Workers’ Bodies

We’re all familiar with the big, dramatic tragedies where workers lose their lives. Piper Alpha. Deepwater Horizon. Bhopal. Factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tragedies that never should have happened, and we call for better regulations to ensure they never happen again.

It’s harder to see the less dramatic, everyday industrial tragedies. They’re under the radar. A few accidents here, a few illnesses there. It’s hard to pinpoint the death toll, and it doesn’t happen all at once.

There’s no big explosion – just the slow, grinding pressure of a system that treats workers as expendable parts of the machine, caught between the twin pressures of austerity for the many and profit for the few.

Cutting corners and doing more with less has real consequences.

Cancers and emphysema and skin conditions from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals and industrial pollution. Repetitive strain injuries. Debilitating stress. Accidents caused by understaffing and exhaustion. Damage to bones and joints and relationships from working too many hours over too many years, because it’s the only way to survive.

Health and safety isn’t just about preventing the big tragedies that make the news – it’s about ensuring that workers’ bodies are not a raw material for capitalists to exploit.

There is enough wealth and technology to ensure reasonable staffing levels in all industries, and ensure a good work-life balance for all workers.

There is enough wealth and technology to reduce working hours and improve working conditions, both here and in the countries where we export many of our most toxic and dangerous jobs.

There is enough wealth and technology to cut pollution, protect ecosystems and reduce human suffering. It’s a matter of social justice and political will.

In memory of the workers who have died and those who have been forced to suffer quietly, let’s work together towards a world where no one’s job puts their life – or their health – at risk.

1 Comment

  1. Anne Mansfield
    28 April 2019

    Thank you Myshele – because who will speak up for the low paid, the undervalued & exploited members of our society if not the SGP – environmental protection & social justice will be part of a different future for Scotland.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *