International Workers' Memorial Day commemorates those workers killed at work.
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. Put bluntly the employer decided lives were less important than their profit.
International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD) commemorates those workers.
Each year, the International Trades Union Congress decides on a theme for Workers' Memorial Day:
This year, 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.
Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, said
"Workers around the UK are continuing to care for those suffering from COVID-19 or delivering the vital public services that protect us and keep us and our communities going – as they have over the past year of pandemic.
They have put their safety – and possibly even their lives – at risk. Simply by doing their jobs, they are putting themselves at risk. The efforts of those working in the health and social care setting have rightly been recognised. Yet there are also many others – such as those working in childcare, police, refuse collection, hostels, rescue centres, utilities, and transport services, to name just a few – whose work and dedication often goes unacknowledged.
Unions, including ours, have fought for the safety of our members during the pandemic and defended whistleblowers.
On 28 April 2021, we 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 be heard and a right to safety at work."