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IWMD 2019 Liverpool Event Remembers The Dead And Campaigns For The Living!

Merseyside's official International Workers Memorial Day event was held at Mann Island, followed by a meeting at the Racquet Club Hotel which heard from health & safety campainger and professor at Leeds Univeristy, Steve Tombs and from the FBU Nw Regional Secretary, Mark Rowe; on the need for continued campaigning for changes to legislation and defneding of existing protections for workers to avoid the appaling and conmtinueing death toll as a result of criminal employees who care more for their profit than they do for their employees.

This report on the day's events, by unionsafety web editor, Chris Ingram; is in addition to the detailed report from Jamie McGovern which can be viewed here

Grenfell featured as the alarmign facts of the aftermaths of the fire were discussed by our guest speakers, which falls into the theme of this year's events - “Dangerous Substances – Get Them Out Of The Workplace” 

John Flanagan from Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support lead the Mann Island Event which included guest speaker Darren Pilling from the RMT, and later chaired the subsequent meeting, at the Racquet Club Hotel.

Corporate greed is the common denominator in all of the deaths of workers and the public that blight this country, and continue to do so in 2019.

But the greatest threat to worker's lives is Brexit! Steve Tombs was quite unequivical in saying that Brexit will mean a race to the bottom when it comes to health & safety at work, as the UK's trade deal with the USA will inevitably include lowering of standards as we align ourselves with USA's lower standards and ditch the EU standards which are far more stringent and offer greater protection for workers.

A current report from the USA whows that more deaths than ever have occurred in US workplaces since Trump came to power as he deregulates and sees any H&S standards as a barrier to business and profits!

As in previous years, the CWU was also represented. This year the Greater Merseyside Amal's Treasure Ian Corrin, Area Safety Rep Jamie McGovern, and retired members Tony Rimmer and Chris Ingram (web editor) stood with a large contingency of Trade Unionists on a Sunday morning to honour those killed at work and to lay wreaths at the foot of the Mersey Tunnel Workers Memorial that was installed on International Workers Memorial Day in 1985 in the memory of those workers killed in the building of the first Mersey Tunnel.

The event was organised by trade unionists, including Jamie McGovern of the CWU Greater Merseyside Amal Branch who sist on the organising committee.

Merseyside IWMD 2019 was a solemn & sombre day with respect and remembrance and commemoration taking place at the Mersey Tunnel workers memorial.

A toll of 17 men died during the construction of that tunnel. Sadly the building of the second Mersey Tunnel took the lives of 4 workers in 1974.

This memorial was erected as part of the Queensway Tunnel Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in remembrance of those who died during its construction.

The ceremony took place at St Georges South Piazza and then moved to St Nicholas church (off chapel street) where invited speakers addressed those who gathered. The Socialist Singers performed their rendition of The Internationale followed by speaker from the RMT and a 2 minute silence before the wreaths were taken, accompanied by a lone pieper, round the corner to the Mersey Tunnel Memorial placque to those who dies in ist construction.

Darren Pilling from RMT's national Health & Safety Committee spoke powerfully and candidly about the challenges all working people face with regard to cancer causing substances at work. He also touched on the Genfell Fire disaster.

Here you can watch the Mann Island Ceremony:


FBU North West Regional Secretary Mark Rowe spoke of the disaster of the fire in Grenfell and of the affects upon the firefighters of the London Fire Brigade and of the extremely dangerous substances eminating from the fire which victims and those escaping the fire would have inhaled. Arsenic, cyanide being just two!

Professor Steve Tombs pulled no punches when he spoke of the 'social murder' taking place in the UK's workplaces and of the false figures given out by the HSE and Government of deaths caused by work.


Reflections of IWMD 2019 - Liverpool

Photographs and words: Chris Ingram

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