Bristol International Workers Memorial Day April 28th 2021

IWMD 2021
Health and Safety is a fundamental workers’ right
Assemble at Tony Benn House
Victoria Street, Bristol
Wed. 28th April 2021, 11:15
March to Castle Park for
wreath laying ceremony

Speaking

Chris Marsh (GMB Rep Wessex Water)
Suzy Cheeke (Vice-President Bristol TUC)
Stuart Davies (Legal Officer UNITE)
Shona Jemphrey
(UNISON member, Labour Candidate for Lawrence Hill and member of NCG of Momentum)

A leaflet advertising the march & wreath laying can be found here – Workers Memorial Day 2021

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) commemorates those workers.

We remember those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. We renew our efforts to organise collectively to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work.

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government. We remember those we have lost. We fight in their memory.

In the South West during 2019/2020 13 workers lost their life’s due to industrial accidents.  It’s still fresh in our thoughts of those 4 workers killed in an explosion at the Avonmouth water treatment plant (December 2020).


The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in workplaces worldwide. Workers are routinely denied even basic health and safety protections, including consultation with safety reps and safety committees on ‘Covid-safe’ policies and practices, free access to personal protective equipment and protection from victimisation for raising health and safety concerns. These same problems existed before the pandemic and resulted in millions of deaths each year from work-related injuries and diseases.

The pandemic demonstrates why health and safety must be a right for everyone who works. Illness anywhere threatens illness everywhere. Unions secured agreement at the International Labour Conference in 2019 that occupational health and safety should be recognised as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work – the decent, universally accepted and binding rights protecting all workers, everywhere. The ILO Centenary Declaration accepts “safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work”.

On 28 April 2021, unions can send a message that health and safety protection at work must be recognised as a right for all. Whether it is Covid or occupational cancers, or workplace injuries and industrial diseases, every worker should have a right to a voice and a right to protection. No-one should have to die to make a living.

It’s still too early to know whether we will lawfully be able to attend the memorial events which usually take place on IWMD. Whatever happens trade union members will be taking part, respecting legal requirements, in this collective day of remembrance and solidarity.

Wherever you are at 12:00 on Wenesday 28th April 2021, take part in the minute’s silence. It will be a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk. The initiative is supported by the government, and reps may wish to request employers to mark it, by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 12:00. Help spread the word about the minute’s silence, by encouraging as many friends and colleagues as possible to take part, whether in their workplace or at home.

Other events will be organised by Bristol Trades Union Council, Bristol Unison, Bristol FBU and South West TUC. Add a comment here to tell us about your Bristol and South Glos. event.

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Will Bristol school students and educators have a holiday break?

Social distancing at school

Bristol and South Gloucestershire NEU branches met last week to discuss the ongoing Covid crisis in our schools.

Schools are engines of Covid spread and young people living in multigenerational households or with family members with underlying health conditions risk bringing a deadly virus into their home. Mindful that educators’ first concern is always for the health and wellbeing of the young people they work with.they have therefore agreed on the following set of demands.

  • A move to remote learning for the week beginning Monday 7th December to serve as a firebreak to suppress Covid. Whilst remaining open to vulnerable students, children of key workers and academically vulnerable students who could not access remote learning during the last academic year.
  • A wider closure on the 14th December to ensure students and educators alike do not face the risk of needing to spend their well deserved holiday break self-isolating.
  • Full pay for supply teachers and any staff member who needs to take time off of work to care for sick or self-isolating children.
  • All clinically extremely vulnerable staff and staff in the third trimester of pregnancy to work from home.

Educators, school leaders, students, staff and their families, deserve a holiday break with a semblance of normalcy. Schools need to be closed on Monday 14th December to ensure this.

NEU logo
Please contact Bristol National Education Union:
07394447160 for further comment.

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Rally For Jobs

Save our Jobs

Bristol Unite Community Branch have organised this rally and stall and will be handing out Unite Community material with a few labour movement speakers to attract attention. Other labour movement organisations have been invited to participate and to hand out their own material.

12 noon, Sat 24th October

Centre of Broadmead, Bristol
(between Barclays and Metro banks)

More information on Facebook: Rally for jobs

A flyer for the event can be downloaded click here >>>> Rally for jobs

Unemployment is already soaring and likely to spike further when the government ends the furlough scheme on 31st October. Unite has called for the scheme to be
extended to avoid the risk of ‘redundancy floodgates’ opening. We can’t let unemployment mar our communities and help bosses drive a race to the bottom
on terms and conditions. Join us in the centre of Broadmead, between Barclays and Metro banks as we rally for jobs.

***COVID PRECAUTIONS***

Anyone who is experiencing possible Covid-19 symptoms or who has been in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms must not attend. This will be a socially distanced event. Please wear a mask if you can and take all necessary precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease. Masks will be available for
those who do not have them

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Putting People Before Profit

Thursday, 8th October 2020
from 19:00 to 20:15

More information on Facebook: Putting People Before Profit

Roger Thomas, Bristol Trades Union Council Executive Committee member, will be presenting the view of Bristol and South Gloucestershire trade unionists to the meeting.

These are just some of the topics that will be discussed –

  • Extend the furlough scheme – defend every job
  • Safe workplaces – protect workers and students from the virus
  • Tax the wealthy – no to austerity
  • Public ownership of services – including testing
  • Massive investment in a green economy
  • Scrap universal credit – we need a welfare state that provides security and dignity.
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Safe Reopening of Schools Day of Action – Bristol

Friday, 21 August 2020
from 11:30-12:30
Wine Street, Bristol, BS1 2

Bristol Trades Union Council is calling for all to support this action.

All education workers want schools to reopen and say the best place children can be is back in school, learning, playing and socialising with their friends.

