Britain marks International Workers’ Memorial Day 2020

Peter Stoddart, YCL Student Officer

May Day has long been the central focus in the Labour Movement’s annual calendar, but it is not the sole day of action that recognises the efforts of working people. International Workers Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the 28th of April and while it does not have the same proud tradition that International Workers Day has, it remains a poignant day to remember those whose lives have been lost while at work. Not only this, it is a day where we, as trade unionists, can demand and fight for the living.

The ongoing Covid-19 Crisis is impacting upon all aspects of our lives, particularly those of us unable to work from home. This IWMD is made all the more important in the midst of this pandemic. A pandemic in which tens of thousands have been allowed to die because of the criminal negligence of our government. Unfit PPE has been a critical failure of the Government during this crisis and today, and every other day, we will continue to organise and build the union movement to fight for our class. It has never been more apparent, unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.

While we stay home to protect our loved ones and those around us, poignant memorial services still went on across the country, in hospitals, fire stations and council buildings, with a minute silence at 11am. The effects of the ongoing crisis are clear, with nurses taking part in the minute silence across hospitals visibly distressed at the thought of their colleagues sadly no longer with us. In Glasgow, at the IWMD Memorial, the STUC held their annual commemoration, with a select few, laying wreaths to remember those who lost their lives. Similar events took place at memorials across Britain.

This year more than ever we remember the dead, and we’ll continue to fight the living!

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