As part International Workers Memorial Day on 28th April, a minute silence will be held for workers who have died while providing vital front-line services during the crisis.
STUC is calling on government and business to prioritise safety over all else and to help avoid still preventable deaths
• Tragically, over a hundred health and social carer workers are reported to have died from COVID 19 across the UK. This is accepted to be a significant underestimate. This is on top of the tragic deaths of other key workers.
• Health and Social Care workers in Scotland have lost their lives including NHS workers Janice Graham, Jane Murphy and Kirsty Jones as well a care worker who has not been named to respect the wishes of the family. Transport workers have also lost their lives
• The Scottish Government will respect the minutes silence and light up St Andrews House purple on the 28th to further mark the tribute. • It is expected that local authorities which traditionally mark Workers Memorial Day will again do so. Either by the traditional lowering of flags at half-mast or the lighting up of buildings.
• The STUC will hold an online ceremony at 10.30am on Tuesday 28th followed by the minutes silence. Speakers will include STUC President Jackson Cullinane (Unite the Union) and representatives of Unison and GMB who represent tens of thousands of health, care and other key workers. Scottish Hazards will be represented by Louise Taggart who’s brother Michael lost his life in a preventable workplace accident in 2005. The event will be chaired by STUC Deputy President, Mary Senior of UCU.
STUC General Secretary Rozanne Foyer says:
“Every year we mark International Worker’s Memorial Day in recognition of the those who die in the course of their work and the impact this has on their families and loved ones. Many of these outcomes are preventable with proper health and safety practices.
“Of course, this year there is an added poignancy, as we know that many more people will have lost their lives through exposure to the coronavirus while delivering key services. We know that over 100 health and social care workers have lost their lives across the UK. We suspect that the actual figure is considerable higher. We have also tragically lost health, care and other key workers in Scotland.
“On this day, we do not just remember the dead, we resolve to organise to protect the living. We still concerned at the lack of PPE on the front-line and that we are so far behind some other countries in terms of testing for key workers, their families and the wider public.
“We have been alarmed by suggestions in some quarters that we might quickly get back normal. Now is absolutely not the time to let up in the fight to keep our workplaces safe, to maintain lock down in non-essential workplaces, provide proper PPE and testing and to ensure that profit does not come ahead of protecting our workers.”