Monday, 27 April 2009

Big uptake in Memorial Day activity prompts recognition call

Embargo: For immediate release
Date: Monday 27 April 2009

Scotland’s largest public service union will be making a major input into the large number of ceremonies organised to commemorate International Workers Memorial Day tomorrow (Tues 28th April) – when the community remembers those who have died in the workplace. The union called for the government to recognise the Day officially.

Most UNISON branches in Scotland are taking part in ceremonies organised by local Trade Union Councils, but some are participating in activity organised jointly with local authorities and many are taking initiatives on their own behalf. (a list of those activities notified to unison is appended.

Scott Donohoe, Chair of UNISONScotland’s Health & Safety Committee said:
"At a time when business interests are lobbying for Health & Safety regulations to be relaxed as ‘costly bureacracy’, deaths of workers at Stockline and in the North Sea remind us all that safety at work is vital – not a burden on business. It is important that the TU movement uses this opportunity and it is heartening to see the way that this commemoration has taken off in the last few years. UNISON is calling on the government to take a lead from this activity and formally recognise Workers Memorial Day to remember dead colleagues and make employers think twice about health and safety."

Major ceremonies will take place in Glasgow’s George Square (by the Burns’ statue) at 1.00pm –and the Flag on the City Chambers will fly at half mast; in Edinburgh at the Workers Memorial Day Tree in Princes Street Gardens at 12 noon; in Bonnyrigg – in King George V Park at 12.30, where Louise Adamson from Families Against Corporate Killers will be speaking and a number of wreaths will be laid; and in Fife where a ceremony will take place in Beveridge Park, Kirkaldy at 11.00am.

In addition to the wreath-laying and plaque-unveiling, a number of UNISON branches are taking initiatives locally. In Glasgow City Council, the local branch is encouraging health & safety reps to carry out safety inspections this week, Scottish Water branch is launching its new website and UNISON’s South Ayrshire branch is taking part in an ambitious project to help create a natural Scottish woodland in Ayrshire.

The branch is dedicating five trees in the woodland to be a memory to every worker who has lost their life at work or to a work related disease, with the added knowledge of the positive environmental impact this will also have on the surrounding area. Other Branches have already taken part in earlier events run at the weekend.


For Further Information Please Contact:
Scott Donohoe (Chair – Scottish health & Safety Committee) 07866 952 765 (m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)

Local information for editors:
International Workers’ Memorial Day Ceremonies in Scotland on Tuesday 28 April

Hamilton – 12 noon – South Lanarks Council staff unions holding a minute’s silence at midday followed by the unveiling of a memorial plaque on council grounds directly outside UNISON branch office.

Kirkaldy – Fife Branch will take part in a TUC Service at 11.00am at a tree planted some years ago in Beveridge Park.

Greenock – Inverclyde branch will lay wreath as part of Council run ceremony at 11.00am in Clyde Square Greenock – Pat Clark the UNISON Branch Chair will play the pipes

Edinburgh – 12 noon, John Stevenson, City of Edinburgh Branch President will lay a wreath as part of Edinburgh TUC’s ceremony in Princes Street Gardens

Bonnyrigg – 12.30, Tom Waterson, Chair of Lothian Health Branch; Agnes Petkevicius, City of Edinburgh Branch Secretary and Lesley Greig, Secretary of Midlothian Council branch will all be participating in the Midlothian TUC ceremony in King George V Park, Bonnyrigg at 12.30pm

Paisley – 1.00pm, UNISON’s Renfrewshire branch will take part in the Paisley TUC ceremony at the memorial stone.

New Cumnock– (see above) the planting is at Craigs Farm Estate near New Cumnock (Ayrshire) Contact. Campbell Peden (South Ayrshire) Tel 07714299673.

Glasgow – 1.00pm at Burns Statue, George Square. Wreath laying by reps from Glasgow City, Glasgow Housing and Dumfries & Galloway Branches. Speakers include Dave Moxham – Dep Gen Sec STUC.

Falkirk – Branch will take part in ceremony run by Falkirk TUC at the Municipal Buildings.

Coatbridge – 12 noon, Lanarkshire TUC has organised a ceremony at Summerlee Industrial Museum, Coatbridge. Speakers include STUC Gen Sec, Grahame Smith, and local MSPs and MP.

Dundee – 1.00pm. Memorial day Commemoration Tree ceremony beside Discovery Point.

Alloa – 10.00am - The Clackmannanshire Council trade unions are unveiling a memorial at the Council Head Office at Greenfield House, Alloa.


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