Category Archives: 2021 UK

UK: FACK Statement International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2021

Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) Statement

International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2021

  • It is fundamentally wrong that a wife should need to write heartbreakingly about her 6th year on the grief rollercoaster, missing her beautiful angel husband so much with every passing hour of her life.
  • It is fundamentally wrong that a mum should be marking the 18th year since her 17-year-old son was taken from her, the pain she feels, never healing, instead festering like an open wound.
  • It is fundamentally wrong that a daughter should wish her dad a happy 56th birthday, while lamenting that he will be forever 37.
  • And it is fundamentally wrong that a fiancée should go from choosing wedding cars to instead sitting in
    a funeral cortège.

We FACKers are therefore at a loss to understand why we are even having to seek to convince the International Labour Organisation that health and safety should be recognised as a fundamental right at work…!?

Because of course it should!

Read the full statement here


UK: NUJ marks International Workers’ Memorial Day

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland pays tribute to all media workers around the world who have died at work during the last year in commemorations marking International Workers’ Memorial Day on Wednesday 28 April 2021.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) last month reported that 65 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents during 2020. Journalists have also been at the frontline of reporting on the impact of the pandemic in their communities – with many also becoming casualties of the virus. At least 1,060 media workers have died from covid-19 since 1 March 2020, according to the Press Emblem Campaign, more than half of those lives have been lost in Latin America. March 2021 was the deadliest month yet, with 93 deaths and in Brazil alone a journalist is reportedly dying every day.

The NUJ supports calls made by the International Trade Union Congress for classifying covid-19 as an occupational disease as this would provide enhanced legal protections for workers and enable access to compensation funds for the families of workers who die or are infected with covid-19 at work.

The ITUC is also calling for a massive boost in the production of vaccines against the virus and this must include the removal of all barriers, including intellectual property and profit-gouging, to ensure that vaccines, tests, treatments and other public health tools are available to all, without discrimination.

Journalists are facing the threat of contracting the virus in the course of their work, many are being targeted with threats and violence, with some paying the ultimate price and killed, and media workers can also experience significant mental health problems and suicide. All these factors contribute to the death toll.

The coronavirus pandemic has put media workers under unprecedented strain. From job insecurity to the economic crisis of the media; from increasing polarisation of public discourse to growing attacks from elected officials against journalists; from a relentless breaking news cycle to journalists’ hyperconnectivity – media workers are highly exposed to a variety of health and safety risks.

The NUJ’s safety report in 2020 helps to illustrate the range of threats faced by union members when carrying out their work. Increasingly, newsgatherers are also having to contend with threats and abuse in the course of their duties, documenting the impact of the pandemic, and reporting from protests and demonstrations. This is an issue that employers need to step up their risk assessments around and implement protective measures for both staff and freelance teams.

Media workers remain vital within all societies, reporting essential information and news in the public interest. The covid crisis has transformed life as we knew it and during the global health pandemic journalists have clearly demonstrated their key role in the spectrum of essential services. That’s why the union has put forward the NUJ News Recovery Plan, setting out a range of key measures to sustain the press and media through the covid-19 crisis and beyond.

Prioritising health and safety at work is a core part of all trade union activity and is why the NUJ has been building a strong network of health and safety reps in workplaces, so we can identify and tackle problems, offer support to colleagues and collectively drive-up standards and conditions at work.

One NUJ health and safety rep said: “Health and safety reps hold a key position in any workplace. No single manager should have to burden that responsibility alone. As a health and safety rep you bridge a huge gap between those who oversee the job, and the teams on the ground carrying it out. You provide balance and perspective on behalf of the workforce when decisions are being made and policies are written. You know what it’s like to do a role and can predict the pitfalls, as well as foreseeable dangers.

“Reps also have a role in protecting NUJ members from themselves by promoting the importance of health and safety at work. People who are keen to impress don’t always think about the consequences of their actions. But we don’t just work in an advisory capacity. Reps hold legal powers to make sure organisations operate with the highest standards of safety, and we can hold companies to account, if they fall short.

“Finally, we are a protected point of contact for staff, who know they can approach with their concerns, without fear that speaking up could affect their career.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Every year it is a shocking reality that more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic ‘accidents’ – they die because an employer made choices and decisions that failed to prioritise their safety.

“On International Workers’ Memorial Day we pay tribute to all the colleagues we have lost, to every single media worker whose commitment to their work and to journalism has led them and their families to pay the ultimate price. In their honour and memory we will continue to fight to improve the health and safety at work for all media workers.”


