NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (APRIL 25, 2016) — The following is an address delivered by Hon. Vance Amory, Minister of Nevis Affairs, Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs on April 24, 2016, heralding a week of activities to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work observed on April 28.
On 28th April 2001, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) first marked this date as “World Day for Safety and Health at Work”. This was based in the recognition of workers Memorial Day which the Trade Union Movement instituted to commemorate workers who suffered as a result of occupational injury, disease or death.
The ILO sought to bring a tripartite focus and awareness to the need for accident and disease prevention at work, and has recognised this date every year since 2001.
This year, the theme for world recognition is “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge”. The theme is timely as work-related stress has become a global issue affecting all professions and all workers in both the developed and developing countries.
Today, we see more and more workers exposed to psychosocial risks/hazards due to increased competition, higher expectations on performance and longer working hours. These factors, contribute to the workplace becoming an ever more stressful environment. With the pace of work dictated by instant communications and high levels of global competition, the lines separating work from life are becoming more and more difficult to identify.
This, coupled with significant changes in labour relations and the current global economic situation, workers are experiencing organisational changes and restructuring, reduced work opportunities, increasing precarious work, the fear of losing their jobs, massive layoffs and unemployment and decreased financial stability, with serious consequences to their mental health and well-being. Due to the increased competition at work, resulting higher expectations in regards to performance and longer working hours, have contributed to the risk and the mental and social distress.