Every year on April 28th, all around the world the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD21). As in past years, since its inception, the CWU once again gives its full support to WMD.
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. We organise in their memory.
Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government. In January 2010 the then UK Labour Government’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper announced that following a public consultation exercise which attracted a large number of responses, the overwhelming majority of which were strongly supportive of the proposal that the UK will officially recognise Workers Memorial Day, and that recognition will take formal effect on 28 April 2010, the international day of action for safety and health at work.
The WMD theme for 2021: “Health and Safety Is A Fundamental Workers’ Right”
Each year, the International Trades Union Congress decides on a theme for Workers’ Memorial Day:This year, the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in many workplaces around the world where workers are denied basic health and safety protections. We in the CWU have continued to prioritise the health and safety of our members and the vital importance of safety reps and safety committees including ‘Covid-Safe’ policies and practices during this last, challenging pandemic.
Many workers in many countries however don’t have the protection the need and deserve and many are wrongly victimisation for raising health and safety concerns The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports that across the world, every day, people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases –more than 2.8 million deaths per year.
Additionally,there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries each year. The ILO aims to create worldwide awareness of the dimensions and consequences of work-related accidents, injuries and diseases and to place the health and safety of all workers on theinternational agenda to stimulate and support practical action at all levels.
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 ILOCentenary Declaration accepts “safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work”.
On Tuesday 28th April, the trade union movement marks International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD20). This year, the number of people who have died in work will be far higher because of Coronavirus. Unions will be marking a minute’s silence at 11am on Tuesday 28thApril to remember every worker who has died from the disease. 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. How can people take part?
Workers’ Memorial Day 2021 public events for April 28th won’t be possible because of measures to contain Coronavirus/Covid-19. But marking International Workers Memorial Day has never been more important for workers lives and health and those of our families and communities. The TUC has suggested a range of ways to mark this year’s Workers Memorial Day.To spread awareness for #IWMD the TUC haveproduced a range ofgraphics for you to use anddistribute. This campaign packincludes a selection of images touse on social media, and posters for you to print at home or print professionally.
Details of actions and resources for the day can be found on the TUC’s dedicated website page. Follow this link for more details and resources: https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-workers-memorial-day-iwmd
Workers’ Memorial Day Posters. The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department has arranged for posters to be printed to publicise the day.These will be distributed to branches and will be arriving by post in the next few days.
REMEMBER THE DEAD AND FIGHT FOR THE LIVING
The TUC, CWU and other affiliated Trade Unions will fight to maintain the memory of every workers’ life lost. We all fight for the justice of our colleagues, friends, and families. And we continue to fight for a future where no worker must risk their health or their life when going about their job.