Men and women lost through work remembered at ceremony
Those who lost their lives through work were honoured at a service with a pledge to fight for the living.
Hartlepool Trades’ Union Council held a Workers’ Memorial Day service, bringing together a host of representatives and speakers in recognition of those lost through their jobs.
Supported by Reverend Janet Burbury, vicar of Hart and Elwick and Hartlepool Area Dean, and Reverend Andrew Craig, of Stranton and St Luke’s, a series of union speakers addressed the audience.
They included Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), Gloria Mills, national secretary for equality for UNISON, Louise Taggart of Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) and workers’ safety charity Scottish Hazards and Nigel Bryson of Northern TUC’s health and safety forum.
The Paraphernalia choir also performed The Prayer, arranged by Tom Fettke, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill read a poem, with Cleveland College of Art and Design student rep Rachel Wilkinson leading the in memoriam speech before union members laid wreaths and others added flowers to the display.
Edwin Jeffries, president of the council, said: “Each year on Workers Memorial Day, working people throughout the world remember those who have died or being injured at work through industrial accident or disease while trying to earn an honest living for themselves and their families.
“The theme for this year’s Workers Memorial Day has been ‘Unionised workplaces are safer work places’ - a factual statement.
“As has been shown today in Hartlepool with our mix of speakers and contributors, it is only with enforceable and enforced legislation and the employers working together with the trade unions to improve health and safety in all workplaces that we can ever hope to reduce the number of workplace accidents, injuries, diseases and deaths that, in the majority of cases, are avoidable.”
Ms Keates had closed her speech by saying: “Today we honour and remember those women and men who went to work and never came home.
“Tomorrow, we continue the fight for every worker to come home safely.”
The service was held at the Church Street campus of Cleveland College of Art and Design, rather than Christ Church in Church Square, due to the ongoing work in the area.
The event was also backed by Hartlepool Borough Council, Cleveland Fire Authority, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Northern TUC, the GMB, UCATT, CWU, Hartlepool Economic and Regeneration Forum, Cleveland Police and its police and crime commissioner and held in partnership with Union, Hartlepool College of Further College and CCAD and sponsored by Unite No 2 Branch, CATUC, CWU and GMB as well as Irwin Mitchell and Thompsons Solicitors.