Supporters of Waltham Forest Trades Council met on Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2013 at Thames Water Coppermills Water Treatment Works in Walthamstow, east London, to remember GMB union member Raymond Holmes who died there on 20 April 2010.
A number of other workers who had also died in the borough were remembered.
Speakers included Darren O’Grady Secretary of Waltham Forest Trades Council, Mick Ainsley GMB Regional Organiser, Simon Hester HSE construction inspector and Chair of Prospect’s HSE branch, Jerry Kelly NUT Waltham Forest and local hazards campaigner and NUJ member Mick Holder.
Speakers linked recent tragedies in Texas and Bangladesh to the actions of the current government in their attacks on health and safety protections.
A group of over 30 trade unionists and safety activists gathered by the Workers Memorial Tree in Blackburn last Friday.
Speakers included John Murphy, President of Blackburn trades union council, Hilda Palmer, national organiser in the Hazards Campaign, Alan McShane, lead UCU safety rep from Blackburn college, Dave Harling for Blackburn Council, Bob Welham GMB convenor at Crown Paints, Peter Dales Unison NHS branch, John Southworth CWU.
A speaker from the local anti-blacklisting campaign told the audience that they were no longer going to put up with activists losing their jobs for fighting for the safety of their colleagues.
Up to 40 trade unionists attended the Worker’s Memorial Day event in Coventry with speakers from Coventry Trades Union Council, Unite, Unison, PCS, NUT & other unions.
Some 60 trade union members marked Worker’s Memorial Day in Portsmouth last Sunday. Speakers from Unison, GMB, Unite and PCS unions attacked government safety deregulation at the trades council organised event.
Chris Price, Portsmouth City Unison Health and Safety Officer, “The tragic effects of deregulation can be seen in the factory collapse in Bangladesh and the fertilizer explosion in Texas. Cuts to health and safety is putting workers and the public at risk. You only have to look at the horse meat scandal to see the effect of cutting back on inspections”.
More than 70 people attended the Workers Memorial Day rally organised by Leicester Trades Council. Speakers included Leicester MP John Ashworth, the Lord Mayor, and representatives from Ucatt, Unite and the trades council.
The day included a reading of the names of those recorded by the Health and Safety Executive as killed at work in the East Midlands—and a display of shoes representing those that had died.
But as well as remembering those that had died at work locally—the focus was on the future and internationally. All the speakers refered to the hundreds of deaths in Dhaka as a warning about where deregulation leads—and all the speakers emphasised that the better trade union organisation is at a workplace, the safer it is.