Every year on April 28th, all around the world, the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD20). We remember those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. We renew our efforts to organise collectively to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work.
Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government. We remember those we have lost. We fight in their memory.
During the current pandemic a heart-breaking number of workers have died from coronavirus; this is a tragedy felt deeply by us all. Too many of our friends and colleagues have fallen ill, lost their lives or continue to be put at risk at work every day. Many more will be grieving the loss of loved ones.
The coronavirus pandemic affects every worker regardless of sector or locality. Tens of thousands of workers worldwide have died. More have fallen ill or continue to go to work risking their lives. Many workers are still attending work ill-equipped and without necessary safety measures in place. We could not have a starker reminder of the important role of trade union health and safety reps in saving and protecting workers’ lives, than the current crisis we are living through.
While we may not be able to attend the memorial events which usually take place on IWMD, as public gatherings around the world are not advised or allowed, there are many ways trade union members can take part in our collective day of remembrance and solidarity.
Wherever you are at 11am on Tuesday 28th April 2020, take part in the minute’s silence. It will be a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk. The initiative is supported by the government, and reps may wish to request employers to mark it, by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 11am. Help spread the word about the minute’s silence, by encouraging as many friends and colleagues as possible to take part, whether in their workplace or at home.
The South West TUC are holding a Facebook live meeting at 10:30 on the 28th where they are going to try and link Zoom speakers to a Facebook Live session. It will end with the minute’s silence at 11:00. Details can be found on the South West TUC Facebook page.
As so many of us are working from home or not working at all, Bristol Trades Union Council is asking you to campaign collectively by posing in your workplace, home or open space with one of the posters that can be found on at the bottom of this page or you could pose with a poster containing your own message. Please get a family member to take a photograph and send to Bristol TUC and we’ll post all received photographs on our website.
Here’s a sample photo so you’ll get an idea of what we’re looking for. Note the scruffy bloke with his hair standing on end is our Communications officer, let’s hope he wears something smarter and combs his hair on the day!
The suggested posters can be downloaded by selecting one or more of the links below
Remember The Dead
Fight For The Living
Support Our NHS Workers
Thanks Care Workers
Solidarity With Shop Workers
Solidarity With Transport Drivers
Thanks Postal Workers
Write your own message
More events are listed in the comments section.
[…] Bristol, the local Trades Union Council has backed calls for the action. Their callout includes a link to a South West TUC online event, and a series of posters. Nationally, the UK […]
Dave Ward, General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), in a letter to members wrote
“The TUC will be calling for all unions to join a national minutes silence at 11:00. The CWU will support this by holding a minute’s silence on the CWU Facebook page at this time. We understand that 11:00 is not practical for many of our members and therefore we will ask colleagues, for example in Delivery Offices, to fall silent at 07.30. Branches can support this by publicising the minutes silence and using your local knowledge to judge when the best time will be for groups of depot/shift workers. We ask you to share the images and videos of these moments on your social media pages.
Posters, graphics and resources to support the day are available here:-
Branches will be aware that Workers’ Memorial Day is long established in the international trade union calendar. However, given the tragic circumstances of so many key workers losing their lives during this pandemic, the TUC and CWU believe it is right to raise the profile of this day and focus the whole movement on showing our respects to all workers who have lost their lives making sacrifices for others.