International Workers Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year. It is the day we remember those that have been killed, maimed, injured and made ill by work and the day we renew our pledge to fight for the living, by raising safety concerns in the workplace and raising public awareness of the importance of health and safety.
Workers Memorial Day started in 1985 by the Canadian union CUPE and was brought to the UK by Tommy Harte from the West Midlands in 1992. IWMD was officially recognised in the UK in 2010.
Worldwide over 2.3 million people are killed by work each year. In the UK, the Hazards Campaign estimates 1,400 people are killed each year in all types work related incidents, with tens of thousands more dying from work related diseases. International Workers Memorial Day remembers them all.
Collective action by unions and workers over the generations has improved safety and achieved better working conditions and protection for workers. Those laws need to be actively enforced, keeping people safe at work.
We must carry on campaigning to improve the safety that previous generations fought so hard for, by continuing to build our union organisations. No one should go to work and not return because Health and Safety was not taken seriously enough.
Union workplaces are known to be 50% safer thanks to the dedication of union safety reps and organised unions. Let us continue to play our part by campaigning publically for health and safety and supporting the vital work of safety reps in making our workplaces safer.
28 April: “Remember the dead, fight for the living”
How can you get involved?
Use social media
- #IWMD(year) is the established twitter hashtag for promoting IWMD actions every year.
- Share the Midlands TUC IWMD video
Attend a local event
- Existing IWMD events are already organised in many towns and cities www.tuc.org.uk/WMD2016
Organise action in your own workplace
Some suggested actions include:
- Encourage people to wear a purple ribbon
- Ask for flags to flown at half mast
- Hold a minutes silence at 12 noon at work
- Plant a tree, set up a plaque, bench or statue?
- Organise a Health and Safety stall and display posters
Issued: 22 March, 2016