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Remember the Dead Fight for the Living

Fighting for hearts and minds of all workers

Every year on 28 April all over the world trade unions, workers, families mark International Workers Memorial Day because work still hurts, makes ill and kills millions globally every year, and over 50,000 in this country, 140 a daybefore the pandemic arrived to make things worse. Bad jobs can break your heart, leaving us HEARTBROKEN.

Whether the threat at work is another new virus, dangerous substances or heart-breaking demands, your life should not be on the line. Unions can make it better.

Pic: Hazards Heartbroken IWMD2020 poster - click to download printable versionThe Hazards Campaign brought Workers Memorial Day to the UK in 1990s with twin aims, to Remember the Dead but also to Fight for the Living and has marked it every year since then. This year as Coronavirus rages through the world it is more necessary than ever to honour both those aims so no more workers will die needlessly.

We will remember all those low paid, insecure and exploited workers who are now recognised as essential: NHS workers, social care workers, cleaners, bus drivers, delivery drivers, taxi uber and other transport workers, food chain workers, cleaners, supermarket and other shop workers, postal, education, civil servants, border and prison guards, social & call centre workers etc.

Unions and workers are organising, fighting back and winning sick pay, site closures, pay for all laid off workers and PPE.

Janet Newsham, Coordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Centre says:

On International Workers Memorial Day, we will remember all those who have died because of work, whoever they are, because they are someone’s parent, spouse, sibling, child, they are someone’s loved one. 

Each and every work-related death needs to be recognised, counted and therefore made to count.  International workers Memorial Day is more than just a remembrance it’s a day of action too.  This year is even more poignant as we hold our events during the ‘lock-down’.  A most devastating and life-challenging time for us all. 

The truth of workplace harm is made crystal clear from the Covid-19 deaths - the more vulnerable you are, the more exploited or discriminated against, then your health, safety and welfare are more at risk. So this year as always we say to negligent employers and Government, we will hold you to account, we will challenge you every way we can, to ensure the safety and health of your workers and your citizens. 

We also record our thanks and appreciation to all those trade union safety reps who are working tirelessly to protect workers from the effects of Corona virus and the bad working conditions which have allowed it to spread."

Janet added:

"ON 28 April all who have died of work-related causes in incidents in workplaces and from cancers, heart and lung, kidney, endocrine and neurological illnesses caused by exposure to toxic substances and stress at work will be remembered. In GB around 1,500 people are killed in work-related incidents and up to 50,000 from work illness pre COVID19. That’s around 140 people per day killed by indecent working conditions.

In North West at least 5,000 people die per year due to work. There is no official record so far of  workers dying of COVID19 but those public reports across the UK suggest around 200 deaths so far of health, social care, transport, education prison, postal, border, cleaners and other workers and over 40,000 total deaths according to the Financial Times."

Referroing to the number of deaths from Covid-19, Janet said:

“Worker deaths from COVID are alarming, workers should not be made ill by work. It is only workers who will get us through and if their health and safety is not protected, then public health cannot be protected. We support the 11am one minutes silence to Remember the Dead – those dying from Covid19 and all work hazards.

The Covid pandemic has made clear that workers health is public health”

There will be action all across the UK, online meetings and physically distanced outdoor meetings and demos in essential workplaces, and #CoronavirusWalkouts in the UK and across the world, Hazards Campaign supports the 11am one minutes silenceto Remember the Dead – those dying from Covid19 and all work hazards.   

At home hold up a Heartbroken poster, stand by your door, gate or in the street. At work hold a safe physically distanced outdoor vigil.

In Fighting for the Living, we call for Government and employers to ‘Stop the pandemic at work’ by:

* Closing all non-essential workplaces

* Paying every worker living wage, liveable sick pay from day 1 to #StayHomeSaveNHSSaveLives

*Providing correct PPE for all essential workers #PPENow #NoKitNoCare

*No release from ‘lockdown’ or any return to work unless based on highest level of precaution, prevention and protection of all workers.

*Testing, tracing and quarantining

The Covid pandemic has made clear that workers health is public health. Workers health is public health, if the workforce is not protected then the public cannot be protected in a pandemic. We need good workplace health and safety to prevent work-related Covid infections, deaths or transmission, and any other preventable work-related illnesses, injuries or deaths either.  

See Hazards Campaign Full #IWMD20 Briefing  FACK Statement for #IWMD20

The Hazards Campaign has worked with Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Families Against Corporate Killers to produce three  new #IWMD20 films: 

Lean on Me
 – Families against corporate killers supporting families of those killed at work, and.

Hazards Campaigner talking about IWMD
 means to them. Fallen tears

Manchester IWMD20 Zoom Meeting 12 noon

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