Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living: Activists Rally on International Workers Memorial Day”

Unions and activists gather at Waltham Forest's annual International Workers Memorial Day event, addressing mental health, workplace safety, and the potential impact of legislative repeals on worker protections. Report by Roland Rance.

 

About two dozen activists, from several unions, took part in the annual International Workers Memorial Day event organised by Waltham Forest Trades Council at Walthamstow Town Hall. 

The Waltham Forest Trades Council banner ( image by Mick Holder)

Among the speakers, both George Thomson from PCS and Susan Wills from UCU spoke of the mental health effects of stress and bullying at work. Glenroy Watson from the RMT spoke about the particular hazards of working in a safety-critical occupation. WFTC’s Mick Holder presented figures from the ILO showing that globally more than 8000 workers die every day as a result ofwork-related accident or disease, and more than 1 million are injured every day in a workplace accident. He also noted that the mass repeal of EU legislation proposed by the government threatened to remove most of the legal requirements on employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment This was expanded on by John Cryer, MP for Leyton and Wanstead, who pointed out that although the repeal of EU legislation did not directly affect what he described as the “gold standard” Health and Safety at Work Act, this too was in Tory sights and they were preparing to repeal it and return workplaces to Victorian conditions. 

A Workers Memorial Day remembrance bouquet.
A Workers Memorial Day remembrance bouquet (image by Mick Holder)

Each speech was greeted with a resounding chant of “Remember the dead, and fight like hell for the living!” Following a one-minutes silence in honour of Waltham Forest victims of workplace death, two memorial wreaths were placed at the foot of the borough’s flagpole.

Thank you to Mick Holder for use of the images.


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