Asbestos Focus on International Workers' Memorial Day 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Asbestos will be a focus of events held to mark the occurrence of International Workers' Memorial Day 2010. National governments, international agencies, global labor federations, and trade unions around the world recognize April 28 as a day when we rededicate our efforts to “Remember the Dead” and “Fight for the Living.” It is ironic that International Workers' Memorial Day originated in Canada. In 1991, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act acknowledging April 28 as a National Day of Mourning for those killed or injured at work. The same Parliament, however, has adhered to a long established policy which supports the dumping of carcinogenic asbestos on unsuspecting governments and consumers around the world.

On April 28, 2010, members of the Building and Woodworkers International will contact Canadian embassies and consulates in their countries to protest at Canada's continued support for this industry of mass destruction. Fiona Murie, BWI's Director of Health, Safety and Environment, says:

“Every international body on occupational and public health and safety is trying to bring an end to the use of chrysotile world wide. However, their efforts to protect human health are being hampered by the manipulation of the Canadian government through their asbestos industry lobbying body, the Chrysotile Institute. They are cynically and deliberately confusing people regarding the health hazards in order to sell more chrysotile asbestos.”1

A video appeal from Karnan Ramamurthy, leader of a BWI-affiliated trade union in India, has been made to “Canadian brothers and sisters” to lobby their government to end its support for asbestos production. Ramamurthy highlights the work his union has done, in collaboration with other civil society sectors, to lobby the Government of India to ban asbestos and criticizes the deadly part played by Canadian asbestos stakeholders in the global asbestos lobby. This video can be viewed at:

April 19, 2010





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