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.
In 2016 the theme for the day is "Strong Laws - Strong enforcement - Strong Unions" because across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the Government have removed protection form millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission are pursuing a dangerous de-regulatory strategy. However strong laws are not enough if they are not going to be enforced. That is why we need proper inspections and enforcement action against those who break the laws. Here in the UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years, however in many other countries enforcement has always been non-existent. That is why we also need strong unions. Unionised workplaces are safer, yet the Government is trying to stop unions protecting the health and safety of their members by restricting the right of health and safety representatives to take time off to keep the workplace safer, and also trying to reduce our right to strike when things go wrong.
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;
- 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 #IWMD16
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 [email protected]
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 2016! 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
CWU will hold a national commemoration on the day at their Annual Conference in Bournemouth with a minutes silence at noon followed by an address from the General Secretary - all delegates will wear purple ribbons, and a number of resources will be issued.
There will be a ceremony at the Walthamstow Town Hall, Forest road E17 4RJ starting at 13:00 with speeches from local trade unions and safety campaigners followed by a wreath laying ceremony and a one minutes silence. All trade unions are welcome to attend and bring their branch banner. This ceremony is also open to all local people from Waltham Forest especially those that have suffered ill health, injury or lost a family member through their work activities.
Remembrance Service & Wreath Laying Ceremony in Hartlepool starting at12.30pm in Christ Church, Church Square, Hartlepool. Iain Wright MP, Chair of the BIS Select Committee, will give a ‘reading’ at the service, and there will be speakers from Trade Unions and asbestos support organisations. It will be followed by wreath-laying and the organisers will be providing individual flowers so anybody attending the service can lay a flower at the Workers Memorial in memory of a loved one.
Rally at Liverpool Man Island, on the South Piazza of Georges Dock Building, (Corner of Mann Island and the Strand), Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1DD. 11:00. Speakers to be confirmed.
Meet on Preston Flag market at 11.30am with a musical build up to a minutes silence at noon followed by speeches. There will then be a march with banners through Preston to lay wreaths at the Lund Street memorial in remembrance of those who lost their lives through work, any organisation can either order a wreath through us or bring their own.
Issued: 18 January, 2016