International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) is a day when trade unionists and civil society all over the world remember those who have been killed, injured or made ill at work. It is not only a day to remember those who have tragically lost their lives at work but also to remember and pay tribute to those workers in many essential jobs who are on the front line in maintaining life as near normal as possible for all of us. They risk infection, their life to keep us all safe. It has been these workers we have depended on to get us through these unprecedented and challenging times.

The theme this year is ‘Fighting for the fundamental right for safe and healthy work’ because that should be every worker’s human right – work that won’t hurt or kill us.

This year NIPSA will be holding its Annual Health and Safety Conference on IWMD and will be calling on delegates and all NIPSA members to observe a minute silence at 11 a.m. The Health Minister, Robin Swann, will be addressing our conference and supporting this call. Details about the conference available from the link below.

The initiative is also supported by NIC/ICTU and reps may wish to request employers mark it by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 11am. It will be a moment to pay tribute to the heart-breaking number of workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus or other work-related illness or injury.

We must ensure IWMD21 is not lost in the depths of this virus crisis. If anything it confirms the dangers that workers face hourly in their jobs and also the lack of duty of care that many employers and Governments show for the most essential of services. This is an unprecedented international crisis in our lifetime. There have been many disasters around the world but the global impact of this is devastating in terms of the illness, deaths and impact on all our daily lives. We will experience the mental and physical impact for years to come. This year’s 'Remember the dead Fight for the Living' will have an extremely personal impact on all us.

Geraldine Alexander
Assistant Secretary
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