IFJ killing of journalists report 2020

NUJ safety report 2020

NUJ News Recovery Plan


UK: Check out how you can get involved with Workers’ Memorial Day

Check out how you can get involved:


UK: Len McCluskey and Unite families to ‘walk the wall’ as union backs call for Covid public inquiry

Where: National Covid Memorial Wall, North Wing, Lambeth Palace Rd, South Bank, London SE1 3FT

When: From 11:30 hours, Wednesday 28 April

The general secretary of the UK’s leading union, Unite, is joining Unite families who lost loved ones to Covid-19 to walk the memorial wall this International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Len McCluskey and the families will also join with TUC representatives to observe the minute’s silence for International Workers’ Memorial Day, which will be held at midday.

Unite is throwing its weight behind calls for a statutory public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, recently rejected by ministers, and is backing the campaign for the National Covid Memorial Wall in Lambeth, south London, to be made permanent.

The memorial wall is made up of 150,000 individual painted hearts, one for every UK person who lost their life to the disease in the past year. The wall is around half a kilometre long and takes around 10 minutes to walk.

Len McCluskey will join Hannah and Leshie, who both lost their fathers, both key workers, to the disease last year. Hannah’s father caught the virus while travelling to his work in a factory, while Leshie’s father was one of 27 London bus drivers who died of the disease between March and May last year.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Len McCluskey said: “You cannot help but be moved by this campaign. In the past year, 150,000 people lost their lives, leaving 150,000 families and countless loved ones with huge holes in their lives. For all those who have sacrificed and suffered through this terrible time, we owe it to them to walk this wall.

“The scale of loss in the UK is so high relative to other countries that the reasons for this have to be looked at by a public inquiry. The people we lost must be remembered and honoured, and the whole country, including the government, has to learn the lessons of this crisis. 

“Dozens of Unite members died from this dreadful sickness and they will be in my thoughts today. It will be a huge privilege to walk the wall with Unite family members. I am so grateful to them for the work that they are doing on behalf of all those who lost their lives, and the bereaved who remain, to deliver not just a place of national remembrance of this time, but justice.

“Unite offers the bereaved families our full support in securing a permanent home for this incredible wall, and in the continued battle for the full and frank public inquiry the country needs.”


Notes to editors:

Len McCluskey will walk the wall with members of the families of two Unite members who lost their lives to Covid-19:

Leshie Chandrapala, London

Leshie lost her father, Ranjith, to Covid-19 in April 2020.

Ranjith was one of the 27 bus drivers who died of Covid-19 in London between March and May 2020.

According to the Institute of Health Equity, bus drivers were more than twice as likely to die than other Londoners. Leshie wants a public inquiry into the decisions that led to her father’s death.

Hannah Brady, Manchester

Hannah’s father was a key worker in a factory when he contracted coronavirus.

He died at the age of 55 following 42 nights spent in intensive care.

Hannah fears that her dad was exposed to Covid-19 on public transport to and from work.

Hannah has received abuse online for talking about the loss of her father.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.


Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion Web:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

Get involved

UK: Workers suffering mental health ‘epidemic’ linked to pandemic stress, Unite survey reveals

Workers are suffering a mental health ‘epidemic’, a UK and Ireland-wide survey of Unite workplace representatives has revealed.

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said there is a ‘clear link’ between the increase in stress brought on by the pandemic and called on employers to help prevent the crisis being carried forward as the country opens up.

The health and safety-focused survey of 1,400 Unite reps, from across all sectors of the economy, found that 83 per cent are dealing with an increase in members reporting mental health-related problems.

Mental health issues also came top of workers’ concerns during a similar survey last year. However, there has been a huge 18-point increase from the 65 per cent reported in 2020.

The survey also found that regulators and health authorities carrying out workplace visits are not routinely speaking to union reps. These organisations include the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities, Public Health England/Wales and others.

Only a third of respondents whose workplaces had been visited reported that inspectors had spoken to reps during the visit, despite it being vital to gaining an accurate picture of health and safety on site.

Unite called the finding ‘alarming’ as it had previously raised the ‘potentially dangerous’ issue with regulators, who all insisted that speaking to reps during visits is a matter of course.

The union said regulators need to begin publishing records on whether workplace reps have been spoken to, something they are not currently required to do.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This survey shows there is an epidemic of mental health issues being suffered by workers across all sectors of the economy. 

“April is Stress Awareness Month and employers need to be aware that there is a clear link between the explosion in mental ill-health and the stressors of the pandemic. 

“As the country and the economy come out of the coronavirus freeze, the after effects of the pandemic are still going to be felt, including their impact on people’s mental health. 

