|April 28 is International Workers’ Memorial Day. This day, symbolised by the purple forget-me-not ribbon, is held worldwide to “remember the dead: fight for the living”, and, as put by the TUC, “to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated.”
This year, the theme is: “Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are”, which raises the issue of the rights of all. The TUC points out that it “will particularly want to focus on the hidden and new GIG economies,” meaning the prevalence of short-term contracts as opposed to permanent jobs, and “the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and class.”
Events organised around Workers’ Memorial Day usually feature a minute’s silence at noon on April 28. Workers around the country are organising commemorative rallies, workplace meetings and get-togethers. There will be activities such as planting memorial trees in public places, putting up plaques, dedicating artwork, and so on to remember workers who have been killed at the workplace or in the community.
A day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job emphasises that workers’ security lies in the fight for the rights of all. Long gone is the notion that workers are factory fodder; as human beings they have a right to be. We uphold the dignity of labour against this ultimate form of exploitation of labour - the sacrifice of the blood of working people.
On April 28, workers boldly declare that all workers must be protected according to the highest standards possible in all conditions and circumstances. They reject the ideological and institutional schemes being put forward to deny their demand for safe and healthy working conditions for all as a matter of right. Workers denounce the failure to provide redress for losses they and their families suffer as a result of deaths and injuries on the job or which are job-related. The refusal of the monopolies, governments and agencies to be held to account must be ended once and for all.
It is reported that around 50,000 people die every year from illness that can be related to work. An even wider problem is the injuries suffered, such as RSI and back pain, due to the nature of the work itself; further, there are prevalent issues of mental ill health, from stress to bullying or harassment. The pressure to work, unpaid, longer hours or over breaks should also be mentioned here.
The monopolies and their spokespersons claim that workers’ health and safety is a “cost of production” that must be reduced or eliminated because it is an obstacle to making the monopolies competitive in the global market. They claim that when the profits of the monopolies are not at the level demanded by their private owners or the monopolies go into bankruptcy protection there is no place for workers’ health and safety. This institutional and ideological offensive suggests that the claims of injured workers for compensation threaten the sustainability of the compensation regime and must be suppressed, and that injuries and deaths on the job are the result of “behaviour problems” on the part of the workers themselves.
Events (source: TUC)
Find out what’s happening near you by following the links below. We will update this page as and when we hear about new events so please check back to keep an eye on what’s happening on Workers Memorial Day 2017! Unless another date is given, all events are on 28th April.
London, South and Eastern
Chelmsford - 12.30pm at Central Park, (near the lake and viaduct at the Memorial Tree). The guest speaker will be Dan McCarthy, Vice-President of the NASUWT
Walthamstow - 5.45am at Low Hall Depot - a commemoration for the worker who died in a dust cart crash a few years ago
Leyton - 11am at Bakers Arms - a commemoration for Marian Nemit who died whilst carrying our construction work on a shop site
Waltham Forest - 1pm at Town Hall WMD Event, food and refreshments available
Southwark - 10.45-11.15 at HSE, Rose Court, London
Tower Hill - 10.30-11.30am, Building Workers’ Statute, London
Colchester - 7.30pm at International Workers Memorial Tree in Castle Park followed by refreshments at the Forresters Arms in Castle Road, Colchester, CO1 1UW
Milton Keynes - 11.30am-1pm meet at John Lewis Car Park for Campbell Park, Central Milton Keynes - Sunday 23 April
Birmingham - Assemble at 12.30pm in the grounds of St Philips Cathedral, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2QB There will be a number of speakers
Solihull - 12.30pm in Brueton Gardens (opp Barley Mow Pub). Speakers include the Mayor of Solihull.
Derby - There will be a display of 3D artwork which highlights hazards in the workplace at the Intu Centre, Level 1, West Mall, Derby DE1 2PL. (Between Build a Bear and Patisserie Valerie) from 8.30am – 8.30pm on the day. The public will be encouraged to interact with the artwork
Wolverhampton - 12.30pm at Cenotaph St Peters Square, Wolverhampton.
Derbyshire - 8.30am - 8.30pm - Intu Centre, Level 1, West Mall, Derby
Staffordshire - guests can arrive from 2.45pm, service starts at 3.30pm, at the National Memoriam Arboretum Alrewas, DE13 7AR. Then an evening event at 7pm at the Burton Caribbean Association Uxbridge Street, DE14 3JS, free admission, food and cash bar.
Nottingham - Worker’s Memorial Day Service at 12.30pm in St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Square, Nottingham NG1 2NW (opposite Marks & Spencer)
Hartlepool - There will be a remembrance service & wreath laying ceremony at 12.30pm, in Christ Church, Church Square, Hartlepool with speakers and wreath laying. That will be preceded by a Health & Safety Seminar on the morning of 28th April 2017 at Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE) to run between 09.00am to 12noon (buffet breakfast provided). Prior to the seminar, a wreath will be laid at the Tree of Remembrance in Hartlepool College of Further Education at 08.45 am. An “Eve of WMD Gig” will be held at The Studio, Tower Street, Hartlepool, 7.30pm, Thursday 27th April 2017
Sunderland - 12pm at Workers Memorial Garden in the Quadrant of Sunderland Civil Centre
Hartlepool - 7.30pm - ‘Eve of the WMD Gig’ at The Studio, Tower Street, Hartlepool on 27 April
South East Northumberland - 10am at upstairs function room of the Elephant, Newbiggin Road, Ashington - Saturday 29th April
Manchester - Lincoln Square, Brazennose St. , Manchester : 12.00 to 13.00, then on to the People’s History Museum for tea. Chaired by Lynn Collins, Secretary of the North West regional TUC. Speakers include Andy Burnham and representatives from trade unions and FACK. Reading the names of those killed at work; Laying of wreaths; One minutes silence. Bring banners & wreaths. Organised by the North West trade unions, Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and FACK.
