Memorial day for workers

The MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright placing his wreath during a previous Workers Memorial Day service in Chursh Square. Picture by FRANK REID
The MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright placing his wreath during a previous Workers Memorial Day service in Chursh Square. Picture by FRANK REID

UNION officials have released details of a memorial day held to commemorate people killed or injured at work.

Every year a poignant service is held to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day and this year it will take place on Sunday, April 28, at 12.30pm at Hartlepool Art Gallery and Information Centre, in Church Square.

Guest speakers include Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), and Gillian Muir, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors.

The laying of the wreaths, to commemorate all those who have died, been injured or made ill through work, will follow the service.

The day, held in Hartlepool since 1999, is part of a campaign to stop avoidable workplace deaths and to call on employers and Government to make all workplaces safe.

Edwin Jeffries, president of Hartlepool Trades Union Council, which organises the event, said: “Employees who have died through industrial accident or disease whilst trying to earn an honest living for themselves and their families are not publicly remembered on any other day.

“The service is open to all family, friends and colleagues to remember loved ones who have died or been injured, or made ill through their work.

“The themes for the 2013 International Workers Memorial Day are under the banner of Unionised workplaces – safer workplaces.”

The art gallery’s cafe will be open from noon for people to congregate and refreshments will be available.

Meanwhile, a lone Scottish piper will be playing in Church Square from 11.45am and will pipe guests into the building for a minute’s silence, which will be held before the service starts at 12.30pm.

Town MP Iain Wright, shadow minister for competitiveness and enterprise, will give a reading.

Last year saw more than 100 people from various unions, civic dignitaries and the families affected come together to remember family, friends and colleagues who were injured or lost their lives at work.

International Workers Memorial Day is held around the world on April 28 every year and the slogan for the day is “remember the dead, fight for the living”.

It aims to remember the dead or injured and to campaign for the living to improve health and safety in the workplace.

Union officials say every year more than two million people are killed by their own, or someone else’s work.

Meanwhile, a separate memorial service for students will be held on Monday, April 29, at 11am at Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street.

Speakers will include Mick Laffey, a senior litigation solicitor and following the service a wreath will be laid at the college’s Tree of Remembrance, on the second floor of the college.