International Workers’ Memorial Day – Strong Laws, Strong Enforcement, Strong Unions

Published March 28, 2016 at 15:59

International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) on 28 April is our day to remember the dead and fight for the living.

Up to 50,000 people die each year in the UK from work-related ill health and incidents. Although few UNISON members die in workplace incidents, many suffer injuries and work-related ill health, including: stress, back pain or RSI, hazardous substances, bullying or harassment, and workplace violence.

These affect not only them but also their families.

Health and safety in our workplaces also protects those in the wider community. Whether it is a hospital, school or care home, our elderly and vulnerable relatives, our children and our communities are also protected by measures intended to keep everyone safe from harm.

UNISON knows that the key to providing a good and safe service is well-trained employees who have the time and protective equipment to do their job properly; along with strong laws, strong enforcement, and strong unions. That’s why we are supporting IWMD this year.

How can you mark International Workers’ Memorial Day and support the campaign for safe and healthy work?

  • Find out what is happening locally in your region, contact your local TUC, Hazards Campaign group or UNISON regional organising staff, and support any event.
  • Consider organising your own local event if there isn’t one already, perhaps at work, and possibly jointly with your employer – UNISON can offer ideas and provide support and advice how to do this.
  • Use the day to support this year’s focus on strong laws, strong enforcement, and strong unions.
  • Discuss workplace health and safety concerns with members, non-members, and the employer.
  • Many UNISON branches have successfully organised and recruited around local health and safety concerns – what are the concerns at your workplace?
  • Use our materials, including UNISON’s flags, poster and leaflet for International Workers’ Memorial Day 2016 – see below to order or download.
  • Order the purple-forget-me-knot purple ribbons, stickers, and more for your local event, workplace, or to use and wear on the 28 April – see below for details.
  • Join the minute’s silence at 12 noon on the day itself.
  • And how about a ‘health and selfie’? Just take a picture of yourself holding a card with a message supporting health and safety, or the official theme of strong laws, strong enforcement, and strong unions and tweet it to @UNISON_HS, your local MP and press using #HealthandSelfie and #IWMD16. Your message could include: ‘Remember the dead and fight for the living’ or ‘health and safety – for workers, clients, patients and children’, or “strong laws, strong enforcement, and strong unions.”

What else can you do?

Let us know what you have planned, email and we’ll post the details on the UNISON website.

  • Order your copies of the UNISON IWMD poster (quoting stock no. 2997), leaflet (stock no. 2996) or other health and safety materials via our online catalogue
  • Download a copy of the IWMD poster for printing locally (PDF)
  • Download a copy of the IWMD leaflet for printing locally (PDF)
  • For further details on how to order the UNISON IWMD flags (A4 sized, in packs of 25, priced at £27.50 (incl p&p)) email: Deadline for flag orders – 24 March
  • Order the purple-forget-me-knot purple ribbons, car window stickers, lapel and stationery stickers from the Hazards Campaign.

Further information

Follow our ongoing campaign for International Workers’ Memorial Day on the UNISON website, on our Facebook page and via Twitter. You can tweet using #IWMD16.

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