Trade unions, politicians and activists met in Princes Street Gardens at the Workers’ Memorial Tree. There were moving speeches, including the below speech given by a workplace rep from your branch, Euan Stewart:
This day is when we remember the workers who have lost their lives through their employment. We must also remember that it is not just Industrial Accident that causes death and injury at work. Stress and the pressures placed upon workers cause significant harm to workers and their families. There is often a very fine line between robust management and bullying.
Street Cleansing workers from the Cowan’s Close and Craigmillar depots are moving to the Seafield depot by the end of the month. This has been a long process, during which members have raised numerous concerns about the new facilities and the arrangements for the move.
We have had successes in addressing concerns raised in November, yet some items remain under discussion
On 28 April every year, we mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) to remember those who have died and work and mobilise to prevent this happening to others.
Health and safety is a crucial trade union activity and is something that must factor into everything we do as trade reps and members. This year, the theme for IWMD is organising for health and safety. Below we run through how your branch is currently organising for health and safety and some of the health and safety issues on the horizon.
On Thursday (28th), trade unionists and campaigners met at the Workers’ Memorial Tree in Princes Street Garden to mark International Workers Memorial Day, an annual event to commemorate those that have died at and due to work and to galvanise our fight to protect the health and safety at workers.
As the UK and Scottish Government’s lift COVID restrictions and safety measures at pace, your branch is committed to keeping workers safe. Cases are still high and Omicron is running rampant throughout Edinburgh, with staff absence rates impacting services—such as closing school classes —so our message is clear—the risk is still there, so we need measures to protect staff.
The removal of legal obligations should not mean a removal of all measures, but the ability for the Council to create their own measures to best suit the needs of the workforce. Success must be measured by reduction in case numbers and absence rates, not in how stringently the Council stick to the Scottish Government’s line.
We recently met with management to discuss changes to working arrangements in Waste and Cleansing as a result of changes to Scottish Government guidance and restrictions being lifted. The message from senior management is clear—there will be no sudden changes, you will be informed in advanced and they will meet with the unions before anything changes.
We made clear that we were concerned with what we believe is a rushed removal of vital safety measures in the community and that ensuring workers safety is paramount.
Andy Williams summarised the Council’s current position: