Pause to remember those workers that we have lost

UNISON, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing joined together to campaign for a nationwide minute silence to mark International Workers Memorial Day this year. We are pleased that the government has indicated support for the campaign and that the Prime Minister will be taking part. We urge members, their colleagues and their employers to also mark the silence at 11am on Tuesday 28 April.

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.

Every year on April 28th, all around the world the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.

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.

This year we remember especially those workers who have died as a result of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic affects every worker regardless of sector or locality. Tens of thousands of workers worldwide have died. More have fallen ill or continue to go to work risking their lives. Many workers are still attending work ill-equipped and without necessary safety measures in place.

We could not have a starker reminder of the important role of trade union health and safety reps in saving and protecting workers’ lives, than the current crisis we are living through.

While we may not be able to attend the memorial events which usually take place on IWMD, as public gatherings around the world are not advised or allowed; there are many ways trade union members can take part in our collective day of remembrance and solidarity.

Pause for a minute at 11am on Tuesday 28 April

It will be a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made of 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 mark it, by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 11am.

Our branch Secretary, Wendy Nichols, said: “The Country is being asked to observe a minutes silence on Tuesday 28th April at 11am which is International Workers Memorial Day an event that has taken place for many years to remember all those workers who have lost their lives carrying out there work.

“This year is even more poignant as the Country battles Covid 19. Our thoughts are with all those Key Workers who have lost their Lives. The silence is a simple show of respect for those who have paid the very highest price, and their loved ones must know the levels of gratitude we feel as a Nation and take some comfort from that.

“We cannot stand side by side on the 28th, but we can stop for 1 minute to remember them all.”

Help spread the word about the minute’s silence, by encouraging as many friends and colleagues to take part, whether in their workplace of at home.