banner unionsafete

IWMD 2024 Liverpool Event On A Cool And Sunny Morning

As in previous years. the Merseyside International Worker's Memorial Day event, took place yesterday at the memorial plaque dedicated to those who died on Merseyside during the building of the Liverpool to Birkenhead Tunnel and with adjoining plaque dedicated to Tony Mulhearn, a leading Health & Safety Trade Unionist whose words at the 2019 IWMD Merseyside event ring out in the ears of everyone who heard them on that day:

"Those who put profit above worker safety, should never go unchallenged"

It is only fitting that on every worker's memorial day, his words are repeated to those gathering at the memorials on the Strand.

With the theme of this year's international event being on the threats to both indoor and outdoor workers of Climate Change, guest speakers at both the memorial wreath laying ceremony, and the follow-up event; spoke of this exestential threat to every worker across the planet, and the resultant ill-health and deaths expected.

The annual Merseyside IWMD event is organised by CWU Greater Mersey Amal Branch Union Safety Reps lead by Area Safety Rep Jamie McGovern along with the event's founder, John Flanagan from the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group., Others attending this event were Tommy Preston from the Grter Manchester Hazards Campaign and Derek Maylor, CWU Greater Mersey Amal Branch are also members of the event's organising committee.

Here, a member of the IWMD Merseyside Organising Committe, Derek Maylor, a retired member of the CWU Greater Mersey Amal and previously Branch H&S Officer and Chair of the North West BT Unions H&S Co-ord; reports on the event where wreaths of flowers were laid at the foot of the memorials, and the second event which took place at The Raquets Club Hotel in Chapel Streea few hundred meters away:


Attendees gathered at the IWMD plaque listening to the Liverpool Socialist Singers then Roger Phillips opened the event stating what the order of the day was to be. A minute’s silence was observed to remember all those workers who have been killed at work and those who have lost their lives because of work, the silence was broken by a piped lament.


Roger Philips then explained the reasons why such events take place around the world every year on 28 April, safe work being a right and not a privilege.

He introduced Jamie McGovern, Area Safety Rep CWU Grter Mersey Amal, and of the IWMD Merseyside Organising Committee. He dedicated today to the Baltimore Bridge collapse and read out the names of the 5 people who were killed as a result.

Jamie then introduced Audrey White from the Merseyside Pensioners Committee who spoke of a number of issues, including the deaths through wars across the world, and the 40.000 workers who lost their lives due to the destruction of the NHS.

She urged people to take up the cause against the employers and politicians whose decision caused the direct or indirect death of working people.


Jamie McGovern, CWU, talked about this year’s theme being the Climate Crisis and its effects on workers’ health. The international aspect was evidenced by a supportive message from Australia directly to the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group (MAVSG) as well as the joint statement from the Commonwealth Trade Union Group, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health to mark IWMD.

“The impacts of climate change on occupational safety & health seeks a drastic shift in political priorities, policy coherence and agenda setting to address climate change, occupational safety and health hazards and risks to workers. With occupational climate-related health risks expected to increase because of climate change, achieving a collective approach to deal with this global health crisis is not a quick fix”.

Those with wreaths were invited to step up and lay them and all were invited to the Racquet Club for refreshments and the Speaker event.

L to R: Larry Bowles, Unite - Dave Walsh, Liverpool Trades Union Council - Marie -Lisa Gormley, Thompsons Solicitors
Kenny Newton, Wirral Trades Council - John Williams UNISON Regional Officer - Jamie McGovern, ASR CWU Grter Mersey Amal Branch
and Chair of the IWMD organising committee
Front: Young Girl holding wreath from Leigh Day solicitors

Speaker Event Racquets Club Hotel

Jamie MsGovern, opened the speaker event session introducing Clara Paillard from Unite and the Tipping Point Climate Justice Campaign highlighting her valuable support in getting the memorial plaque where we had left the wreaths. Clara paid tribute to PCs, her former union, who are in dispute.

She went on to discuss a wide range of issues from Indian farmers being affected by extreme weather to climate issues affecting workers in Europe. Firefighters, floods, industrial workers all over the world are taking action, adding that the disabled people and the elderly are disproportionately affected and the need for a just transition.

Introduction by Jamie - Clara Paillard


Greater Manchester Hazards Centre’s Tommy Preston talked about the work of Hazards and its available support to union branches, their magazine now needs trade union branches to support it for it to be maintained in the future as a resource for all workers and their families.


Lesley Mahmood, co-founder of Save Liverpool Women's Hospital Campaign and a long time health campaigner updated the room on the campaign. The climate crisis is affecting the NHS from Long Covid and mental health concerns, especially in the young. The much loved Women's Hospital is a valuable asset to the area, and they're not prepared for it to be closed and the NHS to be drained or to believe the in the pretend Unicorn Hospitals from Liverpool to Leeds, from London to Lerwick. There are 100,000 + vacancies in the NHS  38% of maternity units in the UK need improvement according to the CQC. Life expectancy leapt upwards within a few years after the creation of the NHS and now we see it falling with the underfunding of the NHS. Lesley introduced “Back to Bevan” campaign.


Gary from the Garston Community United/L19 Action Group X opened respecting the Flixborough disaster when there was an explosion at a chemical plant on 1 June 1974 which killed 28 and seriously injured 36 workers. The Group are campaigning over industrial health and safety issues in the area. Viola is massively increasing processing Hazardous Chemical Waste, up to 86,000 tonnes a year, mostly imported from Intel Ireland. The volatile organic compound waste, Cyclohexanone, is vaporised to recover various products and fuel. He discussed much of the technical aspects adding that toxicity of the air could be causing much harm, particularly to young developing lungs.


John Flanagan spoke about the work of the MAVSG, on the closure of the DWP site in Barrow where the work was moved, not the workers, to Barnsley and much expertise and empathy was lost, preventing the support of many people with terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma.

Following John, Jamie spoke of the asbestos that exists within Royal Mail buildings and gave the example of Coppress Hill sorting office demolition and now RAAC; and thanked the many campaigners in the room for the free time they give to fight for working people's health, safety and welfare. Presentation of the book by Robert Tressel, Ragged Trousered Philanthropist to the free guest speakers, concluded the event.


The event closed with people vowing to remember, to support and to return. All of the wreathes and flowers were subsequently taken by Jamie, and laid at the grave of Robert Tressel.

As with previous years, below we include a montage of photos taken by unionsafety web editor Chris Ingram:

image: IWMD2024Montage

Report by Derek Maylor and Chris Ingram from CWU Grter Merseyside Branch

See also: Internatinal Workers Memorial Day Events News Archive for previous year's event reports

Pic: click to go back to news

Designed, Hosted and Maintained by Union Safety Services