Unite members across the UK came together to mark International Worker’s Memorial Day (IWMD) at the weekend on Sunday, April 28, to pay tribute to those who have died in work.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey (pictured below) addressed an IWMD event on Friday (April 26) at Tower Hill in London by the building workers’ statue.
McCluskey gave an emotional speech as he told workers, Unite members (pictured below), of the 38 people in the last year who “kissed their family goodbye of a morning going to work and their families would never see them again.
“How tragic is that?” he said. “Think of the families who have had to suffer the heartache that that has brought with them.”
Meanwhile, Unite activist Matt Ford ( pictured below) spoke at an IWMD event in Ivybridge, Plymouth, where he and other Unite members and officers paid tribute in particular to Richard Zebedee, a worker who was killed at the Stowford Paper Mill exactly 10 years ago on International Workers Memorial Day in 2009. Richard died following a company process that was later deemed to be in breach of health and safety. He left behind a wife and two young daughters.
After Unite activist Mike Ford – Richard’s best friend – held talks with the developers of the old paper mill site which has since been shut, the developers have granted permission to place a permanent workers’ memorial at the site in honour of Richard.
Also in Plymouth, Devonport Dockyard workers (pictured above) observed a minute of silence and listened to speeches from Unite convenor Mark Oates and Unite health and safety Graham Couch, among others.
Unite members in Scotland gathered at Persley Walled Gardens in Aberdeen (pictured above) to mark IWMD, while Tesco lorry drivers in Belfast observed a minute’s silence on Sunday at the warehouse there (pictured below).
On Sunday, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey thanked Unite health and safety reps for all the hard work they do, year in and year out.
“Every day you save people’s lives at work,” he said.