International Workers’ Memorial Day

With Covid restrictions in place, we weren’t able to gather at the memorial tree in the grounds of Old Viewforth today to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day as we always do. However, we have laid a wreath at the tree in memory of all those who have died, or been injured through work., and the Council held a one-minute’s silence at 12 noon as a mark of respect. #IWMD2021

UNISON Stirling Branch, standing together on International Workers’ Memorial Day

International Workers’ Memorial Day 2021 was held in support of all dedicated and courageous workers everywhere. All around the world the trade union movement unites and remembers those who have lost their lives at work, or are made ill from work-related injury and diseases. The theme this year is ‘Fighting for the fundamental right for safe and healthy work’ because that should be every worker’s human right – work that won’t hurt or kill us.

Lorraine Thomson UNISON Stirling Branch Secretary “This pandemic has demonstrated why health and Safety must be a right for everyone who works. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in workplaces worldwide. Only by working with safety reps and committees on “Covid Safe “policies and practices can employers ensure that Workplaces are Safe.

The UNISON Stirling Branch would like to pay tribute to the heart-breaking number of workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus or other work-related illness or injury. Many workers and their families will experience the mental and physical impact of this pandemic for years to come. This year’s ‘Remember the

Dead Fight for the Living’ will have an extremely personal impact on us all.

Tony Caleary UNISON Stirling International Officer

A safe workplace is the right of every worker.  It is not a privilege.  In fact, a safe workplace is the right of everyone.

Poor Health & Safety in the workplace can have a devastating impact on workers and their families.  However, it can also have a catastrophic impact on the communities in which workplaces are situated.

While management were reducing expenditure on Health & Safety and despite unions and workers making repeated representations to management, On December 3rd 1984, due to the catastrophic failure of back to back safety systems, the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India, poured 50 tons of a deadly gas call methyl isocyanate into the atmosphere.  Figures vary from different sources, but survivors estimate that twenty five to fifty thousand people died as a direct result of contact with the gas and around half a million people are suffering from serious medical conditions today.  Many have been born with medical conditions that stem directly from the fact that there has never been any attempt to decontaminate.

Had Union Carbide invested in Health & Safety and listened to unions and workers, this senseless waste of life and the ongoing suffering of hundreds of thousands of people need never have happened.

A safe workplace is the right of everyone.

Abigail Robertson Unison Stirling Vice Chair and IJB Board member

The Theme for this year is ‘Health and Safety is a fundamental right at work’ this is more than ever relevant this year, due to the heavy risks faced by Care staff across the country in performing their duties during a Global Pandemic. Our Care staff have been at the frontline, supporting the most vulnerable people in society and their families. They have risked their own health, their own safety and their emotional and physical wellbeing every day of this crisis. They have worried about their own families and the risks of spreading Covid 19 to the people they love. They have cared for and supported people across our communities through one of the most difficult, frightening and tragic periods in living memory

We have witnessed sheer dedication and bravery from staff in all care settings, performing their duties with compassion and commitment second to none. Despite attempts to provide access to the best PPE, personal safety for workers facing the virus could not be guaranteed and many care staff across the country have lost their lives due to their work. We must recognise the impact of such hard work and dedication to our communities has had and will continue to have on frontline care staff. We must recognise their fatigue from continuously working flat out throughout the pandemic, and the impact of the losses and tragedies they have witnessed.

Let us reflect on this day, as we remember the workers who we have lost.

Stephen Ross UNISON Stirling Health and Safety Officer

The COVID-19 Pandemic has led Employers, Workers and the General population to face unprecedented challenges in relation to the virus and the many effects it has had on the World of Work. Since emerging as a Global crisis in early 2020, the Pandemic has had profound impacts everywhere. It has touched nearly every aspect of the World of work. From the risk of transmission of the virus in workplaces, to Occupational Health and Safety Risks that have emerged as a result of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus in order to face crises now and in the future, drawing on lessons learned and experiences from the world of work. We at Unison would like to remember all who have lost loved ones in these trying times and working together we will do our part in making the Workplace Safer for all. 

We Remember & Honour the Dead and Fight & Organise for the Living.