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.