Up to 50,000 people die each year in the UK from work-related ill health and accidents. This year the pandemic has heightened our awareness of loss and we have been forced to say goodbye to some of our loved members and activists. Members’ families have suffered too.

28 April is a time for us all to remember the dead and consider our fight for the living.

This years’ theme is Unionised Workplaces are Safer. You have demonstrated this by your efforts to make your workplaces free from hazards, including your involvement in shaping Covid-19 secure areas, helping to set up treatment, testing and vaccine facilities, and generally keeping establishments operating during lockdown.

On 28 April we recognise everyone who has been made ill, been injured, or has died because of their work. This is across all workplaces, all unions, and all countries. There will be organised events and actions all over the world – including industrial to help stop transmission of Covid-19 and to gain sick pay from day one.

Everyone is encouraged to raise the profile of IWMD 28 April in a way they can. Perhaps by attending an online IWMD event, copying the logo for social media, and using the hashtag #iwmd2021. Or print off the poster for a noticeboard at work or display it in a window at home.

You may like to arrange a 1-minute silence in your workplace, arrange a H&S inspection, share your memories, create a memorial at your workplace – maybe plant a tree or sprinkle wildflower seeds or commission an art installation.

You may also like to email your MP to remind them that our health and safety legislation and associated case law must be protected as we leave the EU: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

International Workers Day Events 28 April 2021 (so far)

• Birmingham TUC event – 28 April at 12.30pm. Zoom event go to: http://btuc.org/wordpress2 for the link. Speakers, includes 1-minute silence and contributions from Ravi Subramanian, UNISON WM Regional Secretary, Kathy Gaffney, West Midlands Hazards Trust, others including bereaved relatives.

• Wolverhampton TUC – 28 April at 12.30pm includes contributions from Chris Pugh UNISON HSWF Chairperson, Regional Health and Safety Officer, Adrian Turner UNISON Branch Secretary. Information on https://wolvestuc.org.uk/index.php/health-a-safety/8-workers-memorial-day/276-wmday?showall=1

• TUC IWMD Event – 28 April at 2pm listening to voices from across the world. Speakers include Sharan Burrows, General Secretary of the ITUC and Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/tuc-international-wmd-call

• TUC – events map and how to take part ideas https://www.tuc.org.uk/wmd

• Hazards Campaign – Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqBb_YOX2_s

Action ideas and international links at: https://gmhazards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/IWMD21-28-APRIL.pdf

UNISON Health and Safety Training Links

• UNISON health and safety information, including latest Covid-19 guides https://learning.unison.org.uk/activist-training/health-and-safety/

• UNISON West Midlands Education Programme http://www.learninunisonwm.org.uk/courses

Courses for new stewards, disciplinary, grievance and health and safety amongst others, including courses for members.

Thank you all for continuing to promote the health, safety and welfare of your colleagues and helping to grow and develop our union.