International Workers Memorial Day 2020

Tomorrow, Tuesday 28th April, we remember the workers throughout the world that have been lost to us through injuries and disease relating to work. This year is more poignant than ever as we sadly remember workers that have died in more recent weeks because of the Coronavirus pandemic that has hit our global community so rapidly and devastatingly across the last six months.

The role of keyworkers across our society has never been demonstrated more clearly in importance of keeping essential services maintained both throughout this crisis but also in normal working times too. Yet many are still struggling to receive the correct PPE required, Covid-19 test packs or facilities and are exposing themselves to potentially life-threatening circumstances, some having to stay away from their own families. This crisis has laid bare the consequences of the austerity we have lived in for a decade, dismantling our NHS system, privatising key public services, creating underfunded and under staffed public administrations and the people profiteering from these actions are the first to be asking for government bailouts to protect their wealth.

The world of work as we have seen it across the previous twenty years has to change. Within the labour and trade union movements the conversation must be pushed forward in developing better strategies of work to ensure that health, wellbeing and safety is at the core belief for workers’ rights and in order for governments and society to act much quicker, more directly and intelligently if there were ever an international emergency again.

It is so clear the community are fully behind the National Health Service. We have seen the remarkable lengths members of the public have gone to in raising money, Captain Tom Moore being the biggest example to date. Every Thursday night I look out my window or go out on to the street and see people everywhere in their gardens or on balconies in the tower blocks opposite clapping, shouting, banging pots and pans, blowing whistles and waving homemade banners. Every day I see pictures and videos of postal workers being thanked with messages in windows and gifts from their communities. Every day I see keyworkers in shops, public transport, emergency services, education systems, social work departments, prisons and courts, gas & electric services, journalists and within the delivery world working so hard. I think I speak for those communities cheering in thanking every single worker.

It is these dedicated people that keep societies and communities together, not the money accumulators or asset strippers.

We remember those lost along the way, we fight for the living more than ever today, and we organise for tomorrow.

Solidarity to the workers.