date: 27 April 2011
embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday 28 April 2011
A series of events will be held around the UK today (Thursday) to mark International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD).
Every year around the world more people are killed at work than in wars and conflict. In the UK alone, 152 workers were killed in 2009-2010 according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The TUC believes most die because employers have not made safety and well-being at work enough of a priority.
IWMD - held on 28 April every year - commemorates those people who have been killed whilst at work, and all over the world workers organise events, demonstrations and vigils to mark the day.
Events organised by the TUC and unions this year include:
- A march to the Peace Gardens in Manchester, followed by one minute's silence, a rally, and speeches from union safety reps and families of those killed at work.
- A memorial candle will be lit at the Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon, at 10am. The event will include addresses by the Mayor and the Secretary of Croydon Trades Council.
- A wreath-laying ceremony at the workers' memorial plaque in Castle Park, Bristol, at 1pm.
- In Wolverhampton the 20th annual commemoration will be held at 12.30pm at the Cenotaph in front of the Civic Centre and St Peter's Church, St Peter's Square. There will be union speakers, wreath laying and reading by Reverend Sellick, Industrial Chaplain of the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission.
- A ceremony at the Workers' Memorial Tree, in front of the Sheffield Town Hall, at 12.30pm. The Lord Mayor of Sheffield will open the ceremony and local people and trade unionists will speak.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Workers' Memorial Day, when we commemorate the dead and focus on protecting the living, has become a major day in the calendar of many workplaces.
'Today will see services, rallies or wreath-laying in most major towns and cities up and down the country. The most common way of marking the day is the holding of a simple minute's silence in the workplace.
'This year the TUC is aware of more events than ever before, due partly to increasing awareness of the day - which was officially recognised by the government for the first time last year - but also due to growing concern of the impact that cuts in inspection and enforcement activity will have on the number of deaths caused through work.'
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Chief Executive Rob Strange said: 'Today we remember those who have been injured at work and those who failed to return home.
'Most accidents which take place in the workplace are preventable. Bosses need to take a serious look at health and safety and continue to protect their staff's health, safety and well-being in the workplace - especially at this time when we are all feeling the pinch.
'The UK has one of the best health and safety records, but with the government review of legislation looming and continued economic uncertainty, we need to ensure standards don't slip.'
The TUC is encouraging unions to use IWMD to campaign against the cuts in Health and Safety Executive and local authority funding and enforcement activity. The TUC is also calling for a minute's silence on the day - either at noon, or at a time that is locally appropriate.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- For information about IWMD events all around the UK please visit
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Issued: 28 April, 2011