Participants at the first European Regional Youth Assembly that took place in Stockholm, Sweden partook in an action at Sergel square at the city centre to protest the high level of deadly workplace accidents in the construction sector and send a clear message that every worker has the right to safe working conditions, as the right to live comes before profit.
33 young participants representing twenty unions from fifteen countries throughout Europe raised their voices to condemn workers’ deaths in the construction sector by chanting the action’s slogan “Life Before Profit”. An installation showing blood on workers’ gloves was to symbolize those who had perished.
Johan Lindholm, President of BYGGNADS and Vice-President of BWI European Region joined the action and stated that, “The role of trade unions is critical to ensure safe working conditions through collective bargaining agreements and trade union labour inspections. We have to work together to stop fatal accidents and injuries in the construction, wood and forestry sectors. Life always goes before Profit!”
On behalf of delegates, Jakob Wagner of BYGGNADS-Sweden; Vasyl Andreyev of PROFBUD-Ukraine; Devin Can of IG BAU-Germany; and Samantha Jones of Unite the Union- UK spoke emphasizing the message that safe work is every workers’ right.
Jakob Wagner as the newly elected Chair of the BWI European Regional Youth Committee, stated, “Every year, friends, co-workers, mothers and fathers are taken from us. Every morning, workers pack their bag, kiss their children on the cheek and leave for work but never to return home. Now it is up to our politicians to take action. If a worker dies because of unsafe working environment, it should not lead to anything but imprisonment of those responsible. If you also want to stop death at work, then I urge you to stand together with your co-workers refuse to carry out dangerous work and fight together for a better future”
The youth throughout Europe is determined to continue focus on safe work as young workers are one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to high risk of fatal accidents mainly due to the precarious working conditions they face at the worksite.