Chorley - The event will comprise of a short walk from Astley Park (the park gates) Park Road , Chorley at 5:45 pm onto a Memorial Day service at the Unite WMD tree at 6pm until 6:20pm. All welcome to join. Banners and flags welcome.
Liverpool - South Piazza, Georges Dock Bld, Pier Head L3 1DD, (Dock Road bottom of James Stree), 11.30-11.50, Wreath Laying then and Piper then coach to Unite Union Bld, Islington, Liverpool L3 8EF. 1.00-2.30PM
Preston - 11.45-12.45 at Preston Flag Market, 4 Cheapside, Preston, social gathering in the Black Horse afterwards. Sat 29th April.
Blackburn - 12.30pm at the Workers’ Memorial Tree at Sudell Cross, at Blackburn with a wreath laying, Speakers and a piper.
Merseyside - 10.30-11.30am at HSE Headquarters, Redgrave Court, Bootle, Merseyside
Aberdeen - 12.30pm for Ceremony at 1pm at Persley Walled Garden, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.
Alexandria - 10.30am at Christie Park, Alexandria at the memorial tree on Sat 22 April
Bathgate - 12.30pm at Bathgate Sports Centre, Balbardie Park, Torpichen Road, Bathgate, West Lothian, EH48 4LA
Coatbridge - 12pm at Sumerlee Industrial Musuem, Coatbridge
Clydebank - 11am - meet at the International Asbestos Memorial Glasgow Road Clydebank on Saturday 29th April.
Dundee - 12pn at the Memorial Tree, adjacent to Discovery Point, Riverside Drive, Dundee
Edinburgh - 12.30pm Ceremony at IWMD Tree and Memorial, West Princes Street Garden, Edinburgh
Falkirk - 11.45 for 12pm in the foyer of the Municipal buildings in Falkirk on 22 April
Glasgow - 12pm at International Workers Memoriam, People’s Palace, Glasgow Green
Hamilton - 11.30am at South Lanarkshire HQ, Almada Stree, Hamilton, ML3 0AA
Inverness - 12.15pm for 12.30pm at Friar’s Shott/Huntly Street, Inverness, IL3 8LF
Irvine - gathering in North Ayrshire at 6.30pm for workers memorial at the Memorial Garden, Kilwiinning Road, Irvine on Thurs 27 April
Kilmarnock - 10.45am at the Dower House in Dean Country Park, Kilmarnock on Sat 29 April
Midlothian - 12.30pm at George V Park, Bonnyrigg at IWMD memorial.
Kirkcaldy - 11.00am Beveridge Park at the memorial Tree.
Paisley - There will be a memorial ceremony outside Renfrewshire House, Cotton St. Paisley at 13:00. Organised by Paisley and District Trade Union Council
North Somerset - 12-2pm at North Somerset Council and North Somerset Hall (bake sale in the canteen) - Thursday 27th April
Bristol - Assemble at Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol at 12.30 pm. March to Castle Park starts at 13:00. Followed by speeches and wreath laying at the Worker’s Memorial Plaque. There is also a public meeting to reflect on the relationship between business, the state and the labour movement with speakers talking about the blacklisting of trade union safety reps and the threat to the labour movement from state surveillance and infiltration. 18.30-20.30, Thursday 27th April 2017. CWU Offices, 20 Church Rd, Lawrence Hill, Bristol, BS5 9JA
Yeovil – There will be a brief ceremony at the brass plaque outside Unity Hall, Central Rd, Yeovil BA20 1JL at 17:00. Parking is available at the site.
Yorkshire and Humberside
Cleethorpes - 3pm at The Workers’ Memorial and tree in the Pier Garden’s Alexander Road Cleethorpes
Grimsby - 1pm at The Workers’ Memorial and Tree in the grounds of the War Memorial Nunn’s Corner Grimsby
Halifax - 1pm outside Northgate House
Immingham - The Workers’ Memorial, and tree in the Grounds of the War Memorium Pelham Road, Immingham
Keighley - 11am at the Cliffe Castle with student reps from Holy Family. 12pm at Keighley Town Hall Square with bugler
Leeds - 11.30am, meet at St Anne’s Cathedral, march down to the stone to reach the Art Gallery for 11.45am, speeches from Hilary Benn MP and Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council.
Rotherham - 12pm at Rotherham Minster, on Church street/Minster Gardens
Sheffield - 12.30-1.30pm at Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone Street
York - 12pm, The National Centre for Early Music, with personal appearance of Director Ken Loach
Cardiff - reception, speeches and wreath-laying at 11am at the Unite Building, CF11 9SD. Includes a speech by the First Minister.