Tag Archives: UNISON

UK: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do – Unison

Blog: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do

by Dave Prentis, Genreal Secretary, Unison

… the nation will fall silent at 11am to honour and remember all of the health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

It’s an opportunity for us all to take a moment to pay our respects and give thanks to for the lives of those who saved lives, kept key services running and the rest of the country safe. It’s also a further opportunity to show our love to their families, and to remind everyone of the real danger that key workers are placing themselves in to keep our country going and our communities safe.

Our union has been leading the calls for this commemoration which takes place on International Workers Memorial Day. Every year, this is an important date for our union – but never more so than this year. The risk of death should never be something which any of us have to consider as part of our working lives, but for too many workers that is the ongoing reality of the fight against COVID-19.So while we pay our respects to those who have lost their lives, we continue to fight for better protection at work for everyone who needs it – whether those at risk during the current crisis, or any worker whose life is put at risk by their working conditions.

This virus has had a profound impact on all of our lives, but there are clearly those who are particularly affected. This virus has had a disproportionate impact on older people, Black communities and those with prior health conditions. It has also had a huge impact on those whose vital work means they cannot stay at home, including so many UNISON members – taking care of our loved ones, educating our children, keeping our streets safe or making sure that vital food and supplies are delivered – who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all.

Every minute this pandemic continues, people are making extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe and run our vital services.

That’s why we’ve issued this call for the whole country to take part and remember the sacrifices key workers have made. So wherever you are – at home or at work – please join us in a moment of silence at 11am tomorrow. To say thank you. To remember. To show our solidarity. To remember the dead, but also on International Workers Memorial Day, to fight for the living.

After all that key workers have already given to us all throughout this crisis, it is the very least that we can do.

Blog: A moment of silence is the very least that we can do | General secretary’s blog, News | News | UNISON National

UK: Remember Covid-19 dead on 28 April – UNISON

IWMD will give us the chance to remember the workers who have died because of COVID-19

Tuesday 28 April is International Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember all those who have died because of their work – and renew our pledge to fight for the living.

In the year of coronavirus, this day of commemoration has never been more important. And that is why UNISON is asking the country to observe a minute’s silence, to remember all the health, care and other key workers who have already lost their lives to COVID-19.

The campaign for a minute’s silence at 11am next Tuesday was launched earlier this week by UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives, which collectively represent more than a million NHS and public service workers, including porters, refuse collectors and care staff.


UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said it would be “the ultimate tribute to remember workers who’ve lost their lives and put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and vital services running.

“Every year, the sacrifice of workers around the world is recognised, but this year has a special significance because of the pandemic.

“Thousands of key staff are on the frontline while the rest of us are in lockdown. That’s why we’ve issued this call for the whole country to take part and remember the sacrifices they’ve made. The best tribute we can all pay them is to stay inside to protect the NHS.”

Thousands of workers across the UK are caring for those suffering from COVID-19 or delivering vital public services that are vital for us all – potentially putting their own safety and even their own lives at risk.

In many cases, these workers know that, by simply doing their jobs, they are putting themselves at risk.

The risks faced by those working in the health and social care sectors has already been acknowledged, but there are also others – those working in childcare, police services and refuse collection, in hostels and rescue centres, in gas, water and electricity, and in transport services among them – whose work and dedication often goes unacknowledged.

Tragically, some of these workers have already died. In some cases, more could have been done to protect them, whether by better enforcement of social distancing, looking after workers with underlying health conditions or provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.

While improvements have been seen in some areas, more needs to be done – specifically in relation to assessing the risks our members are facing and ensuring that all staff who require it are getting the protective equipment needed to do the job safely.

UNISON has never been afraid to demand the highest standards for workers; we have not been afraid to speak out and hold the government to account on providing the right PPE when staff need it, and to hold employers to account who are not doing enough to keep their workers safe.

All of this adds to the importance of observing a minutes’ silence at 11am next Tuesday.

But other things that you can do include:

  • tweeting us, @unisontheunion, your pictures of public service workers, whether of yourself, your colleagues or even those you may not personally know, continuing to do the jobs that are keeping us all safe – although don’t go out especially to get these;
  • if you are having a problem getting the PPE you need to keep you safe, let us know here;
  • email any other COVID-19 safety related issues to healthandsafety@unison.co.uk.