However, Britain is still in the midst of a global pandemic and the availability of vaccine for everyone is still out of sight for now. This means that all are still at risk of a deadly virus. It is still the clinically vulnerable staff, students, parents, grandparents, carers and members of our community who we most at risk to the virus.

As all in education go back to school we need to ensure our schools are safe. This means demanding amongst other things:
– weekly testing for all staff and any students whose parents wish to be tested
– continued shielding for any clinically vulnerable staff or anyone who lives with a clinically vulnerable person
– PPE for all cleaners in schools
– the availability to self-isolate on full-pay

More information on Facebook: Safe Reopening of Schools Day of Action – Bristol

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.

Not A Penny More

Not a penny more to Serco - BRISTOL action

Tuesday, 18th August 2020
12:00-13:00
College Green, Bristol, BS1 5UY

More information on Facebook: Not a penny more to Serco – BRISTOL action

This Bristol event is part of a national Day of Action: show your support for safe, local track and trace in your community!

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.

Organise 2020

Organise 2020 is the TUC’s free festival of ideas in union organising. Join activists and staff from across the TUC’s unions this July for 3 days of online events.

From 9 to 11 July, we’ll showcase union organising stories from around the UK and around the world, host debates on major trends in organising, and offer online training sessions in key organising topics and new digital technologies.

We aim to link reps and organisers around the country, build their skills and inspiration, and support unions in working together to recruit and organise new members and their workplaces.

Details of the whole programme and how to register can be found at TUC Organise 2020

There are four headline sessions see below for details

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No back to school – until it’s safe

Bristol Trades Union Council is calling for all to support this meeting.

Early in April the National Education Union (NEU) outlined their five tests that the Government should meet before widening the opening of schools. Unlike the Governments current strategy the meeting of the NEU’s tests would create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff that schools are being opened in a way that is safe and doesn’t endanger educators, school children, workers and the NHS.

The NEU five tests are –

Test 1 : Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases
Test 2 : A national plan for social distancing
Test 3 : Testing, testing, testing!
Test 4 : Whole school strategy
Test 5 : Protection for the vulnerable

Details about the NEU five tests can be found at NEU five tests for Government before schools can re-open

Further details of the meeting and how to join the meeting can be found on this Facebook event page No back to school – until its safe

The meeting is hosted by Bristol Corona Crisis – People Before Profit Network, Bristol NEU and South Glos. Young Educator Network.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.

Safe reopening of schools

The infection rate in the UK is creeping back up and is close to the point where the coronavirus could again start spreading rapidly.

The coronavirus “R-number” is now between 0.7 and 1.0, we have been told repeatedly over the last few weeks that it needs to be kept below one in order to stay in control of the virus and protect people’s lives and the NHS.

We still don’t know the effect of the changes to lockdown recently announced by the government.

The government hasn’t revealed it’s models on how many black and Asian staff are likely to die as a result of the lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown.

With all these unknowns the government is insisting that schools re-open for certain cohorts in just over two weeks time.

During their discussions with the government the unions working in education have put forward proposals that will reopen schools is a way that is safe for children, staff, their families and the wider community. The unions have backed up these discussions by issuing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools.

Bristol Trades Union Council expresses its full support for this statement and expresses it’s solidarity with the nine unions involved.

The BMA has also thrown it’s weight behind the unions when it said that “the number of coronavirus infections remained too high to allow them [schools] to run safely”.

Bristol Trades Union Council says schools should open but only when it is safe to do so. No worker should have to work in unsafe conditions. We urge all workers to join a union to protect their health, safety and conditions.

The statement released by the unions can be found here Education unions’ statement on the safe reopening of schools

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Bristol International Workers Memorial Day 2020 – report

We didn’t march in 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the above pictures were from the Bristol International Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony back in 2018. In 2020 we held a virtual commemoration whether we were at work, in our homes or in an open space all keeping at a safe distance. We also joined in the National one minute’s silence when we paid tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk whether they work in the NHS, care homes, delivering food and essential supplies, keeping our food shops open, our buses and trains running and our post delivered.

It’s normal at Bristol IWMD ceremonies at Castle Park it’s normal to have a few speakers. We’ve asked some of Bristol’s trade unionists to pen a few words on what IWMD means to them.

 

Jim Whelan (Chair Unite Bristol Transport & Food branch (SW/001823)) wrote this –

“The last few weeks have shown how important health & safety reps and shop stewards are in their workplaces, fighting for better safety standards at a time when employers want to use the crisis to worsen them.Workers whose terms and conditions have been eroded over recent decades, and who have been forced in to insecure employment, are now recognised as frontline workers that society depends on. Those who were considered the bottom of the heap have been shown to be the people who can help us beat the virus.

Unfortunately in the parcel industry, we have suffered losses due to COVID-19, and the thoughts of all parcel workers are with their families and friends. We’ve also seen a massive increase in workload as a lot of shopping has moved online, leading to more residential parcel deliveries. At the same time, we health & safety reps have had to fight for PPE, and the introduction of social distancing.

At UPS we have involved all our members in making constructive proposals to improve health & safety in the current crisis, and despite management dragging their feet, we have now ensured all UPS workers in the UK have access to facemarks, gloves, and hand sanitiser, every driver is now able to wash their hands while out on the road, we have reached a national agreement that vans are disinfected every day, and the cleaning of buildings has been enhanced.

Workers organising together have won these gains. We can’t rely on governments and lawyers to make us safe, we must do it ourselves through our unions.

The health and safety of frontline workers (including my workmates) is top of the news agenda every day now, and Workers Memorial Day is our opportunity to show that organised workers can deliver this for themselves.

Click on any of the pictures below to start a slide show of the complete set.

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