Hartlepool services remember workers who did not come home

Attendees preparing to lay wreaths
Attendees preparing to lay wreaths

Hundreds of people attended events in Hartlepool to remember people who have been killed or injured in the workplace.

Services held in town for International Workers’ Memorial Day were well supported.

Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Rob Cook leaves a wreath

Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Rob Cook leaves a wreath

More than 100 people attended a service at Christ Church which featured moving and rallying speeches from senior union officials on the need to fight for safe conditions for workers.

Among them was Tosh McDonald, president of the train drivers’ union Alsef.

Mr McDonald said: “I’m proud to be here today. We must honour those who died whether in construction, manufacturing, transport or whatever.

“Those who are injured, we must support them. We must ensure theses tragedies are not repeated.

“To do that we need strong trade unions.”

A film featuring harrowing footage of real life workplace injuries, made through Hartlepool College of Further Education, was played.

An estimated 2.3 million people a year die from workplace deaths and diseases, more than in wars and equivalent to about one every 15 seconds.

Clare Williams, regional secretary of UNISON said behind every number was a real person and devastated families.

Remember the dead, fight for the living is the motto of Workers’ Memorial Day.

Reverend Nick Moore of All Saints Church, Stranton, said: “It is by remembering what has come before, honouring those who have died or been injured in work related accidents that we have greater awareness about where we are in the present.”

Rev Moore said many developing countries do not enjoy the level of health and safety standard in Britain.

Union officials also warned against attacks to workplace safety law and training due to budget cuts and company greed.

A minute’s silence was held and the service featured town choir Paraphernalia.

The service, which also saw the laying of about 40 wreaths, was organised by the Hartlepool Trades Union Council.

President Edwin Jeffries said: “I thought it went excellently, mainly thanks to the involvement of the students and the quality of speakers.
“It is due to the fact it is fully supported by the trade unions, college and Hartlepool Borough Council that keeps it as the most successful event in the region.”

About 200 students and staff also took part in a service at Hartlepool College of Further Education.