Health & Safety

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Workers' Memorial Day - 28 April 2011

4 April 2011

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates those workers.

Workers' Memorial Day poster 2011

Workers' Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year, all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day. The day is also intended to serve as a rallying cry to “remember the dead, but fight like hell for the living”.

Incorporating tributes to past CWU members and representatives as well as a place for reflection on all workers who are killed and injured at work, the CWU Workers Memorial Garden will be an ongoing and growing project as well as a symbolic place for the labour movement for generations to come. The garden will provide a real focal point for our dual commitment to worker solidarity and is the result of the collective hard work and determination of the CWU leadership, branches and staff.

Government Cuts and New Health and Safety Strategy

Trade Unions agreed at the TUC that we will be using the day to campaign against the cuts in HSE and local authority funding and enforcement activity. This is consistent with the theme agreed by UK trade unions “workers need strong regulation and enforcement”. The TUC is also continuing to promote a minute’s silence on the day.

Workers' Memorial Day in 2011 will be more appropriate than ever, with the Conservative/LidDem Coalition Government's massive assault on workplace Health and Safety well under way with:

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) budget cut by 35%,
  • HSE inspections cut by a third,
  • Royal Mail and BT amongst many others placed in the low-risk category meaning no routine, proactive inspection and regulation,
  • Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, of Kings College Centre for Risk Management, appointed to lead a review looking at getting rid of unnecessary health and safety legislation in a Government bid to cut back burdens on business.

CWU Workers Memorial Garden

At midday on Workers' Memorial Day 28 April 2011, the CWU's Health, Safety & Environment Dept and Education and Training Dept will formally launch and open the new CWU Workers Memorial Garden at the CWU Education and Training Centre, Alvescot Lodge.

Support and Other Events

The TUC coordinates activities across the country, publishing a comprehensive listing of events and suggestions.

The CWU along with the TUC and other Unions will continue to campaign in every way it can for better workplace health and safety protection.

A series of WMD events, demonstrations and vigils will be held across the UK in all regions both to mourn those who have died and encourage unions to campaign against Government cuts in HSE and local-authority funding, and health and safety inspection and regulation.

The DWP has revealed that it will be promoting the event on the Government’s Directgov website. But official recognition is only one side of the story. The main responsibility for controlling work-related health and safety risks rests with those who create the risks. Workers’ Memorial Day is a stark reminder of why that responsibility is so important.