Sandwell held its very first International Workers Memorial Day event on Friday 27th April 2018, to commemorate all those who have been injured, made ill or who have lost their life, simply for going to work.
Although the weather was poor, the event was well attended by Union officials, staff and Councillor Steve Trow who spoke at the event.
Following speeches, including a passionate speech by our Branch President wreaths were laid at the front of Sandwell Council House. ours being laid by Annette Greenwood, GMB Branch Health & Safety Officer.
Annette said “We need to ensure that we continue to let the world know that it is not acceptable to go to work and not return, and that health and safety in the work place needs to be maintained and improved. We do not want to return to the Victorian age of working, and with Brexit now in full swing, our health and safety policies are truly at risk”
Ian Cooper, Branch President said during his speech “International Workers’ Memorial Day is not a day for celebration. It is the day when we stop to remember those workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
It is a day when we remember the dead, and pledge to fight like hell for the living.
The official HSE figures tell us that 137 people died at work last year. Each of those 137 deaths is no mere statistic.
Their deaths create a vacuum that will never be filled. Like dropping a stone into water, their absence ripples – family, friends, colleagues, the people on the bus, the train, and the pub.
The loss is profound.
The loss is irreplaceable.
The loss is unjust and unnecessary.
Our job as trade unionists is to make sure that no child grows up without Mummy or Daddy because the cost of raising safety standards was “just too high”.
The cost is never too high, and the price is always worth paying.
For as the saying goes, we love red tape – because it’s better than bloody bandages.”
The full video of Ian’s speech can be found on our Facebook page