“During the week of International Workers’ Memorial Day, we should remember that many workers not only paid a physical price during the fight against Covid-19, but a psychological one too.

“Employers need to be aware of this and in partnership with trade unions implement mental health friendly policies to help prevent the psychological toll of the pandemic being carried forward longer than it needs to be.

“The survey also revealed a worrying trend of regulators not speaking to union reps during workplace safety inspections. This means regulators are not getting a full and accurate picture of the environments they are visiting, which is potentially dangerous.  

“Unite has raised this issue before with all the relevant regulators and health authorities, but it is clear it is not being addressed. Direction requiring them to publish records of speaking to reps during visits is now needed.” 


The survey’s full findings are available here.

UK: Global unity in solidarity to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD21) – NEU

On 28 April each year, the trade union movement around the globe unites in solidarity to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD21)

We remember those who have lost their lives at work, or because of work, and we resolve to fight to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work.

This year the theme for the day is A Fundamental Right to Safe and Healthy Work. The call to Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living has never been so relevant and urgent. Over the past year thousands of workers, including in education, have died from Covid-19 and we will never know the true number because many weren’t tested, hospitalised or recorded and reported as work related infections and deaths.

NEU is holding a national zoom rally International Workers’ Memorial Day – Health and Safety: a fundamental right in education – 5.30pm – 6.30pm, Wednesday 28 April,

Speakers include Kevin Courtney – Joint General Secretary, NEU; Deepti Gurdasani – Senior Lecturer in Clinical Epidemiology, Queen Mary University; and Janet Newsham – Hazards Campaign.

How else can we mark the day?

  • The TUC is organising an International WMD, 2pm to 3pm on 28 April.  Speakers include Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC; Sharan Burrows, General Secretary of the ITUC; and Louise Adamson, Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) campaign.  Click here to register.
  • This TUC page suggests practical ways to get involved including a searchable database of IWMD events taking place around the country – to which you can add your own events – and a range of posters and social media graphics for you to use and share.  You could display posters at home or at school or take a selfie alongside one of the posters and share on social media using the hashtag IWMD21. Or share a photo of yourself and colleagues at work.
  • The Hazards Campaign is marking IWMD21 with online activities which will be taking place across the UK and abroad.  The Hazards Campaign has published a comprehensive briefing document and also  an order form where you can get your IWMD materials including ribbons, stickers, bags and face masks.
  • What better way to mark the day than to appoint a health and safety rep in your school? Health and safety reps are making a real difference in schools which have one, ensuring that members’ needs in relation to ventilation, face coverings, social distancing and mental health are top of the agenda. During the current crisis, bespoke training with a specific focus on Covid-19 is available for new and existing health and safety reps. Contact to sign up.
  • The NEU is supporting calls for a minute’s silence to remember the dead.  Wherever you are please try to observe this and if you are at work, please arrange with your colleagues to observe a collective minute’s silence, involving pupils where appropriate, at 11am on 28th April.
  • Barking, Dagenham and Havering Trades Union Council are organising an event focusing on asbestos in schools, chaired by Susan Aitouaziz, Secretary Barking Dagenham and Havering Trades Union Council, from 7pm – 8pm on 28 April. Register with to receive the Zoom link to enter the meeting.


UK: GMB to hold multiple events for 28 April

On 28 April GMB is  running a full day Health and Safety training session for GMB representatives.

In additional GMB is conducting a memorial service starting at 10.45 with a minute silence  11.55am on Zoom – open to anyone.

later in the day there will also be an evening event 6pm – 7pm  aimed at getting members, who are not already reps, interested in becoming health and safety.  This will also be open to anyone and happening on Facebook Live.

For further details contact the GMB via their Facebook page.


UK: FACK urges those bereaved by work-incidents to add their names and stories to the TUC memorial wall

Families Against Corporate Killers urge everyone who has lost a loved one in work-related incident to add their name and story to the TUC #IWMD21 Wall of Remembrance And wear Purple Forget-Me-Knot ribbon in remembrance and to fight for end to work deaths

UK: ‘Incredibly moving’ to see the names and photos being added to the TUC’s Workers Memorial Wall

“Incredibly moving seeing the names and photos being added to this memorial page” says Shelly Asquith of TUC. more

UK Trade Union Congress – 28 April meeting featuring ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, 14:00 UK Time

Join a TUC online meeting for Workers’ Memorial Day, where we will be hearing from trade union voices from around the world, fighting for the health and safety of working people and remembering those who lost their lives to work.

Register here:

Speakers include:

  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC
  • Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC
  • Louise Adamson, Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) Campaign
  • Apsana Begum, MP

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living