Our ref: HSR/1/17
Head Office Circular: NP/44/23
8th March 2023
To: the Secretary
All Shipping branches
All RMT Safety Reps
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – 8th MARCH
WOMEN’S OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ON RMT WEB SITE
TUC EVENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ROLE OF H&S REP FOR WOMEN
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to draw attention to the struggles for women’s rights.
The day has a fantastic history: it came out of the struggle of working-class women to form trade unions and the fight for votes for women. In 1908 hundreds of women workers in the New York needle trades demonstrated to form their own union and to demand the right to vote. This demonstration took place on March 8th and the following year it led to the ‘uprising’ of 30,000 women shirtwaist makers which resulted in the first permanent trade unions for women workers in the USA.
This inspired European socialist women, who had formed the International Socialist Women’s Conference, to propose that each year a Women’s Day will be held, “whose foremost purpose it must be to aid the attainment of women’s suffrage” along “with the entire women’s question” in line with Socialist principals
The motion was carried: March 8th was favoured and was marked by rallies and demonstrations in the US and many European countries in the years leading to World War One.
In 1917 in Russia, International Women’s Day was the flashpoint for the Russian Revolution. On March 8th (Western calendar) women workers in Petrograd held a mass strike and demonstration demanding Peace and Bread. The strike movement spread from factory to factory and effectively became an insurrection.
Today we use IWD as an opportunity to draw attention to our own struggles for women’s rights.
Accordingly, I write as regards new information on RMT web site about women’s occupational health and safety: https://www.rmt.org.uk/about/health-and-safety/womens-occupational-health-and-safety/
I urge you to alert your branch to this information, because where the differences between men and women are considered when assessing risk and deciding suitable risk control solutions, there is a greater chance of ensuring that the health, safety and welfare of all workers is protected.
This information comes following workshop training at RMT Health and Safety Advisory Conference on women’s Occupational Health. This was organised as part of Health and Safety Advisory Committees campaign to focus their work programme on women’s health and safety - and to recruit more women safety reps.
In connection with the latter please be aware of a TUC event coming up on Thursday 23rd March: An introduction to the role of health and safety rep for women | TUC. I would be grateful if you could encourage any women members, who may be interested in becoming safety reps, to attend this event.
For your information this circular has also been sent to RMT Safety Representatives.