The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorial to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws.
Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.
Over 20,000 people die every year because of their work. Most of these because of exposure to dangerous substances. This year the theme for the day is "removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace" Hazardous substances are found in almost every workplace in the UK and many workers have no protection against the possible effects, despite the fact that tens of thousands of workers have their health destroyed by asthma, dermatitis, lung disorders and cancers because of exposures. They range from cleaning fluids in almost every workplace, silica dust in construction, tobacco smoke in prisons right through to blood and faeces in health and social care.
In addition to hazardous substances many unions and trades councils will be campaigning on the general theme of demanding better regulation, greater inspections and an end to the anti-health and safety rhetoric from the government and their allies in the press.
Below is a list of some of the events that are happening up and down the country. Some of these events will also feature a minute's silence at noon, or a suitable time. All are on 28th April unless indicated otherwise.
What you can do:
- Find out what is happening in your area on 28 April. This website will list all the local activities we know about, but you can also ask your union branch or trades council;
- If nothing is happening then get together with some of your workmates or others in the area where you work and organise something. It can be a commemorative rally, a workplace meeting or just a small get-together;
- The event takes place shortly before the General Election. Ask your candidate for their views on the need for a strong health and safety regime to prevent workers being killed, injured or made ill through work.
- Organise a minute's silence in your workplace on the day;
- Ask your local council, or any other public body, to fly official flags at half-mast on the day. Remember that the day is officially recognised by the government;
- Arrange an event such as planting a memorial tree in a public place, putting up a plaque, dedicating a sculpture, a piece of art, or a bench, to remember workers who have been killed at the workplace or in the community;
- If you are planning any events for the day, or you want to raise awareness about Workers' Memorial Day on 28 April, then it is important you consider how you can best use local media both before and on the Day.
- Ask local religious centres to include Workers' Memorial Day in their worship on the day;
- Distribute purple 'forget-me-not' ribbons, the symbol of Workers Memorial Day;
- Let people know about anything that happened in your area on the day. use hashtag #IWMD15
If you are organising an event for Workers Memorial Day and would like it displayed on these pages, then please email through the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 WMD 2014! Unless another date is given, all events are on 28th April.
- National events
- London, South and Eastern
- Northern Ireland
- North West
- South West
- Yorkshire & Humber
Issued: 8 February, 2013