Death risk for NI workers ‘higher’

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A new report has revealed that workers in the North are twice as likely to die as their counterparts in the UK because of a high accident rate. However, Northern Ireland does have a higher proportion of tradespeople. Work-related ill health and accidents costs around £250 million a year with seven people losing their lives in work-related accidents in 2009, which is a 60% reduction on the previous year's figure.

The report released by the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) recorded that in recorded that in “2008/09 there were 1.24 people injured per 100,000 employees compared to 0.5 in Great Britain.” Casualisation of the workface, erosion of workers rights and conditions, the putting of profits before health and safety are key factors behind deaths and accidents in the workplace.

The report comes as NI first minister Peter Robinson warned of a “prolonged recession” and expected austerity cuts could be “devastating” for the economy. He said the prospect of 20-25% cuts, amounting to about £2bn, would have a "devastating impact bogging NI down in a recession for a prolonged period". Across Europe workers are continue to face and resist attacks on their standard of living, wages and conditions. Solidarity and mass direct action between unionised workers or not, are important weapons we need to utilise.

Over one million French workers are currently taking to the streets across the country in protest against Government pension plans which include raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. This comes after a one day national strike disrupted flights and transport and forced schools to close.

Words:Sean Matthews

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