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.


Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living