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Workers Memorial Day Demo

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Demonstration At Russian Embassy On Friday 26th April 2013 For Russia To Recognise Dangers And Sign Up To International Asbestos Conventions

On International Workers Memorial Day the call is stop mining and exporting asbestos, recognise the dangers from asbestos exposure and ignore the propaganda from the asbestos deniers says GMB.

There will be a GMB demonstration outside the Russian Embassy in Kensington on Friday 26th April calling on the Russian Federation to sign up to the Rotterdam convention and issue warnings on Chrysotile (White asbestos).

This follows a letter to the Russian Ambassador to the UK in February asking for a meeting to discuss the position. The request was ignored hence the call for the demonstration. The letter was sent from the GMB, International Ban asbestos Secretariat, Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK, and the Chair of the British Mesothelioma Interest Group.

The details of the demonstration are as follows:


Assemble at 11-30 am for the demo at 12 noon.

Friday 26th April 2013

at 6-8 Kensington Palace Gardens,

London W8 4QP.


All welcome – please bring banners and placards. On International Workers Memorial Day -Remember the Dead & Fight for the Living! See note 6 below.

John McClean, GMB National Health and Safety Officer, said “asbestos activists and trade unionists should demonstrate outside the embassy at Russia’s refusal to face up their moral and legal responsibility.

In the 21st century with our knowledge and experience no one globally should be exposed to the deadly asbestos fibre. The reason that exploited workers are still exposed is down to two things – greed and false propaganda.

 In commemoration of International Workers Memorial Day we send out this message – stop mining and exporting asbestos, recognise the dangers from asbestos exposure and ignore the propaganda from the asbestos deniers, most of who will never be exposed”.

Laurie Kazan-Allen, from the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, added” it is deplorable that the Russian government aids and abets the asbestos industry.

Despite the fact that the use of asbestos has been banned during the construction of the Sochi Olympics, it is understood that the Russian Government intends to block UN plans to regulate the global trade in asbestos in an upcoming meeting in Geneva.

This double standard is as hypocritical as it is deplorable. If asbestos is too dangerous for international athletes, surely it is too dangerous for Filipino, Thai and Indian Workers”.


For more information please contact John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781 

Notes for Editors

1 The Russian Federation exports over 1 million tonnes of asbestos annually to Asia.

2 The letter requesting a meeting with the Russian Ambassador, Alexander Vladinirovich Yakeovenko was sent on February 21st and signed on behalf of International Ban Asbestos Secretariat by Laurie Kazan-Allen, the chair of the Forum of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups, Tony Whitson, the chair of the British Mesothelioma Interest Group, john Edwards and GMB National H&S Officer John McClean.

3 The sixth meeting of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will take place in Geneva from April 28th to May 10th 20`13.

4 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that at least 100,000 deaths globally each year are due to exposure to asbestos.

5 While the use of asbestos has been restricted or banned in most industrialised countries in countries such as India, Thailand and the Philippines asbestos is used with little or no protection.

6 International Workers Memorial Day takes place on April 28th each year. As this falls on a Sunday this year events are taking place across the weekend (26th- 29th).

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