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Pope Francis greets members of ANMIL, an Italian association of workers who have been seriously injured or disabled at work, at the Vatican yesterday (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Workers are human beings, not machines or “spare parts” to be used to drive production and profit at all costs, Pope Francis has told members of an organisation that advocates for people seriously injured or disabled on the job. Source: NCR Online.

“Safety at work is like the air we breathe: we realise its importance only when it is tragically lacking, and it is always too late,” he said.

“We cannot get used to accidents at work nor resign ourselves to indifference toward injuries. We cannot accept throwing away human life,” he said during an audience at the Vatican yesterday with members of ANMIL, an Italian association of workers who have been seriously injured or disabled at work.

Francis also harshly criticised the “ugly” and widespread branding strategy of “carewashing” in which “entrepreneurs or legislators, instead of investing in safety, prefer to wash their consciences with some charitable work”.

“Thus, they put their public image before everything else, acting as benefactors in culture or sports, in good works, restoring works of art or buildings of worship,” he said, and yet, they neglect the fact that God’s glory is the living person they employ.

“This is the first job: taking care of brothers and sisters, the body of brothers and sisters. The duty toward workers is paramount: life is not disposed of for any reason, especially if it is poor, precarious and fragile,” he said.

Despite the technologies and means available to create safer workplaces, “the tragedies and ordeals unfortunately do not cease”, he said. Sometimes the news reports of casualties sound like a dispatch from a war zone, he added.

“This happens when work is dehumanised,” he said, and instead of being a way people find fulfillment by serving the community, work “becomes an exasperated race for profit. And that is terrible.”


Pope calls out corporate ‘carewashing,’ covering up violations with charity (By Carol Glatz, CNS via NCR Online)