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
Harlow, Rally and leaflet session at the Obelisk in Broad Walk, Harlow CM20 1HX from 11am until 12:45pm on Saturday 25 April. At 12:45 a march will take place from Broad Walk to St Paul's church in College Square 1LP where a short service will be conducted by the Town Chaplain
Walthamstow, Walthamstow town hall 1-2pm, wreaths will be laid to honor the dead and injured followed by a minutes silence.
All trade unions are welcome as are the general public. For all enquiries please call the Unison office on 0208 496 4703
Solihull, Meet at 2.30 p.m. Brueton Gardens (opposite Barley Mow pub)
Birmingham 12.30 p.m. Grounds of St Philip's Cathedral, Colmore Row, B3 2QB
Cleethorpes at 3-00pm. Meet at the Workers Memorial in the Pier Gardens Alexandra Road Cleethorpes. Service Conducted By Rev Paul Hunter
Berwick upon Tweed & District Trades Union Council, Saturday 25th April, 12pm,
South East Northumberland Trades Union Council are hosting a health and safety seminar on the morning of 25 April 2015 at the Elephant, Newbiggin Road, Ashington, commencing 11 am
Crook, St Thomas Church, Stanley Village, B6299. Service starts at 7 pm
Hartlepool, Christchurch (TIC & Art Gallery) Church Square, meet at 12:30pm
Hartlepool Trades Union Council are hosting a Health & Safety Training Seminar,to take place in Hartlepool College of Further Education, Stockton Street, Hartlepool, TS24 7NT, 9.00am to 12.00noon, Tuesday 28th April 2015.
Gateshead, Saltwell Park, Service commences at 12.30pm.
Manchester, Rally in Albert Square 12.15 to 13.00, Meeting at People’s History Museum 13.30
Contact Manchester IWMD TU Organising Group Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557 mail@gm,hazards.org.uk
Hartlepool, Remembrance Service & Wreath Laying Ceremony. 12.30pm, Christchurch (TIC & Art Gallery), Church Square, Hartlepool.
Hartlepool HTUC is organising a Health & Safety Seminar on the morning of 28th April 2015 at Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE) to run between 9.00am to 12noon.
Chorley, Meet at the Park Gates , Park Road, Chorley on 24th of April 2015 , at 5:50pm, Contact: Steve on 07838402614
Preston, Meet Preston Flag Market from 11.45- with music, 12.00 - minutes silence, short rally, 12.30 - March with banners to Corn Exchange, laying of wreaths, 1.00 – butties in Black Horse
Grimsby 1-00pm. Meet at the Workers Memorial, in the Grounds of the War Memorial Nunn’s Corner Grimsby. Service to be conducted By Rev Mary.J.Vickers Industrial and Urban Chaplian.
Immingham 10-00, Location the Workers Memorial in the Grounds of the War Memorial Pelham Road Immingham. Service Conducted By Rev Mary.J.Vickers Industrial and Urban Chaplian.
Issued: 8 February, 2013