Each year on 28 April, International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) is marked around the world to Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living. We remember those killed, made ill, or injured by their own or someone else’s work. Their pain and suffering and that of their families should not be forgotten. We also renew our commitment to, and demand once more, safe and healthy work for all.
In 2017 the theme for the day is Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are and will focus on inequalities in occupational health and the role unions play in narrowing the inequalities gap. The TUC will particularly want to focus on the hidden and new GIG economies, the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and classs.
Despite findings from the government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group the government continues to attack the protection we all receive from good health and safety practice. Dying from inequality,3 a March 2017 report from the Samaritans concludes job insecurity, zero hour contracts and workplace downsizing are important risk factors in suicide. It argues that employment protection regulations and procedures that “restrict the freedom of companies to hire and dismiss workers” would significantly reduce suicide risk
With health and safety inspectors deliberately undermined by government cuts and unable to stop bad employers breaking the law, the work that union safety reps do is all the more important.
That’s why we are asking UNISON branch safety officers and safety reps to make sure they do something to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day this year.
If you haven’t already organised a Workers’ Memorial Day event, there is still time to do something as simple as holding a minute’s silence in your workplace.
UNISON has designed leaflets and posters which can be downloaded from the website and printed locally.