Yesterday (28th April) was International Workers Memorial Day. The “theme” of this year’s event was to have been stress, but this was overtaken by what is happening across the world with the global Coronarvirus Pandemic. So the day became an occasion to remember all those who have lost their lives at work, including the thousands of frontline workers who have died from coronavirus.
While the pandemic restrictions also meant that we were not be able to attend memorial events which usually take place on IWMD a number of other ways to pay tribute to the brave front line staff and essential workers who daily risk their lives and their families safety to keep vital services running, to protect others and to save lives.
The TUC and Health Unions had called for a minute’s silence at 11.00am. Health and care workers, transport workers and postal staff stopped work across the country to honour the silence.
Napo members up and down the country, many working from home but many also out in the community and in prisons, also took part in the event.
Napo General Secretary, Ian Lawrence, said “Napo is honoured to support this action as an opportunity to remember those workers who have lost their lives as a result of Coronavirus or who have died in service, and also to pay thanks to our members and representatives who have done so much to ensure that the vital public service they provide continues – and is done safely in these very difficult times.”
He added: “In some workplaces this is an ongoing battle, but it is one Napo will keep fighting and no doubt as we begin to look towards planning for coming out of lockdown, there will be further challenges. But these issues can only be addressed by being a member of Napo – the impact of coronavirus on workplace health and safety cannot be fought alone”.
Napo National Chair, Katie Lomas, said: “This was a day of remembrance and our chance to say thank you, but it is essential we do more than pay tribute. The motto of IWMD is “remember the dead and fight like hell for the living” and never has that message been so relevant. It is essential we fulfil our role to make sure our members are able to work in as safe conditions as possible and with the essential PPE they require. It is also essential that we play our part in the continuing campaign to organise for safer working conditions for all.”