International Worker’s Memorial Day (IWMD) is an annual event and day of remembering those who have died as a result of workplace avoidable accidents and injuries caused by criminal employers whose dismissive attitude towards health and safety and putting profits before the welfare of their employees; and fighting for workers and future workers so they don’t pay the price of irresponsible and callous company policies, with their lives!
Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents".
Work hurts and kills on industrial scale!
Every year, the number of people in the UK being killed or injured by their work; could fill a Jumbo Jet!
They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority.
Yet, official figures of death by work are grossly under estimated as a result of official figures which discount those who are killed driving, flying or otherwise traveling to work or in the course of their work
Health & Safety Executive’s ‘official figures’ only covers those reported to HSE and Local Authorities under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, RIDDOR.
It excludes members of the public killed in work incidents, workers killed on roads, at sea, in air and by work-suicide. The figure also excludes those dying because of bad work conditions from cancers, heart, lung and other diseases.
Using expert research, the Hazards Campaign estimates a more realistic figure for those killed in work-related incidents is 1,500 and those dying of work illnesses is 50,000 per year.
That is around 140 people dying from work per day or one person every 10 minutes in GB. The UN ILO estimates 2.78 million people worldwide die from work every year One person killed by work every 11 seconds worldwide. One person killed by toxic exposure every 30 secs.
Every year on 28th April, all around the world the Trade Union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day and commemorate those workers who have lost their lives because of the work they do and because their avoidable deaths have been caused by employers who put their profit before the health and safety of their workforce.
The History of IWMD
Originally called Worker’s Memorial Day (WMD), Hazards Campaigner Tommy Harte brought it to the UK in the early 1990s from Canadian union CUPE, and USA groups, with two aims: to "Remember the Dead” and “Fight for the Living.
WMD was rapidly taken up by Hazards Groups, Trades Councils, adopted by the STUC, TUC and Trade Unions, and the Hazards Campaign has promoted and resourced it, helped to spread it across the UK where it is now marked by hundreds of events from Aberdeen to Penzance, and across the world.
It is recognised by the British government and supported by a number of MPs. However, when it comes to protecting workers via legislation and by resourceing the Health and Safety Executive appropriately as it is supposed to be the enforcing arm in order to protect workers, past governments of every of all persuasions have been guilty of compromising worker's safety at work.
Now called International Workers Memorial Day, through IWMD and under its banner, we:
This year’s 28th April 2022 IWMD event in Liverpool, had even more poignancy with the installation and unveiling of a plaque dedicated to ALL workers of ALL industries and employment, who have paid the ultimate price in losing their lives in going about their work.
It is the very first IWMD commemorative stone plaque on Merseyside, and furthermore, its significance is made even more pertinent by the fact it quotes the words of one of Liverpool’s greatest Trade Unionists who fought all his working life for rights of workers to have safe and healthy workplaces and working conditions of employment.
Speaking at his final Health and Safety campaign when attending the IWMD 2019 meeting in St Nicholas Church at the bottom of Chapel Street, Tony Mulhearn said,
“Those who put profit above worker safety, should never go unchallenged!”
Union Safety Reps and workplace safety campaigners and charities wanted to remember Tony Mulhearn’s words in recognition of the fact that he was one of Merseyside’s best known Trade Unionists, who was denigrated by local and national media for his political work, whilst at the same time never reported on the work he did for safe workplaces and for those who lost loved ones to the criminality of their employers.
The event was chaired by Liverpool’s own Roger Philips, ex-presenter with BBC’s Radio Merseyside and famous for his daily talk show featuring the public phone-in on numerous topics and in doing so had listeners, outraged, in tears, splitting their sides with laughter and often left emotional. The unique views of Merseysiders and Roger’s friendly and balanced hosting of the show made it one of the unique features of the City’s life and culture.
Also joining the approximately 110 people gathered in front of the GBD Building on The Strand, were the seven family members of Tony Mulhearn.
Jo Mulhearn spoke briefly on behalf of the Family as did Tony Rimmer a CWU member and colleague of Tony’s, followed by one of the key organisers of the event, Jamie McGovern of the CWU’s Greater Mersey Amal Branch.
Both he and John Flanagan from Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group are the key officials who are every year involved in developing and promoting the annual IWMD event in Liverpool, and backed up by Trade Unions and individuals, with Unionsafety proud to play its part in covering the annual event.
Following some of the difficulties the organisers had to face in obtaining the final permission, once gained and then rescinded; it is worthwhile reminding people of the true motivation for the annual event.
Health & Safety at Work and the International Worker’s Memorial Day is NOT about politics, and it would have done well for those in political life on Merseyside to have remembered this before using politics to frustrate the wishes of ordinary men and women Trade Unionists and of Charities supporting the positioning of Merseyside’s unique dedication to ALL workers who have lost their lives as a result of their work.
The IWMD 2022 commemorative plaque was paid for by Trade Unions and Charities on Merseyside and had it not been for the Covid Pandemic, would have been installed in its rightful place adjacent to the existing memorial to those who paid for the building of the Mersey Tunnel with their lives; some two years ago.
On the day, and as on all IWMD days, there was at noon a 1 minute silence held in respect of those we have lost. Many people attending have loved ones who were victim to the callous behaviour of bosses choosing to put profits above safety.
You can see a montage of photos taken on the day at the bottom of this page.
This year's speakers were, Felicity Dowling on the Covid Pandemic, and Lesley Mahmood speaking on the abolition of the #NHS and the principle of universal healthcare. Jamie McGovern spoke on the need for worker's suicide prevention.
The meeting was again chaired by Roger Philips.
You can watch all three speakers by using the links below:
Photos of the speeches at the meeting will appear here tomorrow
Source: Images and Text - Chris Ingram Except: Jamie & Dave Image: Jamie McGovern
See also the following news item for more of the day's events: