The purpose of International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) has never been more prescient in this time of global health crisis.
Every year on April 28th, all around the world the trade union movement unites to 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.
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 the necessary safety measures in place.
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 branches can take part in our collective day of remembrance and solidarity.
How branches can take part
At 11am on Tuesday 28th April, take part in the minute's silence.
It will be a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made of so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who have sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk.
- IWMD is supported by the government, and branches can request employers 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, family, neighbours and colleagues to take part, whether in their workplace or at home.
- Join the 1 minutes silence on Facebook hosted by UNISON and Emergency Services News to honour the key workers who have died.
- You can quickly spread the word by posting this tweet, sharing this Facebook statusor asking your contacts on WhatsApp to join you in taking part in the silence.
- Use the window of your home or your workplace noticeboard to raise awareness of IWMD, or share one online with the attached poster produced by Hazards Campaign .
- Download the attached images to share on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp.
Please share any ways in which your branch is organising by contacting UNISON NW Communications & Media Organiser firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share more widely through social media and the UNISON NW website.
Support for the bereaved
As we come together to remember those who have lost their lives, we can also reach out to support those experiencing grief.
There are practical steps branches can take to remember colleagues, like a book of condolences or setting up an online memorial page.
Experiencing a bereavement in isolation will be particularly tough as attendance at funerals is currently restricted due to social distancing measures. To honour the loss of a fellow worker a minute silence or vigil could allow colleagues the opportunity to come together to remember collectively. Branches may also wish to send a card, flowers or other tokens of condolence to the family.
We remember those we have lost.
We organise in their memory.
Thank you for everything you do to support our members and their loved ones.