Day (ICD) is rooted in the Canadian
labour movement whose actions led to the first national recognition of 28 April
by any government when Canada adopted the "Day of Mourning” Bill C-223 in
1989. In that same year, the AFL-CIO in the United States also adopted 28 April
as the national day for workers in that country to observe every year. 28 April
became an "international day” in 1996 at the United Nations in New York when
a Global Union delegation lit a Commemoration Candle and Incense in memory of
workers who are killed or become ill because of their work, as well as to
promote Decent Work and Sustainable Workplaces. This ceremony coincided with a
special "Day of the Workplace” organised by the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
(CSD) in New York.

Since then, the international labour movement has observed and promoted 28
April around the world, and it is now officially recognised by national
governments in 14 countries or territories: Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda,
Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, Panama, Peru, Poland,
Portugal, Spain and Taiwan. Trade unions elsewhere are invited to obtain
similar recognition from their governments. In 2005, efforts began to have the
UN eventually adopt 28 April in the UN General Assembly. Having more countries
join the list of those already recognizing 28 April will increase the
likelihood of the UN recognition.

Since 1996, the number of commemoration events has grown. They are now
organized in 118 countries, and feature a wide range of activities that include
large rallies, sectoral mobilisations, educational and lobbying events and
information dissemination. In addition, many unions take the opportunity on 28
April to publicise results of such actions as workplace assessments, surveys
and research, as well as to announce initiatives they intend to pursue.

Planning Your 2007 Activities:


Our aim in 2007 is to build on the success we experienced in 2006. It is up to
trade unions in each country or sector to decide the focus and scope of their
activities for this year's 28 April. In the past, some unions chose to mark
the day with a simple candle or incense-lighting ceremony, in conjunction with
a brief commemoration in the form of speeches, and a moment of silence, broken
by a poem or some music. Whatever ceremonies or events are chosen should
reflect the overall themes of 28 April, normally beginning by commemorating the
dead, sick and injured workers in some fashion, and ending with a message of
hope for life and the living.

Priorities for 2007


  • Address the causes of occupational & environmental cancers
  • Demand safety & health standards and enforcement
  • Build on 28 April campaigns targeting asbestos & HIV/AIDS

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work