Coronavirus: what you need to know

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/04/remember-covid-19-dead-international-workers-memorial-day/

UK: Coronavirus minute’s silence to honour workers

A minute’s silence will be held across the United Kingdom on 28 April to remember all the health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

The campaign, launched by the health unions UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives – who between them represent more than a million NHS and public service workers, including porters, refuse collectors and care staff – are urging politicians, employers, people at work and those on lockdown at home to join the tribute at 11am.

The minute’s silence – held on International Workers’ Memorial Day #iwmd20 – will allow everyone to pay their respects and give thanks for the lives of those whose work involved caring, saving lives, keeping key services running and the rest of the country safe, say the unions. The tribute is also a show of support for the families of those who have died.

The three unions are hoping the government and other organisations will get on board and join the campaign for there to be a minute’s silence on the day, which every year commemorates workers who have died around the globe.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is the ultimate tribute to remember workers who’ve lost their lives and put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and vital services running. Every year the sacrifice of workers around the world is recognised, but this year has a special significance because of the pandemic.

“Thousands of key staff are on the frontline while the rest of us are in lockdown. That’s why we’ve issued this call for the whole country to take part and remember the sacrifices they’ve made. The best tribute we can all pay them is to stay inside to protect the NHS.

“The minute’s silence is a thank you to all the workers including nurses, midwives, cleaners and care staff who’ve died from this devastating virus.”

Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive Donna Kinnair said: “We’ve become used to hearing a great roar on a Thursday night for key workers, but this respectful silence will be a poignant reminder of the risks they run to keep us safe. I hope the public gets behind this with the same affection they show when applauding our people.

“The silence is a simple show of respect for those who have paid the very highest price, but their loved ones must know the levels of gratitude we feel as a nation and take some comfort from that.”

Royal College of Midwives chief executive and general secretary Gill Walton said: “We had expected 2020 to be a celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife but, although we actively applaud their service, this is not what we had imagined. Instead, across the country, midwives and maternity support workers are seeing the impact of coronavirus not only on the women in their care, but on their colleagues as well.

“We are proud to join UNISON and the RCN in this campaign and to recognise and remember those who we have lost.”

The minute’s silence will be held at 11am on Tuesday 28 April. The campaign hashtag for the minute’s silence is #neverforgotten.

UNISON news release.

Scotland: International Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 – remember the dead, fight for the living

Staff at UNISON Scotland gathered on Monday 29 April to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day 2019.

Each year on International Workers’ Memorial Day (April 28) we remember the dead and fight for the living. This year’s theme is ‘dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace’.

Around the world one worker dies every 15 seconds. Up to 50,000 people die each year in the UK. Although few UNISON members die in workplace incidents many suffer injuries and work related ill health, from stress or back pain to RSI, bullying, harassment, and workplace violence. These affect them and their families.

Health and safety in our workplaces protects those at work. It 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.

Today we remember all those killed through work and at the same time continue to work to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated. We will do that by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws. It is a day to remember those who have died or been injured at work.

Unison Scotland

United Kingdom: “Everyone deserves to be safe at work” – UNISON

Everyone deserves to be safe at work. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where there health and wellbeing is protected. No-one expects to lose their life whilst going about their job.

I’m proud that UNISON has always made health and safety a priority – especially on this important day, International Workers Memorial Day. This is the day when we remember the dead and the injured, and recommit ourselves to fight for the living and for safe and healthy work for all.

So on behalf of our union, I promise that we will continue to challenge any threats to undermine the safety of our members at work and continue to expand and improve our campaigns on stress, mental health and musculoskeletal injuries.

Yet we know that he bedrock of our work on health and safety are our safety activists. Workplaces with safety activists are twice as safe as those without – making a real differences to the lives of our members, and in some cases, saving the lives of UNISON members.

Tackling in work stress. Promoting fire safety. Preventing Carbon monoxide poisoning. Vital tasks undertaken by UNISON activists each and every day – and on this most important day, we thank them.

Keeping our members safe at work is one of the most important tasks that trade unions can do. Today, let’s remember how far we’ve come in that fight – and how much more there is to do.

Unison statement