International Workers Memorial Day 2020


Trade unions and charitable organisations have organised an on line virtual ceremony at   to mark International Workers Memorial Day for Tuesday 28 April. The annual event held at the Pier Head had to be cancelled to comply with the Coronavirus epidemic. The on line ceremony will include a video of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery in which she pays a heartfelt tribute to all the NHS staff and other key workers who have lost their lives in the Coronavirus pandemic.

The days events will be streamed on line throughout the day on  and will include a 1 minutes silence at 11.00am, The Lord Mayors speech, Piper James Axon playing Flowers of the Forest with a candle burning brightly for all of those who have lost their lives at work and in particular those who have died in the present pandemic. A zoom meeting will be held at 7.00pm on the day and anyone wishing to join in should email Mr. Tom Bimpson at

The event is commemorated across the world in many countries and recognised by the UK government as the official day of remembrance for those killed at work.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery said “I hope the groundswell of support for our key workers many of whom are on low pay and zero hour contracts working bravely throughout Covid -19 translates into real change and recognition of the  crucial role they have all played during this pandemic.

When we come through this social and economic catastrophe we must ensure that we change the lives of all workers for the better,  we owe it to those who have lost their lives and those they have left behind that they can look forward to a future where they are treated with dignity and respect.

 Their legacy should shine like a beacon for future generations and positive change to show they did not die in vain.”

 Jamie McGovern of the Communication Workers Union said “ We have commemorated this day for the past 20 plus years on Merseyside and sadly this year it has a particular level of poignancy, especially when we see all around us people falling ill and succumbing to the force of this virus” He added “ During the whole year worldwide, we see death occurring at work but it’s even more tragic now. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the fact that not only the health and safety of our NHS staff, social care and emergency workers is critical to fighting the pandemic but so too is the health and safety of ALL key workers; for example, in Delivery services, retail, transport, distribution and manufacturing sectors plus many more other industries. Our thoughts go out to the families dealing with the loss of loved ones, Our respect goes out to everyone dealing with this crisis whilst remaining in work.

John Flanagan of the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group said “Its an absolute tragedy that so many people both young and old are falling victim to the coronavirus with the prospect that the social devastation will continue for some time, but we will come out of it and I hope we will have change similar to that after World War 2 when our forebearers had the vision and fortitude to set up our NHS with some of its staff laying down their lives  to treat and care for us and I would ask everyone, young and old, can you imagine what we would be going through now if it was not for our NHS?”

Joint statement by the organising committee of IWMD 2020. Piazza, Pier Head, Merseyside event. (drafted by John Williams, UNISON)

‘The significance of International Workers Memorial Day has probably never resonated so loudly, with so many workers from the NHS, Social Care, Transport and other key work areas having already given their lives serving and supporting their communities, in this country, and similarly all across the world. Our thoughts are with all families who have suffered such a loss.

We have truly seen some outstanding bravery and resilience in the face of such adversity, and indeed the very best of human nature. Unfortunately Health & Safety isn’t the panacea for all that currently ails the world but we believe it should be set as a cornerstone of all future conversations in how we ensure safe working environments for ALL workers, their families and their communities. Hopefully we can then truly commemorate and fully honour the memories of all those that have passed. This year, of all years, let us ‘Remember the Dead but Fight for the Living.’

Let’s help all the workers of the NHS & Co. Where we can, ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe.’

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